BP releases report on US oil spill--points finger at Transocean and Halliburton; Japan to lower value of yen; tensions thaw between US and China; two US soldiers killed in Iraq; Obama unwilling to extend Bush-era tax cuts; and more
Top of the Agenda: BP Releases Report on Rig Explosion
Oil giant BP released a report (WashPost) on the causes of the April 20 Deepwater Horizon explosion that led to the largest oil spill in U.S. history. The company presented its version (WSJ) of events amid other ongoing investigations, including a Justice Department criminal probe. The internal investigation questioned the well site leaders on board the rig at the time of the explosion, neither of whom has testified publicly. The report also included inquiries about the well's design, maintenance, and a decision by BP executives to continue with a cement job despite warnings from the contractor, Halliburton, about a potential gas flow problem. Other companies involved have yet to give their version of events, and Transocean, BP's drilling partner, has complained that BP failed to turn over documents to help its own internal investigation. Commenting on the report, BP's outgoing chief executive Tony Hayward said the company's investigation showed that "a series of complex events, rather than a single mistake or failure, led to the tragedy." He noted that multiple companies "were involved" without explicitly blaming the firms. BP wants to avoid a finding of gross negligence (FT) by official inquiries, which would potentially limit its penalties under the U.S. Clean Water Act to about $5 billion rather than a possible $20 billion.
On the Guardian's environmental blog, energy editor Terry Macalister says a first glance at the BP report confirms expectations that the company is pointing the finger at Transocean and Halliburton as much as itself.
PACIFIC RIM: Japan Signals Currency Intervention
Japan's finance minister Yoshihiko Noda suggested the country would intervene in currency markets (WSJ) to lower the value of the yen, which hit a new fifteen-year high against the U.S. dollar.
China: When meeting with a U.S. delegation, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said the United States and China should not act as rivals, a sign of thawing tensions (EconomicTimes) between the two countries.
This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org