Glenn Stehle: BP’s Hayward Before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce

By Glenn Stehle, an engineer who began working in the oil industry in 1974. After a two-year stint with Cities Service Oil Company, he worked for two years for Henry Engineering, a petroleum engineering consulting firm. Upon leaving Henry Engineering he worked as an independent engineering consultant in all facets of the oil and gas business. He has extensive experience in drilling operations. He retired in 2000 and now lives in Mexico.

Tony Hayward’s testimony before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce was quite the hearing. Temperatures are rising and fireworks are flying.

Here’s the link to the hearings on C-Span.

An absolute MUST SEE is Steve Scalise’s (R-Louisiana) questioning of Hayward. It speaks to the BP-Obama twosome that is pitted against the people of the Gulf Coast region. It begins here at minute 01:31:30

Scalise explains how local leaders get caught in this vice between BP and the federal government, get passed back and forth between the two, with neither willing to make any decisions or approve any expenditures. Things are at a total standstill, and have been for nearly two months. Nothing moves. Nothing gets done.

Some highlights of Tony Hayward’s testimony are as follows:

1) “It’s too early to say what caused the blowout” and we “must wait for the full investigation.”
2) “There’s nothing I’ve seen in the evidence that cost was placed ahead of safety.”
3) “I have seen no evidence of reckless behavior on the part of BP.”
4) I don’t know what the “people on the rig were thinking” on April 20 when they made the fateful decisions they did. The “team on the rig,” which was made up of BP’s well supervisor, TransOcean and Halliburton personnel, made the decision not to run a cement bond log. I would be “very surprised” if BP COO Doug Suttles or managing director of BP Group Andy Inglis knew of the problems that they were experiencing on the Macondo well.
5) Every worker on the rig has “stop order authority” to shut down operations anytime they observe something unsafe going on.
6) The BOP was the “ultimate failsafe piece of equipment” that has between a 1/100,000 and 1/1,000,000 chance of failing. If the BOP had not failed, the well would not have blown out.
7) BP had some “safety issues back in 2005-2006” but “we have made major changes in last 2 or 3 years.”
8) “I was not aware of the Macondo prospect until sometime in April when I was informed that a major discovery in the Gulf had been made.”
9) I wasn’t “involved in the decision making” regarding the drilling of the well.
10) I haven’t been briefed yet on any of the operational details of the Macondo well.
11) “We are doing an extraordinary spill response.”

Various agendas being pressed by members of congress are as follows:

1) Joe Barton (R-Texas), in a switch from his “this is a not-such-an-important-thing” argument of the first hearing, this time lambasted Obama for his “$20 billion shakedown” of BP so that Obama could set up a “slush fund.” He says BP should only have to pay damages after “due process.” He said “I apologize” to Tony Hayward that BP was “shook down” in the way it was during its meeting with Obama yesterday.
2) Edward Markley (D-Massachusetts) touts the $20 billion dollar escrow fund as a huge victory for the American people. “We cannot wait,” he responds to Barton, citing how long it took following other disasters for settlements to be reached.
3) Peter Welch (D-Vermont) focused on BPs atrocious track record on safety issues.
4) John Sullivan (R-Oklahoma) warns against a “kneejerk reaction” to ban offshore drilling and also asserts we shouldn’t use this as a vehicle to “advance cap and trade” policy.
5) Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) points to the obstructionism of BP, using as example how we were told the first week that only 1000 bopd were escaping and how it has slowly increased to 60,000 bopd this week.
6) Phil Gingrey (R-Georgia) argues it is the Obama administration, and not BP, that should be blamed because the administration failed to enforce “rules and oversight.”
7) Michael C. Burgess (R-Texas) blames the government and BP.
8) Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) reviews BP’s denial of the oil plumes. (Hayward denies the existence of the plumes.)
9) Everyone else seemed to be focused on finding out what caused the blowout, with most of the blame directed at BP. They focused on the five issues outlined in their letter to Hayward (see this NC post ) including: (1) the decision to use a well design with few barriers to gas flow; (2) the failure to use a sufficient number of “centralizers” to prevent channeling during the cement process; (3) the failure to run a cement bond log to evaluate the effectiveness of the cement job; (4) the failure to circulate potentially gas-bearing drilling mud out of the well; and (5) the failure to secure the wellhead with a lockdown sleeve before allowing pressure on the seal from below. BP made decisions regarding all five that saved time and cut costs but increased risk.

There’s lots of excellent questioning with a lot of overlap, but for those who are pressed for time I recommend the following to get a good sense of the tenor and substance of the hearing (part 3 in the C-Span coverage):

Congresswoman Dianna Degette (D-Colorado) which begins here at minute 00:26:30:

Congressman Mike Doyle (D-Pennsylvania) which begins at minute 00:34:45

Congresswoman Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) which begins at minute 01:07:10

Congressman Cliff Stearns (R-Florida) which begins at minute 01:20:05

Jay Inslee (D-Washington) at minute 1:51:35 (also on part 3) also did a great job because he put some of the actual internal BP memos up on the overhead for people to see. For BP, it seems to me that this stuff is proof beyond any reasonable doubt of their gross (criminal?) negligence.

I hope you have time to watch these because it seems to me they really nailed the coffin shut on BP.

Why isn’t any of this stuff getting out to the public?

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  1. Vinny

    Wow! As a shrink, after seeing his testimony I am beginning to wonder whether this Tony Hayward guy is afflicted with a serious psychiatric disorder that he has little control over. Or perhaps this is his calculated attempt to get a temporary job on Saturday Night Live.

    What a character, eh?…LOL


    1. tawal

      Hayward said, “By the middle of July, we will be able to contain between 60 to 80 thousand BARRELS of oil a day.” It is obvious to me that they have known that far more than 5 thousand BARRELS of oil a day were spilling. Time for the EPA CID to get some high to low ranking BP criminal indictments!

