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Expert: BP's cost-cutting led to 2010 Gulf oil spill

NEW ORLEANS — An expert witness for people and businesses who sued BP over the Gulf oil spill says he found ample evidence that the company’s cost-cutting culture led to the disaster.

University of California-Berkeley engineering professor Robert Bea testified today at a civil trial. He says BP PLC didn’t implement a safety management program on the rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

The London-based company has said the program was designed to drive a rigorous and systematic approach to safety and risk management.

Bea is the trial’s first witness. He says it is “tragic” and “egregious” that BP didn’t apply its own safety program.

A former BP consultant, Bea also investigated the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill and New Orleans levee breaches after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

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