It likely seems that you can't escape constant reportage and opinions about the assignment of fault in the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig on that horrible April night in the Gulf of Mexico.
But I have a confession to make: In the very first days after the catastrophe occurred, I assumed that one of the other companies involved in the well might have been culpable.
I might have blamed Transocean
For instance, rumors suggest a Schlumberger
Further, the weekend Wall Street Journal included an article entitled "BP Relied on Cheaper Wells." The contention is that BP uses the "long string" design on far more of its wells than its peers. For instance Chevron
BP owns 65% of the well, and is its operator. Anadarko
But the Houston company maintains that its share of the costs are contractually nullified when damages result from the operator's "gross negligence or willful misconduct." If Anadarko is successful in squirming out of its liability, it should do wonders for a stock that is down over 40% since the disaster started.
Stand by for lengthy litigation. It took ExxonMobil essentially 20 years to leave the courts following its Valdez spill. If the accusations of gross negligence stick, the survival of Tony Hayward's company comes more and more into question.