Panel co-chair: BP alone did not cause Gulf spill

In this April 21, 2010 file aerial photo taken in the Gulf of Mexico more than 50 miles southeast of Venice, La., the Deepwater Horizon oil rig is seen burning. Tests performed before the deadly blowout of BP's oil well in the Gulf of Mexico should have raised doubts about the cement used to seal the well, but the company and its cementing contractor used it anyway, U.S. investigators with the president's oil spill commission said Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010.

In this April 21, 2010 file aerial photo taken in the Gulf of Mexico more than 50 miles southeast of Venice, La., the Deepwater Horizon oil rig is seen burning. Tests performed before the deadly blowout of BP's oil well in the Gulf of Mexico should have raised doubts about the cement used to seal the well, but the company and its cementing contractor used it anyway, U.S. investigators with the president's oil spill commission said Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010.

— The co-chair of a presidential panel investigating the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history says the disaster cannot be blamed solely on BP.

William K. Reilly, the former head of the EPA under President George H.W. Bush, pointed to three companies: well operator BP PLC, rig owner Transocean Ltd., and cement contractor Halliburton Co. He says all three made questionable decisions that contributed to the blowout.

Reilly says the perception that the well blowout was the result of one company's choices does not stand. He says the panel has conclusively established that there are larger problems with offshore drilling safety.

Reilly's remarks Thursday came at the start of two days of deliberations, the last public forum for the panel before it issues its report in January.

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