BP cost cuts contributed to Gulf spill, says report

BP and its partners made a series of cost-cutting decisions that ultimately contributed to the oil spill that ravaged the Gulf of Mexico over the summer, the White House commission into the disaster said yesterday. In its final report on the causes of the largest offshore spill in US history, the commission said BP and its collaborators had lacked a system to ensure their actions were safe.

"Whether purposeful or not, many of the decisions that BP, Halliburton, and Transocean made that increased the risk of the Macondo blowout clearly saved those companies significant time (and money)," it said. The commission does not have the authority to establish policy or punish companies, but its conclusions could have a bearing on criminal and civil cases relating to the spill.

The findings contradict an initial report released in November, which found no evidence that workers cut corners on the project to save money. After receiving criticism for that finding, the panel later sought to clarify the comments, saying it did not mean companies involved with the accident had never sacrificed safety to save money.