BP chief denies drilling 'shortcuts'

Sept. 15, 2010 at 4:22 PM
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LONDON, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Former BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward Wednesday denied claims by a British parliamentary committee the accident in the gulf resulted from cost-cutting.

"We have found no evidence to suggest that costs were any part of how this occurred," The New York Times quoted Hayward as saying.

The committee is meeting in London to discuss the need for additional drilling regulations in the aftermath of the April explosion of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 people and caused millions of barrels of oil to pour into the gulf causing massive damage.

"The safety measures that oil companies have to comply with in the U.K. are already stricter than in the U.S., but serious questions still need to be asked in light of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill," Tim Yeo, chairman of the energy and climate committee, said before the hearing.

Hayward, BP's safety chief, Mark Bly and head of North Sea operations, Bernard Looney were part of the discussions with Hayward and Looney saying the safety lapses at BP's North Sea operations did not indicate "any fundamental weaknesses" but were merely administrative oversights, the Times reported.

On Sept. 8, BP published its own finger-pointing investigation into the incident with Hayward noting from the report there was a "lack of rigor and quality of oversight of contractors" and that given "the nature and gravity of the accident" it would be "surprising if the industry does not look afresh at the relationship with contractors."

Transocean, one of those contractors hired by BP to drill the well, disagreed with BP's findings accusing them of having made "cost-saving decisions that increased risk -- in some cases, severely," the Times said.

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