Partner puts blame on BP as spill costs grow

BP Plc's costs for the worst oil spill in US history appeared set to rise as a partner in the out-of-control well laid the blame at BP's feet and the new federal tsar overseeing damage claims said BP would pay more if $20 billion (£13.5m) was not enough.

The British oil company said it would not be distracted by a dispute with Anadarko Petroleum Corp. The owner of a quarter of the well gushing into the Gulf broke its near-silence on the spill to squarely pin blame - and financial responsibility - on BP.



"There appears to be gross negligence or willful misconduct," Houston-based Anadarko Chairman and CEO Jim Hackett said in an interview that helped to drive his company's shares up 2.2 per cent in after-hours trading on the hopes it could avoid multi-billion-dollar liabilities.



BP said it "strongly disagrees" with the assessment of gross negligence but would keep its focus squarely on the Gulf, cleaning up the spill and plugging the well.



The new federal administrator of a fund to pay for damages told CBS News it would be a "horror" if BP went bankrupt but the $20 billion fund agreed upon by BP and the White House could rise if it proved insufficient.



President Barack Obama has seen his popularity slip over his handling of the spill and lawmakers in both major parties used hearings with BP and other oil industry officials this week to gather ammunition ahead of November elections.



Gulf residents, from state officials to citizens on the blighted beaches, see costs skyrocketing with the collapse of the fishing industry, a deep water oil drilling moratorium and growing environmental destruction along the coast.



"I think it's going to go over $100 billion (£67.4m)," said Brian Miguez, a food service salesman from New Orleans, at his vacation property in Grand Isle, Louisiana, where the spill has forced the closure and cleanup of six miles of sandy beach.



"They haven't even felt the wrath of the lawsuits that are going to come in," he said.



The Center for Biological Diversity on Friday filed what it said was the largest citizen enforcement act ever under the Clean Water Act, suing BP and rig operator Transocean Ltd (RIGN.S) for up to $19 billion (£12.8m), if the spill flows until August.







The first of a pair of relief wells meant to stop the flow in August is within 200 feet of the side of the blown well, said Kent Wells, BP's senior vice president of exploration and production. But it must be drilled down farther before it can intersect with the blown well.



As the crisis entered its 61st day, BP is capturing record amounts of crude - with 25,000 barrels siphoned off on Thursday, the US Coast Guard admiral leading the relief effort said.



But Admiral Thad Allen said 35,000 barrels a day, and possibly as much as 60,000 barrels, are pouring from the well, which ruptured after an April 20 explosion on an offshore oil rig which killed 11 workers.



Kenneth Feinberg, the man picked by Obama to oversee the $20 billion compensation fund, pledged during a visit to the Gulf Coast state of Mississippi yesterday to pay legitimate claims quickly. BP and Obama have agreed that if necessary BP would pay more, he told CBS News.



BP is seeking up to $7 billion (£4.7m) in loans from seven banks, banking sources told Thomson Reuters LPC, and sources have told Reuters the company may offer up to $10 billion (£6.7m) in debt as early as next week.



Its debt is currently trading at junk levels, and Moody's yesterday cut its rating three notches on concerns about spill liabilities. Moments after Anadarko said BP would have to pay all claims, Moody's cut Anadarko debt to junk on similar concerns it might not avoid contributing to damage claims.



After falling 6.8 per cent in a week of volatility driven by politics in Washington, BP's US-listed shares hovered nearly unchanged on yesterday. The shares are down 26 per cent so far in June, their worst month since the October 1987 market crash.



The Wall Street Journal reported last night that BP's well used a cheaper technology than the industry standard and was less secure against natural gas blowouts of the type that destroyed it. The newspaper's analysis found that BP used the cheaper technology much more frequently than rivals.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future