    1. Vinny

      Yeah, but one must respect him for his unabashedly making it clear to the whole world that he is on British Petroleum’s KB&B (Kick-Backs and Bribes program)…LOL


  2. skippy

    Killer Butterflys see:

    1965: Sea Gem offshore oil rig disaster
    Main article: Sea Gem
    In December 1965, while the BP oil rig Sea Gem was being moved, two of its legs collapsed and the rig capsised. Thirteen crew were killed. Sea Gem was the first British offshore oil rig.[48]

    1993–1995: Hazardous substance dumping
    In September 1999, one of BP’s US subsidiaries, BP Exploration Alaska (BPXA), agreed to resolve charges related to the illegal dumping of hazardous wastes on the Alaska North Slope, for $22 million. The settlement included the maximum $500,000 criminal fine, $6.5 million in civil penalties, and BP’s establishment of a $15 million environmental management system at all of BP facilities in the US and Gulf of Mexico that are engaged in oil exploration, drilling or production. The charges stemmed from the 1993 to 1995 dumping of hazardous wastes on Endicott Island, Alaska by BP’s contractor Doyon Drilling. The firm illegally discharged waste oil, paint thinner and other toxic and hazardous substances by injecting them down the outer rim, or annuli, of the oil wells. BPXA failed to report the illegal injections when it learned of the conduct, in violation of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act.[49]

    2005: Texas City Refinery explosion
    Main article: Texas City Refinery explosion
    In March 2005, BP’s Texas City, Texas refinery, one of its largest refineries, exploded causing 15 deaths, injuring 180 people and forcing thousands of nearby residents to remain sheltered in their homes.[50] A large column filled with hydrocarbon overflowed to form a vapour cloud, which ignited. The explosion caused all the casualties and substantial damage to the rest of the plant. The incident came as the culmination of a series of less serious accidents at the refinery, and the engineering problems were not addressed by the management. Maintenance and safety at the plant had been cut as a cost-saving measure, the responsibility ultimately resting with executives in London.[51]

    The fall-out from the accident continues to cloud BP’s corporate image because of the mismanagement at the plant. There have been several investigations of the disaster, the most recent being that from the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board[52] which “offered a scathing assessment of the company.” OSHA found “organizational and safety deficiencies at all levels of the BP Corporation” and said management failures could be traced from Texas to London.[50]

    The company pleaded guilty to a felony violation of the Clean Air Act, was fined $50 million, and sentenced to three years probation.

    On October 30, 2009, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined BP an additional $87 million — the largest fine in OSHA history — for failing to correct safety hazards revealed in the 2005 explosion. Inspectors found 270 safety violations that had been previously cited but not fixed and 439 new violations. BP is appealing that fine.[50][53] (see Environmental and Safety Record).

    2006–2007: Prudhoe Bay
    Main article: Prudhoe Bay oil spill
    In August 2006, BP shut down oil operations in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, due to corrosion in pipelines leading up to the Alaska Pipeline. The wells were leaking insulating agent called Arctic pack, consisting of crude oil and diesel fuel, between the wells and ice.[54] BP had spilled over one million litres of oil in Alaska’s North Slope.[55] This corrosion is caused by sediment collecting in the bottom of the pipe, protecting corrosive bacteria from chemicals sent through the pipeline to fight this bacteria. There are estimates that about 5,000 barrels (790 m3) of oil were released from the pipeline. To date 1,513 barrels (240.5 m3) of liquids, about 5,200 cubic yards (4,000 m3) of soiled snow and 328 cubic yards (251 m3) of soiled gravel have been recovered. After approval from the DOT, only the eastern portion of the field was shut down, resulting in a reduction of 200,000 barrels per day (32,000 m3/d) until work began to bring the eastern field to full production on 2 October 2006.[56]

    In May 2007, the company announced another partial field shutdown owing to leaks of water at a separation plant. Their action was interpreted as another example of fallout from a decision to cut maintenance of the pipeline and associated facilities.[57]

    On 16 October 2007 Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation officials reported a toxic spill of methanol (methyl alcohol) at the Prudhoe Bay oil field managed by BP PLC. Nearly 2,000 gallons of mostly methanol, mixed with some crude oil and water, spilled onto a frozen tundra pond as well as a gravel pad from a pipeline. Methanol, which is poisonous to plants and animals, is used to clear ice from the insides of the Arctic-based pipelines.[58]

    2006-2008: Texas City refinery fatalities
    From January 2006 to January 2008, three workers were killed at the company’s Texas City, Texas refinery in three separate accidents. In July 2006 a worker was crushed between a pipe stack and mechanical lift, in June 2007, a worker was electrocuted, and in January 2008, a worker was killed by a 500-pound piece of metal that came loose under high pressure and hit him.[59]

    2007: Propane price manipulation
    Four BP energy traders in Houston were charged with manipulating prices of propane in October 2007. As part of the settlement of the case, BP paid the US government a $303 million fine, the largest commodity market settlement ever in the US. The settlement included a $125 million civil fine to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, $100 million to the Justice Department, $53.3 million to a restitution fund for purchasers of the propane BP sold, and $25 million to a US Postal Service consumer fraud education fund.[60][61]

    2008: Oil price manipulation
    In May 2010, the Supreme Court of Arbitration of the Russian Federation agreed in support of the country’s antimonopoly service’s decision to a 1.1 billion Ruble fine ($35.2 million) against TNK/BP, a 50/50 joint venture, for abusing antitrust legislation and setting artificially high oil products prices in 2008, TNK and BP declined comment.[62]

    2009: North Sea helicopter accident
    Main article: April 2009 North Sea helicopter crash
    On April 1, 2009, a Bond Offshore Helicopters Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma ferrying workers from BP’s platform in the Miller oilfield in the North Sea off Scotland crashed in good weather killing all 16 on board.[63][64]

