President Obama’s ordered investigation of the BP disaster seems to lend support to BP's own conclusions about the disaster and challenges congressional claims – as well as those made by others – that BP, Transocean and Halliburton made decisions that sacrificed safety to cut costs.

Fred H. Bartlit, Jr., the BP Spill Panel’s chief investigator, said recently in a presentation to the seven-member BP Oil Spill Panel that he agreed with about 90 percent of BP's findings, although BP left out some critical details and there were other areas where the panel's probe will conflict.

"To date, we have not seen a single instance where a human being made a conscious decision to favor dollars over safety," general counsel Mr. Bartlit told the panel during a lengthy presentation on the causes of the April 20 rig explosion, which killed 11 workers and triggered the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

Still he explained, "[w]e see no instance where a decision-making person or group of people sat there aware of safety risks, aware of costs and opted to give up safety for costs," Bartlit said. "We do not say everything done was perfectly safe. We're saying that people have said people traded safety for dollars. We studied the hell out of this. We welcome anybody who gives us something we missed."

Stay tuned for further specifics regarding the Panel’s findings which are due to be released on January 11, 2011.