There are many companies involved in this catastrophe though, not just BP. Anadarko Petroleum and Mitsui are minority shareholders in the oil field-- also potentially responsible for damages.
The company which owned the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that BP subcontracted was Transocean.
Haliburton was doing the capping of the well about the time of the incident that caused the explosions, fire and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon Drilling Rig. Normally, a drilling rig is used to drill the well. Then the well is capped, taking the piping and encasing it in cement to make it more sturdy and stable. The well is temporarily closed, with about 50 feet of pipe extending from the well-head. Then a processing rig is brought in to operate the well and tap the oil from it. The processing rig sets up new, processing piping and re-opens the well.
But something went very wrong. Apparently, during the well-head capping, a natural gas pocket came to the well-head -- that's what blew the rig up, killed the 11 people and kept feeding the fire. The oil in the well is mixed with natural gas, which is dissolved into the oil, like the fizz in soda pop. When the gas pocket it the Deepwater Horizon rig, it escaped, under the lower pressure, and flowed until it encountered some source of ignition, which caused it to explode. Gas is still a problem because of the leaking well. The deployment of the cone that BP is in the process of lowering by winch, to the well head, about a mile down, was delayed because of fear that sparks caused by scratching of the cone against the ship carrying it would ignite natural gas in the area. They had to wait until winds blew it away. (If the natural gas is that dangerous there, why isn't anyone talking about the possibility that it's also affecting sea life or even humans in the threatened areas of Louisiana and the surrounding environs.)
The plan for the cone is to place it over the leaking oil pipe. It has piping connected to it that will, hopefully draw the oil to the surface, where it can be put in an oil tanker.
According to my source, the Macondo oil field, owned/leased by BP-- the one where the well is spewing a "volcano" of oil, at what some experts estimate, based on oil slick size reported by NOAA, the leak is "throwing off 25-26,000 barrels a day." That's over a million gallons a day, far more than the 200,000 most media organizations are reporting. Reportedly, when the oil was pumping out of the well, at the surface, it was coming out at a rate of 8,000 barrels a day. That means that, without pumping, just from the pressure within the well, after rising through 5,000 feet of ocean water, there was still 8,000 barrels a day of pressure. This suggests that the release at sea-floor level would be far greater. My source reports that the pressure in the well was reported to be 135-165,000 PSi. That's massive.
In addition, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig sunk with 770,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board. That may also be leaking.
The real danger, my source reports, is that the pipe and incomplete well-head will deteriorate as the highly pressurized mix of oil, dirt and rock that is spewing out of the wellhead abrades the ten inch pipe, then the 24 inch wellhead. If that happens things will get much worse. There are an estimated 44 million barrels of oil reserve in the Macondo oil field-- about 1.8 billion gallons.
According to my source, the leaking Macondo field oil well is one of about a dozen mile deep wells BP has drilled. None of them have backup remote activation acoustic blow-out preventers.
These back-up units are built so a ship at the surface of the sea can produce a sound at a certain frequency which the acoustic activator recognizes and activates, closing the well opening. These are required in wells drilled in Europe and Asia. In total, there are about 4000 undersea oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.