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US Says BP Cut Corners in Oil Well Built Against BP Engineer Advice

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by hearit

hearit's picture
In The News

Lawmakers attacked BP CEO Hayward in Court--saying BP cut corners to build the Gulf oil well that caused the spill, to save $7-10 million, and that the single piece casing went directly against BP engineers' advice who said it was "unlikely to be successful".
US officials accused BP CEO Hayward of being unprepared for Court Hearing testimony--stating that the BP CEO is refusing to fully cooperate with the US Government investigation into the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill that continues to cause environmental devastation daily.
In BP CEO Hayward's first congressional appearance since the April 20 oil spill disaster began, lawmakers want to know whether the BP oil company had cut corners in cost-saving efforts that actually led up to the time of the oil well explosion.
Specifically, lawmakers question whether BP's actual oil well design and any measures taken by the BP oil company--during the time that BP was attempting to seal the well before it exploded and began leaking thousands of gallons of oil per day into the Gulf and ocean.
"Did BP make a fundamental misjudgment" in using one long piece of [oil] well casing instead of many shorter pieces, as other oil companies said they would have done [in designing the well in the Gulf], asked Rep. Henry Waxman, D (CA) "I wasn't involved in that decision [of using one long piece of well casing in the oil well design]," claims BP CEO Hayward, saying that the single and longer piece of casing was supposedly better for the oil well's long-term stability.
Representative Waxman produced transcripts from BP engineers, wherein it says that the single casing used for the BP oil well was "unlikely to be successful." Waxman said BP went ahead with the single-piece oil well casing design--simply to save the BP company $7 to $10 million.
BP's CEO Hayward said he was "not prepared to draw conclusions about this [Gulf oil spill] accident until the investigation is complete." "This is an investigation," said Waxman. "Are you cooperating with other investigations? Because they're going to have a hard time reaching a conclusion if you stonewall them, which it appears you [BP's CEO] are doing today."
John Dingell, D (MI), wanted to know how much it would have cost the BP oil company to perform additional tests on the cement in the oil well. "I cannot say," BP's Hayward replied. Dingell also wanted to know how much it would have cost BP to circulate a heavier drilling mud through the pipes, which may have prevented the oil well explosion. "I cannot say," replied Hayward again. "We thought we'd have more candid responses to our questions," said Rep. Bart Stupak, D (MI). " You're the [BP] CEO, you headed exploration [regarding the oil well], you know what's going on."
Criticism of BP's Hayward--for his lack of answers--became a theme of the meeting. "Clearly [BP 's CEO] Mr. Hayward is not prepared to answer the questions," said Rep. Joe Barton, R (TX). "Any one of us could do a better job." Barton may have been trying to deflect criticism after an earlier incident in which he called BP's agreement to set up a $20 billion fund for spill victims "a shakedown" by the Obama White House administration, apologizing to the BP oil company. The comment by Barton drew immediate criticism, with Representative Edward Markey saying the fund is "the American government working at its best," and both the White House and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D (CA) issuing statements blasting Barton. There were reports some Republican lawmakers from Gulf area states were asking Barton to resign as ranking member of the committee, and Republican leaders issued a statement saying "Congressman Barton's statements [about BP] this morning were wrong."
Barton later retracted his apology to the BP oil company, apologizing for using the term shakedown in regard to the Obama administration. "BP [Oil] is responsible for this [Gulf Oil Spill] accident, [BP ] should be held responsible, and should in every way do everything possible to make good on the consequences [caused by the Oil Spill]," Barton said. "If anything I've said this morning [about the Obama administration] has been misconstrued in an opposite effect, I want to apologize."
Tensions in the Court Hearing were high even before Hayward began testifying, when he was was interrupted by a woman shouting--her face and hands painted with oil. After struggling with police, the woman was removed from the room and arrested. U.S. Capitol Police say the woman was charged with unlawful conduct.
BP CEO Hayward began his testimony by waiving his right to legal counsel. He struck an emotional tone in his prepared statements, acknowledging the loss of life and apologizing to residents of the United States' Gulf Coast. "When I [BP CEO Hayward] learned that 11 men had lost their lives in the [BP Oil Well] explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon, I was personally devastated," Hayward said. "I want to offer my sincere condolences to their family and friends." The BP CEO continued to talk about the Gulf Coast economy and environment. "I want to speak directly to the people who live and work in the Gulf region [where the BP Oil Spill occurred]: I know that this incident [of oil leaking into the Gulf ocean] has profoundly impacted lives and caused turmoil, and I deeply regret that," he said.
BP CEO Hayward had been criticized previously for a sometimes callous approach to the [BP Oil Spill] disaster, especially the comment a few weeks back that he'd "like his life back" and that the "environmental impact of this [BP Oil Spill] disaster is likely to have been very, very modest." "We care about small people."
In opening statements, lawmakers at the Court Hearing outlined a series of steps that the BP Oil company took in the lead-up to the well explosion--those steps by BP appeared to put cost above safety of the people and Gulf Coast environment. "Why would a team be sent home before performing a test?" on the well, asked Rep. Mike Doyle, D (PA)., referring to one of the decisions in question. "BP had several warnings, but instead of treating the [oil] well with caution, it seems BP was only interested in completing the [oil] well quickly and cheaply."
The BP oil well first exploded 59 days ago, killing 11 workers and causing the spill now known to be at least eight times worse than the previous Exxon-Valdez spill disaster. Millions of gallons of oil are still spewing into the Gulf, resulting in what some believe is, and will be, the worst environmental disaster in American history. According to congressional documents and interviews with workers on the BP rig when it exploded, it appears BP chose faster, cheaper techniques for drilling its oil well, sometimes against advice of its own BP subcontractors.
BP CEO Hayward claims there was "no evidence of reckless behavior," on behalf of BP--contradicting President Obama, who referred to the BP Oil company's "recklessness" in the President's recent address to the nation. BP's Hayward also said that no BP employees have been laid off as a result of the accident, and that he did not believe cost cutting on behalf of the BP Oil company had led to the well explosion.
"If there's any evidence that anybody [at BP] put costs above safety I will take action," the BP CEO claims. "I can't believe you said that,' said Representative Waxman. "Of course there's evidence."

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