    2010: Deepwater Horizon oil spill

    Environmental and safety record
    BP was named by Mother Jones Magazine as one of the “ten worst corporations” in both 2001 and 2005 based on its environmental and human rights records.[75][76] In 1991 BP was cited as the most polluting company in the US based on EPA toxic release data. BP has been charged with burning polluted gases at its Ohio refinery (for which it was fined $1.7 million), and in July 2000 BP paid a $10 million fine to the EPA for its management of its US refineries.[77] According to PIRG research, between January 1997 and March 1998, BP was responsible for 104 oil spills.[78] BP patented the Dracone Barge to aid in oil spill clean-ups across the world.[79]

    1. skippy

      Contributions to political campaigns
      According to the Center for Responsive Politics, BP is the United States’ hundredth largest donor to political campaigns, having contributed more than US$5 million since 1990, 72% and 28% of which went to Republican and Democratic recipients, respectively. BP has lobbied to gain exemptions from U.S. corporate law reforms.[87] Additionally, BP paid the Podesta Group, a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm, $160,000 in the first half of 2007 to manage its congressional and government relations.[88]

      In February 2002 BP’s chief executive, Lord Browne of Madingley, renounced the practice of corporate campaign contributions, noting: “That’s why we’ve decided, as a global policy, that from now on we will make no political contributions from corporate funds anywhere in the world.”[89]

      Despite this, in 2009 BP used nearly US$16 million to lobby US Congress, breaking the company’s previous record (from 2008) of US$10.4 million.[90]

      Climate change
      BP Amoco was a member of the Global Climate Coalition an industry organization established to promote global warming scepticism but withdrew in 1997, saying “the time to consider the policy dimensions of climate change is not when the link between greenhouse gases and climate change is conclusively proven, but when the possibility cannot be discounted and is taken seriously by the society of which we are part. We in BP have reached that point.”.[83]

      In March 2002 Lord Browne of Madingley declared in a speech that global warming was real and that urgent action was needed, saying that “Companies composed of highly skilled and trained people can’t live in denial of mounting evidence gathered by hundreds of the most reputable scientists in the world.”[84]

      BP is a sponsor of the Scripps Institution CO2 program to measure carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.[85]

      Refinery safety violations
      Under scrutiny after the Texas City Refinery explosion, two BP-owned refineries in Texas City, Texas, and Toledo, Ohio, were responsible for 97 percent (829 of 851) of willful safety violations by oil refiners between June 2007 and February 2010, as determined by inspections by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Jordan Barab, deputy assistant secretary of labor at OSHA, said “The only thing you can conclude is that BP has a serious, systemic safety problem in their company.”[86]

      Bloody hell just go to:

      Expand search after that.

      Skippy…Ahhh the smell of aromatic hydrocarbon’s in the morning, reminds me of BP’s slick *better world advertising mind control program*…barf!!!!!

    2. Vinny

      Skippy: “2006-2008: Texas City refinery fatalities
      From January 2006 to January 2008, three workers were killed at the company’s Texas City, Texas refinery in three separate accidents. In July 2006 a worker was crushed between a pipe stack and mechanical lift, in June 2007, a worker was electrocuted, and in January 2008, a worker was killed by a 500-pound piece of metal that came loose under high pressure and hit him.”

      This is so typically British “Safety First”, isn’t it?… Or is that not applicable for American employees?…


      1. skippy


        One must remember that BP has Killed in the multiples of thousands: Modus operandi imponit Nervi belli pecunia infinita…for its place amongst the multinationals ie: true rulers of this world.

        And as Obama has stated_it is_a partner in our future, capisce…do you understand who *we* are now?[!].

        Skippy…Ab ovo (usque ad mala), abeunt studia in mores, abiistis, dulces caricae.

        1. Vinny

          Skippy: “One must remember that BP has Killed in the multiples of thousands.”

          I guess that proves my previous comments that British Petroleum is largely a mafioso organized crime type of operation, and this Tony Hayward wiseguy is simply taking his cues out of Michael Corleone’s testimony before the US Congress in “The Godfather II” motion picture… :)


          1. skippy

            The latin linkage of pharses: Ab ovo (usque ad mala), abeunt studia in mores, abiistis, dulces caricae.

            loosly translates too: Eggs before fruit (Roaman dining habits / first too last), practices zealously pursued pass into habits, “You’re finished, sweet figs”-Petronius…see:

            Tacitus, Plutarch and Pliny the Elder describe Petronius as the elegantiae arbiter, “judge of elegance” in the court of the emperor Nero. He served as consul in the year 62 AD. Later, he became a member of the senatorial class who devoted themselves to a life of pleasure, whose relationship to Nero was apparently akin to that of a fashion advisor. Tacitus gives this account of Petronius in his historical work the Annals:

            “He spent his days in sleep, his nights in attending to his official duties or in amusement, that by his dissolute life he had become as famous as other men by a life of energy, and that he was regarded as no ordinary profligate, but as an accomplished voluptuary. His reckless freedom of speech, being regarded as frankness, procured him popularity. Yet during his provincial government, and later when he held the office of consul, he had shown vigor and capacity for affairs. Afterwards returning to his life of vicious indulgence, he became one of the chosen circle of Nero’s intimates, and was looked upon as an absolute authority on questions of taste (‘arbiter elegantiae’) in connection with the science of luxurious living.”

            Skippy…we are Rome on roids, all eras compressed in time, all out comes intersect…it’s almost time to become very small target out there.

    3. Glenn Stehle


      There were several house members who brought up BP’s safety record at the hearing. It is Hayward’s contention that BP has changed since 2005-6, since he’s been at the helm.

      Perhaps it is Bruce Braley who did the best job of countering Hayward’s claim. You can see his questioning of Hayward beginning at minute 00:18:30 on Part 3 in the C-Span coverage.

      Braley: Explain to us why between June of 2007 and February of 2010 the Occupational Health and Safety Administration checked 55 oil refineries operating in the US, two of those 55 are owned by BP, and BP’s refineries racked up 760 citations for egregiously, willful safety violations accounting for 97% of the worst and most serious violations that OSHA monitors in the workplace. That doesn’t sound like a culture of safety.

