The Justice Department sued BP and several other companies involved in the Gulf oil spill Wednesday, an opening salvo in the government's effort to get billions of dollars for untold economic and environmental damage.The Guardian released these Wikileaks cables today:
The government accuses the companies of disregarding federal safety regulations in drilling the well that blew out April 20 and triggered a deadly explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig. The lawsuit is separate from a Justice Department criminal probe that has not resulted in any charges.
Striking resemblances between BP's Gulf of Mexico disaster and a little-reported giant gas leak in Azerbaijan experienced by the UK firm only 18 months before have emerged from leaked US embassy cables.
The cables reveal that some of BP's partners in the gas field were upset that the company was so secretive about the incident that it even allegedly withheld information from them. They also say that BP was lucky that it was able to evacuate its 212 workers safely after the incident, which resulted in two fields being shut and output being cut by at least 500,000 barrels a day with production disrupted for months.