BP, Transocean, Halliburton pass oil spill blame

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May 12, 2010, 7:22 am
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(NECN/CNN) - Oil company executives will for a second day testify on Capitol Hill as lawmakers look for answers as to who is to blame for the massive Gulf oil spill.

On Tuesday, lawmakers got the run around from executives, who pointed the finger toward one another -- British Petroleum, Transocean and Halliburton.

"I hear one message, and the message is 'don't blame me.' Well, shifting this blame does not get us very far," Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wy.) said.

BP, the owner of the well, blamed its contractor, Transocean.

"Transocean, as owner and operator of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, had responsibility for the safety of drilling operations," BP America, Inc. President and Chairman Lamar McKay said.

Transocean, in turn, blamed Halliburton, the contractor for the cement job which was supposed to seal the well.

"There was a sudden catastrophic failure of the cement, the casing, or both. Without a failure of one of those elements, the explosion could not have occurred," Transocean Ltd. President and CEO Steven Newman said.

As for Halliburton, it denied responsibility, saying its workers were just following BP's orders.  It then put the blame back on Transocean for the failure of the rig's shut off valve, known as the blowout preventer.

"Had the BOP functioned as expected, this catastrophe may well not have occurred," Halliburton executive Tim Probert said.

Lawmakers want BP to be accountable and pay up for all the damages, which are anticipated to be in the billions of dollars.

"We should make sure that people ultimately will be compensated. Not just simply rely on a company who says will pay all 'legitimate claims' -- whatever that means," Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said.

The investigation into the explosion that caused the oil spill is ongoing.  Workers are still trying to cap the leak, using a smaller containment device which is scheduled to be in place by Thursday.

CNN's Sandra Endo reports in the video player above.

Tags: oil spill, Transocean, British Petroleum, BP, Gulf oil spill, Halliburton
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