      Hayward: We acknowledge we had very serious issues in 2005 and 2006.

      Braley: Well I’m not talking about 2005 and 2006. I’m citing from an OSHA study between June of 2007, on your watch, and February of 2010 where OSHA said “BP has a systemic safety problem,” and of those 760 that were classified as “egregious and willful,” it’s important to note that that is the worst violation that OSHA can identify, and their definition is “a violation committed with plain indifference or to intentional disregard for employee safety and health.” Ninety-seven percent of those egregious violations at US refineries, on your watch, were against your company. That doesn’t sound like a company, that to use your words, “is committed to safe reliable operations as your number one priority.” There’s a complete disconnect between your testimony and the reality of these OSHA findings. Do you understand that?

      1. Skippy

        Glenn I find it incredulous that none of our elected officials have any grasp of chemistry, geology or mechanical physics, too wit they must defer to payed for industry experts, even with coaching they (con-grass critters) are abysmal.

        Skippy…not a dirty shoe or calloused hand amongst them.

        PS. Thanks for your time and efforts.

        1. charcad

          And look at who these know-nothings appointed first as the regulator of US offshore drilling and then as her replacement: two more Ivy League wordsmiths like themselves.

          It is meaningless to rant and rave about “Big Oil”, “governance”, “regulation” and the rest of it when Big Government’s own demonstrated performance is so dismal.

          1. Skippy


            It_is_difficult to discern our antagonists but, I would like the ones that we can hold their feet to the fire, over disappearing largess for profit mercenaries, left to their own.

            Skippy…funny charcad, we both decry the out comes of malfeasance but, seem to search for a shared target to acquirer.

      2. Doug Terpstra

        I’m with Skippy. Thanks indeed, and to Yves.

        ‘Braley…“BP has a systemic safety problem,” and of those 760 [violations] that were classified as “egregious and willful,” …and [OSHA’s] definition is “a violation committed with plain indifference or to intentional disregard for employee safety and health.”’

        It’s incredible that with such a damning record (reckless endangerment and negligent manslaughter in the thousands) that the heads of the cartel are not in a supermax for life without parole (760 strikes-and-life? 800?, 1000?).

        Thanks to you and others, the double-standard of justice that puts international pirates and war criminals above the law is growing impossible for a complacent public to ignore. You’re moving us toward that tipping point.

  3. readerOfTeaLeaves

    I was able to see Matthew Simmons on Dylan Ratigan’s MSNBC program, and he veritably castigated Hayward’s testimony. Given Simmons’ reputation, that’s an interesting barometer.

    Yves pointed out in an earlier post that the PowersThatBe don’t seem to recognize there is a changing economic paradigm, and I suspect that there is also a changing PR paradigm. Unfortunately, BP appears to be playing by the old rules: don’t allow photos, repeat your own message incessantly, control information. Kind of like the central bankers continuing to do what they know how to do — with tragic results.

    Given the interest in this topic among the general public, it’s easy to guess that the information will leak out over coming days. Obviously, BP hopes that I’m mistaken.

  4. Edward Allen

    Sorry to disagree, but what you saw today was US politics at its unvarnished and grotesque worst. Hayward was right to keep it buttoned up, they were not there to learn anything, but to land a knock-out punch that would get them air time. If they really wanted to get to the truth they’d behave a little less like the Keystone Cops and more like a well structured and coordinated team. It was a farce. It was a very sad endightment of this countries politics.

    1. Vinny

      It was simply part of the “circuses” that we now need to expect from our leaders… As the American Empire boldly steps into its Third Century AD, Roman Style…


        1. Kevin Smith

          I agree with Edward Edward Allen et al — Hayward did a textbook good job of dealing with the calculated abuse he was subjected to at the Congressional hearing.

          Waxman’s conduct was most egregious.

          I expect that even the BT-haters were put off by the over-the-top baiting Hayward was subjected to.

          There were some good points and questions buried in all that garbage, and BP will deal with them later, but Hayward clearly outmatched the CongressCritters who were trying to torment him.

          1. DownSouth

            Kevin Smith,

            Who best to respond to such a grotesque and outrageous claim than that great English writer who had such a great eye for hypocrisy and abnegation:

            For long past there had been in England an entirely functionless class, living on money that was invested they hardly knew where, the “idle rich,” the people whose photographs you can look at in the Tatler and the Bystander, always supposing that you want to. The existence of these people was by any standard unjustifiable. They were simply parasites, less useful to society than his fleas are to a dog.


            Clearly there was only one escape for them—-into stupidity.

            –George Orwell, “England Your England”

    2. DownSouth

      Edward Allen said: “If they really wanted to get to the truth they’d behave a little less like the Keystone Cops and more like a well structured and coordinated team. It was a farce. It was a very sad endightment of this countries politics.”

      Did you even view the recommended videos?

      Is there no room in your world view for concepts like evidence, factual reality and truth?

      Evidently not.

    3. Ray Phenicie

      I concur 100% about this being the worst of the American Politics and the whole testimony really more theater with some interest of some value; we really need to focus on the underlying theme-Congress, the Pentagon, the Oval Office and BP works as one team.
      1. BP should be forced into court but may not be because of a lack of international laws and agreements being in place.
      Hellooooo out there in Congress, anyone there?

      2. The MMS, headed by one Ken Salazar=Obama back-scratcher-failed in its duties completely and in fact is one of many enablers in this whole scenario.

      3.Congress in turn failed to provider meaningful oversight of the MMS, but could not because they also are one of the enablers of BP

      See this web site for the free ticket given to BP by the real ‘decider’ in US politics.
      WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 18, 2010
      The reporter is a former EPA prosecutor who tells her tale of the Pentagon controlling the enforcement process and then finally lifting BP out of the middle of oversight on the criminal proceedings.

