BP touted safety before 2010 oil disaster

Feb. 27, 2013 at 7:35 AM

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- A lawyer working for BP said the company touted its safety record in statements five days before the 2010 oil platform explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

A trial is under way in federal court in New Orleans to determine Clean Water Act violations and responsibility for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. government said it planned to prove BP was grossly negligent in its gulf operations.

Mike Brock, a lawyer working for BP, said in court that a news release issued five days before the April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon disaster prioritized "safety, people and performance."

His argument was in response to Robert Bea, an occasional BP consultant hired by spill victims. Bea testified that the "root cause" of the accident was BP's drive for profits, reports Bloomberg News.

Bea said well operators sacrificed safety in response to the "intense pressure to save time and money" during operations in the Gulf of Mexico. Operating the Macondo well beneath the Deepwater Horizon rig was estimated to cost BP about $1 million per day.

A source familiar with the court proceedings told Bloomberg News on condition of anonymity that a settlement agreement is expected before the end of the trial. BP last year agreed to pay around $4 billion to settle federal claims related to the disaster.

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