updated 12/15/2010 7:13:23 PM ET 2010-12-16T00:13:23

A blowout on a BP facility in Azerbaijan had striking similarities to the Gulf of Mexico disaster 18 months later, The Guardian newspaper reports, citing leaked U.S. diplomatic cables.

According to one cable, the British newspaper said, BP thought the Azerbaijan leak in September 2008 was the result of a "bad cement job." Former BP CEO Tony Hayward partly blamed a "bad cement job" by contractor Halliburton for the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Gulf blowout in April killed 11 workers. All 212 workers in the Azerbaijan gas field escaped safely, but two fields were shut down and output was cut by at least 500,000 barrels per day for months, the newspaper said.

The Guardian reported that cables show that some of BP's partners in the gas field complained that information was being withheld from them. After the Gulf blowout, BP was accused of not sharing information initially with U.S. authorities.

The Guardian also reported that cables revealed by WikiLeaks on Wednesday showed:

  • Azerbaijan's president accused BP of stealing $10 billion worth of oil from his country and using "mild blackmail" to secure rights to develop gas reserves in the Caspian Sea region.
  • American energy firm Chevron was talking to Iran about developing an Iraq-Iran cross-border oilfield, despite U.S. sanctions.
  • Senior figures in Thailand are concerned about the suitability of the crown prince to become king, citing rumors that he has lovers in several European capitals. The prince has a wife and son in Thailand.

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