BP's gross negligence trial opens in New Orleans


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The Independent Online

The head of BP in the US oversaw an oil drilling operation that allowed workers to make cavalier decisions on safety and failed to investigate mistakes, it will be argued in a New Orleans court this week.

Lamar McKay is the first witness in what is expected to be a months-long trial to decide the extent of BP's culpability in the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion which killed 11 people. It pits 120,000 plaintiffs, including the US government, against BP and its partners, as well as pitting the partners against each other. The US government has accused BP of gross negligence.

Mr McKay is the most senior BP executive expected to take the stand. He will be followed by Mark Bly, executive vice-president for safety and operational risk. BP could face tens of billions of dollars in fines and punitive damages if gross negligence is proved.