BP executive testifies at Gulf oil spill trial

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Associated Press

Posted on February 26, 2013 at 9:00 PM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A high-ranking BP executive says the London-based oil giant and its contractors shared the responsibility for preventing blowouts, like the one that killed 11 workers and spawned the nation's worst offshore oil spill in 2010.

Lamar McKay was president of BP America at the time of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. He's the first BP executive to testify at a trial over the spill.

A plaintiff's attorney pressed McKay to agree with him that BP bore ultimate responsibility for the blowout, but McKay insisted that managing the hazards of deepwater drilling are a "team effort." Rig owner Transocean and cement contractor Halliburton also are defendants at the trial, which opened Monday.

McKay called the disaster a "tragic accident" resulting from a "risk that was identified."

An expert witness for people and businesses suing the company testified that BP didn't implement a 2-year-old safety management program on the rig, which exploded in April of 2010.

University of California-Berkeley engineering professor Robert Bea called the blowout "a classic failure of management and leadership in BP."

%@AP Links

255-c-20-(Michael Kunzelman, AP correspondent)-"ahead of safety"-AP correspondent Michael Kunzelman reports that part of the testimony from University of California engineering professor Bob Bea centered on an internal memo from a BP well team leader about the push to keep costs down on the Deepwater Horizon rig. (26 Feb 2013)

<<CUT *255 (02/26/13)>> 00:20 "ahead of safety"

256-c-15-(Michael Kunzelman, AP correspondent)-"willing to pay"-AP correspondent Michael Kunzelman reports that BP has already admitted to making mistakes and has agreed to pay for those mistakes. (26 Feb 2013)

<<CUT *256 (02/26/13)>> 00:15 "willing to pay"

APPHOTO LAGH103: Lamar McKay, former president of BP America and current chief executive of BP's Upstream unit, left, leaves Federal Court after testifying in New Orleans, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. McKay, who was president of BP America at the time of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, became the first BP executive to testify at the federal trial intended to identify the causes of BP's Macondo well blowout and assign percentages of blame to the companies involved. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (26 Feb 2013)

<<APPHOTO LAGH103 (02/26/13)>>

APPHOTO LAGH101: Lamar McKay, former president of BP America and current chief executive of BP's Upstream unit, leaves Federal Court after testifying in New Orleans, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. McKay, who was president of BP America at the time of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, became the first BP executive to testify at the federal trial intended to identify the causes of BP's Macondo well blowout and assign percentages of blame to the companies involved. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (26 Feb 2013)

<<APPHOTO LAGH101 (02/26/13)>>

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