BP shrugs off scathing oil spill report
London - Shares in BP and Transocean rose on Thursday as investors bet a
new US presidential panel report that spread the blame for the
country's worst-ever oil spill meant the firms would avoid the massive
costs of a gross negligence charge.
BP's London-listed shares
were up 1.6% at 507.6 pence in mid-morning trade, while shares in
Transocean's Swiss-listed shares were up 3.9%. The STOXX 600 European
oil and gas sector index was up 1.2% on higher oil prices.
top 10 investor in BP said the fact that the blame for the blowout was
shared with drilling contractor Transocean and well cementer Halliburton
suggested the London-based oil major was less likely to face gross
Under US law, BP faces fines of $5bn because the spill happened on its exploration block.
the fine could rise above $21bn if Europe's second-largest oil company
by market value was found to have been grossly negligent in the run-up
to the blast.
Peter Hitchens, oil analyst at Panmure Gordon, said
comments made in the report that the management failure which caused
the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig reflected industry-wide flaws
also made BP appear less culpable.
And while the report was
damning, Evolution Securities analyst Richard Griffith said it could
also mean BP can offload some of the costs of cleaning up the spill onto
"The report may provide grounds for BP to claw
back monies from licence partners and possibly Transocean and
Halliburton," he said in a research note.