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
News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'