The US Coast Guard has warned that more oil may have leaked from the Deepwater Horizon rig, causing a new round of finger-pointing between BP and Transocean.
The oil rig 'Deepwater Horizon' catches fire, Port of Venice, Gulf of Mexico
Photo: Rex Features
By Rowena Mason
5:18PM BST 28 Sep 2011
There have been several sightings of oil near the site of last year's Gulf of Mexico accident in recent months. On Wednesday, the Coast Guard issued a warning to Transocean, the owner of the rig, saying it "may be financially accountable for debris removal costs and damages" if the rig or riser pipeline are found to be the cause. There was no evidence oil came from the well itself.
However, Transocean denied responsibility, saying: "If a volume of oil has remained in the riser [a pipe], there is no question that it is oil from BP's Macondo well. As owner and operator, BP is the responsible party for all fluids that emanated from the Macondo well head, and BP has repeatedly acknowledged that responsibility. Transocean has accepted responsible party status for rig fluids, such as diesel fuel, consistent with the law. We take this very seriously, and we are committed to working with BP, the Coast Guard and other parties to investigate."
BP immediately distanced itself from the cause of the new oil leaks. "The Macondo well is not leaking oil and is not the source of the sheens. We will continue to co-operate with the Coast Guard to investigate other possible sources, including Transocean's riser," it said.
BP's share price fell 1pc to 399.8p, as a fresh arbitration hearing with its four Russian billionaire partners got under way on Wednesday. A tribunal will decide whether BP broke an agreement with the Russians by trying to do a deal with Rosneft.
Separately, Bob Dudley, BP's chief executive, said it was applying to develop more gas in India, after its $7bn deal with Reliance Industries.