BP Must Salvage What May Be Evidence Against It

BP must retrieve the blowout preventer that failed
BP must retrieve the blowout preventer that failed

BP (BP ) has been ordered to retrieve the section of pipe that has the blowout preventer, the mechanism that failed and helped to cause the explosion that wrecked the Deepwater Horizon rig, which of course triggered the largest oil leak in U.S. history.

"The procedure should recognize and preserve the forensic and evidentiary value of the blowout preventer stack," National Incident Commander Thad Allen said in an e-mailed statement Sunday. "The procedure should also include measures to enable capture and removal of oil in the event of a release." The e-mail was reported by Bloombergand a number of other media outlets.

BP estimates that bringing up the section of pipe and putting a new preventer into place could take three weeks, thereby delaying the final stage of capping the well. There is a small probability that the process could cause another leak in the well.

The government will examine the device to see whether it is defective. If it is, the liability cases against the UK-based company will almost certainly both expand and grow in number.