      Too bad somebody at BP can’t lift the Gulf of Mexico out of the middle.

    1. Vinny

      I don’t think the British are really kissing American ass. At least not the regular folks. Perhaps the Americans, in their amazingly American-centric perception of the world would like to think that, but that is simply not the case.

      Vinny (an American who spends much of his time in Europe).

    2. bleedout

      So far they’re tagging along with the war policies of Tony Blair, Bush’s butler. It’s all to the good if they’re asking, Why?

      1. Vinny

        They got paid handsomely for that. For example, BP’s $2.5 billion contract with the US Department of Defense.

        Anyway, I was referring to the regular folks on the street. They are largely not great sympathizers of the Americans or our foreign policies (and frustrated their leaders aren’t listening to their wishes).

        But you’re right, Tony Blair was a spectacular kisser of all types of American asses…LOL


    3. Richard Kline

      If the UK stops kissing American ass, England alone will fall over on its face because leaning on the American corpus has been the only thing propping up that waning Union since its vanquished leadership coat-tailed on American victory two generations ago. But I agree, living small but decently would be a good thing for the English, who’ll have to turn to those dastardly Continentals for a profit stream thereafter. Let’s get on with it.

      1. Vinny

        Indeed, the UK has been playing both sides of the fence for a while now.

        It will be interesting to see how this British Petroleum fiasco will unfold, and if Scotland and Northern Ireland will finally decide to break away from this “British” Union with which they don’t have much in common with anyway.


  5. charcad

    As the 20th Century progressed England’s entire social system was increasingly ill-adapted to the technical challenges posed by the times. There is a culture of cheese-paring economy that inevitably leads to corner cutting at the worst possible moments. This led to a series of spectacular catastrophes.

    In my opinion BP’s abominable operational record is a consequence of this and also the culture of amateurism enshrined in British upper class life. One can see ethos manifested in “cricket”, which sport featured “amateurs” leading “professionals” on the field as late as 1962.

    Hayward’s hands-off laissez faire approach to management is the latest and (I hope) the last major manifestation of this antiquated amateurism. There is no doubt in my mind that in US jurisdictions BP must be removed from operational control of anything more complex than gasoline powered lawnmowers.

    Hayward is merely being himself, honestly and openly. I’m sure he’s genuinely puzzled about the firestorms he keeps igniting.

    I spent a fair amount of time with British troops. They have their own unique qualities. However, when it comes to British logistics “second best”, “inconsistent” and “unreliable” were frequent diagnoses. Consistently providing safe, unspoiled field rations was still a challenge for British Army quartermasters as late as the 1990s.

    The above is not to excuse the US Government and political elites own massive failings. Consider the appointment of someone as manifestly unqualified as Harvard lawyer Susan Birnbaum to head the Minerals Management Service. This woman didn’t even know the right questions, let alone the answers. This appointment was at least as negligent as anything done and not done by BP’s negligent management.

  6. Ronald

    The shareholders and Board of Directors is who Tony reports not the American public. Beyond the political theater of today’s hearing is a Congress that encourages environmental risks in order to mine coal, oil and gas. They do this because YOU voted them into office in other words the American public wants more off shore drilling, more mountain tops blow up for coal production and more watersheds ruined for Gas and oil production. The posters that are so adamant against BP should realize that the Congress is doing YOUR bidding when they issued a drilling permit to BP since the Congress reflects your votes then you in effect gave BP permission to risk this event in return for a few more barrels of oil. If you are actually concerned about these policies I suggest a letter to both your House and Senators letting them know that NO you will not vote for them in the future if they don’t fundamentally change their position on environmental degradation by the mining industry that you support one hundred percent a total lifting of the liability caps for all mining activities and expect them to pursue stringent environmental safeguards. Tony is not your President remind those in charge of your political life what your environmental concerns are today. Don’t let a good crisis go to waste….

    1. Yves Smith Post author


      Your ire is misplaced. Blaming BP’s failure on the regulators is like killing your parents and then asking for sympathy because you are now an orphan.

      And no other company has anything even remotely approaching BP’s violations. If every major played as fast and loose as BP, you might have a case. But in this country, big business, in the oil industry along with pretty much every other line of enterprise, has pushed hard for deregulation, insisting that they could be relied upon to do the right thing. And over the thirty years of this effort, they’ve demonized and cowed regulators, and suborned them when they could.

      Big business worked hard to get weak regulators, it also engaged in an active propaganda campaign to get the media and the public on its side, and you let it off the hook?

      1. Rex

        Re: “Blaming BP’s failure on the regulators is like killing your parents and then asking for sympathy because you are now an orphan.”

        I’ve been pretty puzzled by the number of people who seem to want to blame the regulators more than BP over this situation. (Frequently they seem to be mostly upset that they might lose money on BP stock investments.) Not to say that the regulators didn’t do a terrible job, but that doesn’t excuse the prime screw-ups that made this disaster possible.

        But, Yves, I don’t really like your analogy (quoted, top of this post) to describe the “blame-the-regulators” syndrome. Here is my analogy —

        You have a few drinks and are driving home at about 100 mph, when it starts to rain. You lose control, crash, taking out a bunch of other drivers and starting a fire which burns down a lot of the surrounding neighborhood. Your defense — there were laws in place that should have prevented the accident. The fault lies with the cops who failed to stop you before the unfortunate accident which was triggered by an act of God (the rain).

        1. LeeAnne

          It’s about being civilized. There’s seems to be, in the carrot and stick analogy, nothing but carrots in the troughs of these pigs.

          Let’s see, there are laws. There are regulations. There is oversight and some form of surveillance to enforce regulations. Like the cop on the beat. Human nature is such that people inclined to break the rules are kept honest out of fear of being observed or caught after the fact.

          There was nothing to prevent surveillance in the form of tapes, cameras and logs on every god damned British Petroleum oil drilling vessel on earth.

