"WASHINGTON — The company that owned the oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico is accusing BP of withholding critical evidence needed to investigate the cause of the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, according to a confidential document obtained by The Associated Press. BP called the claims a publicity stunt.
The new complaint by Transocean follows similar complaints by U.S. lawmakers about difficulties obtaining necessary information from BP in their investigations.
In a sternly worded letter to BP's attorneys, Transocean said the oil giant has in its sole possession information key to identifying the cause 'of the tragic loss of eleven lives and the pollution in the Gulf of Mexico.'
BP's refusal to turn over the documents has hampered Transocean's investigation and hindered what it has been able to tell families of the dead and state and federal investigators about the accident, the letter said.
BP and Transocean appear likely to face off in court over how much each should pay out for the tragedy. Transocean owned the Deepwater Horizon, the rig that exploded and sank, killing 11 workers and unleashing millions of gallons of oil. BP was the operator and majority owner of the well."
Dina Cappiello and Harry R. Weber report for the Associated Press August 19, 2010.