BP Hid Details of 2008 Caspian Sea Rig Blast, WikiLeaks Cables Reveal

December 16, 2010

Azerbaijan (ChattahBox World News)—Just 18 months before the devastating explosion at a BP oil rig that caused a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, BP swept the details of a separate blowout at an Azerbaijan rig under the rug, but newly-released WikiLeaks cables reveal the details. The Sept. 2008 Azerbaijan blowout occurred following a gas leak, BP said, noting that the company was lucky to have evacuated the 212 rig workers without harm, the UK Guardian reports.

BP opined that a “bad cement job” caused the Azerbaijan gas leak—the same excuse that BP head Tony Hayward offered after the Gulf oil spill, the Guardian notes. However, additional information was hard to get out of BP at the time, and embassy cables show that BP was “exceptionally circumspect in disseminating information” about the blast.

Other cables that WikiLeaks released last night indicate that Azerbaijan’s president accused BP of stealing $10 billion worth of oil from the country and of using “mild blackmail” to obtain rights to drill in the Caspian Sea, the Guardian reports. In addition, new cables also show that Chevron discussed developing an Iraq-Iran cross-border oilfield with Tehran, even though U.S. sanctions exist between the U.S. and Iran.


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