          Nothing, that is, except criminal intent. To accommodate criminal intent, politicians are purchased by British Petroleum (forget the abbreviations), lobbyists employed by British Petroleum, incompetent executives like Hayward from the SUPERIOR ha! decadent class to whip workers into fast, faster, and faster, and laws protecting the rest of us from rapacious profit seeking by keeping the competition on the right track; rewarded for success and punished for breaking the rules.

          Incentives matter. How dare they, British Petroleum, spend nothing on prevention and clean up technology. And now, their oh so clever corporatists in the US Congress conspire with them to relieve them from any direct responsibility to answer to the American people and the American victims of this latest ASSAULT against nature.

        2. charcad

          And I’m mildly amused by the people who constantly call for statist interventions with themselves in charge. Now they want to abet the Failed State in concealing its own monumental incompetence and corruption behind Washington’s thunderous and posturing demagoguery.

    2. Hugh

      What a load of hoohaw. Next you will be telling me that I live in a republican democracy. I don’t. I live in a corporatist kleptocracy. My voting choices are for the pathetic corporatist Democrat and the crazy corporatist Republican. So even if I did vote, the one thing I can be sure of is that the clown who got elected would NOT be doing my bidding. As for BP, it is not about right or wrong, but connections. It’s those , and those alone, which will tell us whether BP gets treated like Goldman, or Lehman.

  7. Doc Holiday

    Why isn’t any of this stuff getting out to the public?

    Great story there! This is my take on the Q:

    1.. The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989

    DOW closing value 03, 23, 1989 = 2243.04
    DOW closing value 07, 23, 1989 = 2607.36

    No one really cared about the Valdez damage. Exxon was never held accountable and BP will follow that profitable model — regardless of the damage they have caused — and Obama will continue to support BP and he will cave to the narcotic-like demands of the oil corporations, because, the greater fear is the reality of a double dip recession — and no one wants to fuel that possibility.

    This BP story will continue to be less and less attractive as a news story, and in about three weeks, most people will be focused on something else. BP and DC are counting on millions of retarded Americans to look the other way. The less this is talked about, the better off everything will be (for them).

    It also helps, that Homeland Security will help control media:

    News and Terrorism: Communicating In a Crisis
    A series of workshops produced by the Radio Television Digital News Foundation in association with the National Academies and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security


    Risk Perception:
    People respond to risk on an emotional basis, weighing feelings versus facts. Humans are “wired” biologically to fear first and think second.

    Because journalists choose images the public will see and decide how often to air those images, electronic media play a critical role in how people perceive risk.

    Perception factors are like seesaws – they can make fear go up or down. As the public’s trust of information increases, their fears subside.
    Several factors influence our perceptions:
    Control – Do we feel as if we have some control over a situation, or is the opposite (lack of control) a dominant feeling?

  8. Hugh

    In politics, the worst private scandal is typified as being caught in bed with either a dead hooker or a live boy. This is essentially the situation that BP’s management finds itself in. The choices are either to cave or brazen it out. BP has opted for the latter. BP has a truly dreadful safety record. It has engaged in slipshod, corner cutting for years based on the notion that most of the time it would not get caught and even if it did, those occasional fines would be less than the increased profits. That mindset has produced the greatest environmental disaster in our history. BP’s response? They don’t know how it happened. They’ll have to wait until the investigation is complete, except even when it is, they still won’t admit to the obvious. And we really shouldn’t expect them to. From a legal point of view, it would devastating to admit their fault. But even if there were no legal ramifications, we should not expect BP to admit anything. You have only to look at their history to realize this is a company filled with con men, and the first rule of the con is to never admit the con.

    As for the Obama Administration, it needs to answer the question of what it will do about BP’s US leases. Are they on the table or is this another case of the corporatist Obama taking the real stuff off the table before the negotiations even start?

    The other thing the Obama Administation better get right, and quickly is the distribution of that $20 billion to the affected people and communities of the Gulf coast. Getting a commitment from BP doesn’t mean a damn thing if it is subsequently held up in bureaucratic lalaland for months and months.

  9. Ronald

    The GOM spill is about taking environmental risk for more oil. Its not about BP, or regulators but the attitude of the American public regarding energy use and acquiring it at the source through whatever means are necessary. So no I don’t blame the regulators I blame the American public, you and I, and the millions like us who prefer to live the high energy lifestyle and take unnecessary environmental risks to maintain this lifestyle at all costs.

  10. Doc Holiday

    Internet ‘Kill Switch’ Would Give President Power To Shut Down The Web (Yves)

    ==> “The authority granted to the government in the bill, known as the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act (PCNAA), has been likened to an Internet “kill switch.”

    The bill would require that private companies–such as “broadband providers, search engines, or software firms,” CNET explains–“immediately comply with any emergency measure or action” put in place by the Department of Homeland Security, or else face fines.

    It would also see the creation of a new agency within the Department of Homeland Security, the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications (NCCC). Any private company reliant on “the Internet, the telephone system, or any other component of the U.S. ‘information infrastructure'” would be “subject to command” by the NCCC, and some would be required to engage in “information sharing” with the agency, says CBS4.”

    > Didn’t I just post something a few minutes ago about Homeland media control???

  11. Hugh

    That’s right. It’s not the fault of corporations or our elites. It’s our fault. Similarly, we should not imprison bank robbers but rather those who deposit money at banks because if they had not deposited their money there, the bank robbers would have had no reason to rob them.

  12. Ronald

    Good night Hugh, pleasant dreams…and Doc its probably worse then we can imagine when it comes to the Department of Homeland Security they are a busy bunch..

