As the Washington Post puts it, BP has now been forced to take on a battle on a fourth front in the war over the Gulf oil disaster.

Jim Hackett the Chief Executive of Anadarko Petroleum, which has a 25% stake in the doomed well, has stated that he was ‘shocked’ by the emerging information . This information indicated, he said, that “BP operated unsafely and failed to monitor and react to several critical warning signs during the drilling of the Macondo well”.

This is in stark contrast to the testimony given by Tony Hayward, the BP Chief Executive, who said he had been concentrating ‘like a laser’ on safety issues.

BP is already fighting to stop the spill, limit the ecological impact and hold off Congress. They have though managed to start limiting the outflow from the damaged well, increased the capture of escaping oil to 15,000 barrels a day and made good progress in drilling the two relief wells. But it is still a dangerous area. The Washington Post says that there are 25 ships operating in close proximity with two of them actively engaged in flaring oil and gas. Recently containment had to be curtailed for several hours after lightning hit a derrick and started a fire.

Hackett obviously has the financial position of Anadarko in mind as they could well be in the frame for 25% of the clean-up bill. Hackett though has distanced his company from BP by saying that "BP's behaviour and actions likely represent gross negligence or wilful misconduct and thus affect the obligations of the parties under the operating agreement”. He went on to pledge any profits made from the sale of oil recovered during any clean up operations would go to charity.

BP has strongly denied Hackett’s allegations and said they hoped that all parties would stand by their obligations.

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