Companies hinder US regulator in Gulf of Mexico oil spill probe

20 April 2011 21:19  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--The US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) continues to face “significant challenges” from companies and witnesses in its ongoing investigation of BP’s Deepwater Horizon accident and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the board’s chairman said on Wednesday.

“The CSB continues to face significant challenges in its fact-gathering process, including companies and witnesses evading subpoenas for testimony and records,” Rafael Moure-Eraso said in a statement marking the one-year anniversary of the disaster in which 11 workers were killed.

The board’s investigation is also hampered by a “lack of effective coordination amongst the various organisations involved in the investigation,” he added.

The CSB began its “root-cause safety investigation” of the oil spill disaster in June 2010.

As part of its probe, the CSB is focusing on regulatory safety issues to determine if the current and proposed US regulatory scheme can adequately prevent another major accident and protect offshore workers, Moure-Eraso said.

The board’s work includes examining “the importance of a competent, independent regulator” to oversee oil firms' offshore exploration and production work, he added.

In a letter to the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, BP CEO Bob Dudley said his company has "pledged to cooperate fully with all investigations into the cause of the accident".

Dudley also said that BP has so far paid out $5bn (€3.5bn) in claimes and other payments from a $20bn compensation fund it set aside.

($1 = €0.70)

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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