  13. robster

    BP is responsible (and has accepted as much) for the spill – that is not debated

    but the circus we saw is appalling. it almost makes you feel sorry for hayward. he was just doing what his shareholders would want him to do – looking after their interest – especially given criminal charges that will be coming.

    the politicians were just doing what they always do – grandstanding, trying to get re-elected and not giving a rats ass about the country or the issues. it is hard to argue on a moral vector when 1.5B barrels have been spilled in the Niger delta by US companies.

    finally there is a bipartisan agenda – mcarthyism

  14. Hugh

    Re Lieberman’s cyber kill switch, he’s had that out before, I think. Cyber security has always been a screen for cyber surveillance. I am not sure if anyone has any hope anymore that our internet communications are not being monitored. No one knows how extensive Bush’s domestic surveillance programs were, other than that they were massively intrusive, but Obama has continued them as far as I can tell. This reminds me of a quote I remember from an article in the Baltimore Sun (I don’t think it’s freely available on the web) but you can still find it here:

    It’s from September 2007:

    “If you’re going to do cybersecurity, you have to spy on Americans to secure Americans.”

    That pretty much says it all, and raises the age old question of who watches the watchman. The other two observations about the kill switch is that it rather defeats the original purpose of the internet which was designed to survive a nuclear attack, although not apparently Joe Lieberman. And there is the co-opting of private corporations into governmental functions, similar to what we saw in Bush’s spying programs and which the FISA Amendments Act (supported and pushed through with the help of candidate Obama) immunized their conduct in.

    1. Doc Holiday

      Re: “The other two observations about the kill switch is that it rather defeats the original purpose of the internet which was designed to survive a nuclear attack, although not apparently Joe Lieberman.”

      > Yah, imagine Joe being more destructive than any nuke! I guess he wants to subjugate not only The Fourth Estate but to re-write basic doctrine related to freedom of speech, press and shit like that …

  15. Hugh

    What is it with all of these screwball defenses of BP? It’s not BP but the insatiable desire of ordinary Americans for cheap gasoline that’s at fault. Or BP should be excused because other oil companies have done terrible things in Nigeria. Or Hayward should be pitied because even though he runs a rapacious fly by night company responsible for the biggest environmental disaster in our nation’s history he was made to feel uncomfortable for a few hours by some US Representatives. Let me tell you something. This was a very good hearing. You do not ever want to experience what a really awful House hearing, that is to say more typical one, is like. I do not understand all of this sympathy for the devil. It seems just to obfuscate what is certainly not the be all and end all of corporate malfeasance but is an extremely clear example of it.

    1. attempter

      What is it with all of these screwball defenses of BP?

      In a kleptocracy this vast and virulent, the top-down rot seeps pretty far down. So even among the rank and file, almost all of whom will never be anything but victims themselves, the criminal mindset sinks in.

      If the only choice is freedom of mind or conformism, then even where conformism requires identifying with the gangster who sticks you up every week for protection money, many will choose conformity. That’s how difficult and terrifying freedom is for many.

      And then there’s the diabolical “ownership society” scam which has roped in pensioners as sham “stakeholders” in the process. As Yves’ previous post describes, even normal shareholders let alone pensioners have zero managerial power. But the scam has been set up so that these shareholders can’t just “exit the market”.

      They’re hostages, and holding so many hostages empowers the stock market’s innate tendency to engage in political and economic terrorism, punishing any insufficiently corporatist government behavior (e.g. not bailing out Lehman, voting down the TARP, Geithner not looking sufficiently aggressive in his “debut” as secretary) and constantly issuing threats to do the same.

      Well, getting back to the BP-baggers, where you have hostages you often find the Stockholm Syndrome. Many of these pension hostages, rather than overpower their captors as we could at will, choose to identify with them and internalize the “ownership” idiocy. It’s the same as the hopelessly underwater mortgage debtor who still fiercely self-identifies as a “homeowner”.

      These are all manifestations of the classical petty bourgeois reactionary mindset. It all boils down to the combination of mental laziness (being weak in the face of the propaganda) and cowardice (fear of the risks of change, fear of freedom itself) combined with resentment and aggression. Since they refuse to fight back against their oppressor, they end up letting themselves be enlisted as unpaid goons on his behalf. Indeed they pay for the privilege.

      1. JTFaraday

        I agree, however, what should prematurely laid off older workers in need of a retirement income in the face of austerity measures and Social Security catfood commissions actually DO at this late hour?

        Not saying the people writing here are necessarily in this category, but I’m sure you see the larger dilemma. Not everyone has time to go back to the Reagan/Thatcher era and hope for a do-over.

        1. attempter

          I know, it’s a Hobson’s choice by now. (And in my remarks I wasn’t trying to castigate everyone who passively goes along in what seems to be a hopeless situation, but the aggressive pro bono flacks and thugs.)

          There’s no kind way to say, “They’re going to take it all away anyway. So your one and only chance, however much of a longshot, is to smash them now and reconstitute a government which will use public wealth for the good of the public, now that the old arrangements are being acti8vely destroyed and can no longer work anyway. But if you choose not to do this, if you just hide your head in the sand or even support those mugging you, you’re guaranteeing enslavement in misery for yourself and your posterity.”

          There’s no easy way out, just the choice of different paths of blood, sweat, and tears, one active and potentially temporary toward regaining freedom and prosperity, the other passive and guaranteeing permanent impoverishment in chains.

  16. Joseph

    good morning from Barcelona
    2 questions
    Halliburton, as logistic and material supplier of BP has nothing to explain?
    Neither GS has nothing to say for selling half of his stocks of BP shares weeks before the spill?
    I am afraid, the whole story stinks

    1. Yves Smith Post author


      Halliburton was a subcontractor. Everything it did was subject to BP supervision and approval. And the record appears to show that BP repeatedly overrode the advice of its subcontractors, including Halliburton, at multiple points re tests and other measures to increase safety.

    2. LeeAnne

      We have to look elsewhere for evidence of any prior knowledge conspiracy. Its probably fair to say that Goldman Sachs on any given day buys and sells every stock on the NYSE.

      The case against British Petroleum is plain to see except where British Petroleum has been permitted to claim dominion over US sovereignty, hired their own private army, and continue in solidarity with the transnational corporate war against the American people.

    1. LeeAnne

      sorry, meant to put the above comment here in response to Joseph’s Goldman Sachs mentin.

