BP chief says rivals created fear over spill

City A.M. Reporter
BP’s new chief executive said its rivals and the media had helped cause a climate of fear during the summer when the oil giant’s blown-out Gulf of Mexico well caused the worst ever oil spill in the United States.

The comments by Bob Dudley represented the latest volley in BP’s battle to rebuild its battered reputation by taking a harder line with those who have blamed the disaster on a safety culture at BP that, they said, put cost-saving before safety.

However, the remarks also prompted angry reaction from one US lawmaker who said the company continued to be in denial about its responsibilities and called on Dudley to testify before congress.

Dudley’s comments came as the oil giant said it is off-loading four fields in the Gulf of Mexico to Japan’s Marubeni Oil & Gas for $650m (£412m) to help it raise cash to pay for its oil spill in the region.

BP and Marubeni said Japan’s fifth-largest trading house would buy BP’s interests in the Magnolia, Merganser, Nansen and Zia fields, representing output of 15,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day of oil and gas.

The interests are part of a package of largely non-producing Gulf of Mexico assets, mainly focused on what is known as the Paleogene play, where the major Kaskida discovery was made, that BP agreed to buy from Devon Energy in March.

BP has committed to selling up to $30bn in non-core assets to pay for the clean-up of the oil spill.