Gulf Oil Spill: President's Panel Says Firms Complacent

Three major companies involved in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill lacked a safety culture and made serious mistakes ahead of the catastrophe, the key inquiry into the disaster has said.

The White House oil spill commission said there was a culture of complacency at BP, Transocean and Halliburton.

""There was not a culture of safety on that rig,"" co-chair Bill Reilly said.

The explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 workers and polluted hundreds of miles of coast.

Mr Reilly called for ""top-to-bottom reform"" at the companies involved in the well, known as the Macondo well, and faulted a ""sweep of bad decisions"" by the three companies.

At a meeting on Tuesday of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, investigators, witness and panel members said BP was hurried and could have operated more safely if it had taken time to acquire necessary material and kit.""There appeared to be a rush to completion of the Macondo well and one has to ask where the drive came from that made people determine they couldn't wait for sound cement or the right centralisers,"" Mr Reilly said.

The panel had previously said the cement used to seal the well may have contributed to the blow-out that caused the explosion, and said the two companies had test results showing the cement was unstable."