BP shares rise after US spreads blame for spill PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 07 January 2011 09:47


BP shares rallied on Thursday after a US panel said that the British energy company was not solely to blame for last year's fatal Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

BP rose 2.27 per cent to 510.60 pence yesterday on London's FTSE 100 index of top shares, which was slightly higher overall.

The panel on Wednesday blamed BP, Halliburton and Transocean for the disaster, accusing all three of "systemic" management failures that could happen again.

The presidential commission's assessment was part of its final report on the deadly April blowout at BP's Macondo well, which killed 11 workers and spewed 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over three months.

It said oil services giant Halliburton and offshore drilling group Transocean were also very much at fault in ignoring key warnings and failing to take the necessary precautions to avert the massive spill.

BP welcomed the assessment, which analysts said would likely see the British company paying less compensation costs than expected -- it is selling 30 billion dollars worth of assets to cover its part of the bill.

"Sharing the blame is helping BP shares to recover. When the disaster struck the only company blamed was BP, now it appears that others are responsible too," said Tamas Varga, an analyst at brokers PVM Oil Associates.

"Practically, what it could mean is that if, or when there is a financial settlement, it will not only be BP that has to pay compensations and fines. I would have thought that is positive for its shares," he told AFP.

Richard Hunter, an equities analyst at brokers Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "The fact that BP appears not to have been solely responsible echoes the company's own thoughts to date and should at the very least reduce the financial burden of the claims to come.

"In addition, there have also been recent suggestions in the market that the funds which BP has set aside for those claims may well prove to be more than sufficient in finally putting the matter to rest."


Pic: Aerials of the MC-252 incident site, and skimmer operations aproximately 3-5 miles from the source in the Gulf of Mexico in July 2010.© BP p.l.c.

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