      1. Joseph

        No problem my lady
        but look at the charts, released on internet; they are frightening, and it is not the first time with them; what did they know we didnt?

  17. charles

    Mr Hayward had a great opportunity, maybe his last public,
    to outline what everyone is anxiously waiting to hear:
    lay-out what their plan is ? Instead we had stonewalling,
    while you read elsewhere that BP has retained a slew of investment bankers, as it is clear that their greatest concern is their finances
    ““BP may think they are dealing with one big man across the ring,” Mr. Hester said. “The fact is, they are going to have a tag team.”

    I think Robert Reich foresaw it when calling for BP to be placed under temporary receivership

    1. Doc Holiday

      Re: “temporary receivership”

      That idea seems to have died on the vine, and most likely because BP can spread out the future cash-flow and reduce it to a very slow seep, I mean trickle, I mean ooze, … yah know, the exact opposite of an uncontrolled gushing well … blah blah blah.

      > Nowhere did Obama lay out the law to suggest that BP actually has to do anything within a certain timeframe, thus in retrospect that does play out well for BP, because they can continue to drag their feet and pretend to make progress. Temporary receivership, would have given them a bit of a kick in the ass to do more, faster! But …. no, America and the world will watch BP drag this out — and just as with wall street, accountability will be less important as each day passes!

  18. miles

    how does non-US BP’s response to the US gulf catastrophe compare to the US Union Carbide’s response to the non-US Bhopal catastrophe, where over 2000 Indians died?

  19. Ronald

    Since this is a financial site maybe our blogger could provide insight into the longer range implication of this spill on liability caps for the mining industry. Are they effectively dead given BP 20 billion pledge? Why would a drilling company be active in the United States if their firm faces financial ruin? I can imagine that every board room of large drilling operations along with small/medium firms must be reevaluating
    the risk/reward of drilling and mining in the U.S.or not?

    1. Glenn Stehle


      I think you’ve misidentified the problem that now confronts the oil companies.

      The greater concern, at least if the CEOs of the oil companies other than BP are to believed, is whether they will even be allowed to drill in the offshore waters of the United States.

      The CEOs of ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips had their chance to testify before Congress last week. They were unanimous in asserting that they believed BP was an outlier, cutting corners to save time and money in ways that they would not tolerate. They clearly don’t see themselves as ever making the mistakes that BP did.

      I tend to agree. Anyone with more than a couple of years experience in drilling operations would find what BP did unconscionable.

      Nevertheless, the other oil companies are going to have their hands full convincing a dubious nation that they can do a better job than BP.

      1. Ronald

        Thanks Glenn,

        Further question then do you think the oil companies care if the Congress lifted the liability cap completely since they seem so confident of there technical abilities?

        1. Glenn Stehle


          Oh I think they care, and probably lobbied hard to put the $75 million cap in place.

          But I think you can see that the law limiting liability is all but meaningless in the face of near universal public outrage.

          So the oil companies have fallen back to a more defensible position. And making BP the scapegoat, that is making this a BP problem and not an industry problem, is part of the defense position.

          Now while I believe there’s a good bit of legitimacy to the industry position, because what BP did was grossly negligent, I don’t buy into it wholesale.

          The larger issues are these:

          1) Even though BP is an outlier, none of the CEOs testified that they could reduce the risk of blowout in deepwater drilling operations to zero. The public needs to decide how much risk of a similar occurrence is too much risk. Some of the things that will be lost, after all, are sacred and irreplacable.

          2) Oil companies have created quite a credibility problem for themselves because they have not been honest in telling the public how much risk there really is in these deepwater operations. They have deliberately downplayed the risk, assuring the public that deep offshore drilling is all but risk free. We now know that to have been untrue.

          3) An examination of contingency plans in the event of blowout submitted by oil companies has revealed little more than a bunch of boilerplate. They have demonstrated that they are not sincere nor are they serious about containing damage in the event of a blowout.

          4) I believe the first offshore well was drilled in 1971 and since then some 36,000 offshore wells have been drilled. When the oil industry touts its track record this is the number it trots out. However, the first deepwater well wasn’t drilled until 1997. And ExxonMobil, the largest of the multinationals, has drilled only 262 of these wells.

          5) There is also the issue of contamination of the biosphere. BP actually stands above the rest of the industry in this regard. BP, or some of its affilates, were members of the Global Climate Coalition, an industry organization established to promote global warming scepticism. But it withdrew in 1997, saying “the time to consider the policy dimensions of climate change is not when the link between greenhouse gases and climate change is conclusively proven, but when the possibility cannot be discounted and is taken seriously by the society of which we are part. We in BP have reached that point.”

          In March 2002 Lord Browne of Madingley declared in a speech that global warming was real and that urgent action was needed, saying that “Companies composed of highly skilled and trained people can’t live in denial of mounting evidence gathered by hundreds of the most reputable scientists in the world.” BP is also a sponsor of the Scripps Institution CO2 program to measure carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

          1. Glenn Stehle

            Oops! Last sentence should have read: BP is also a sponsor of the Scripps Institution CO2 program to measure carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and the ocean.

  20. Lilguy

    “Why isn’t any of this stuff getting out to the public?”

    First, it is getting out, but…

    Second, who cares what a bunch of bought-and-sold, corrupt prima donna politicians are saying or asking in this silly stage performance? Nothing but posturing….

    Third, let’s get on with the clean-up and send the bill to BP.

  21. Siggy

    I watched a great deal of the testamony of Hayward, but not all. Your summary report is very helpful.

    My observations are:

    Mr. Hayward had a very difficult task. BP is responsible, it has a terrible safety record. The event and the history that led to the event are indefensible. Mr Hayward succeeded in being the sacrficial goat. The Congressmen tended to grandstand knowing full well that for a variety of reasons Mr Hayward would not be able to respond.

    I wonder what the atmosphere would have been were it a negligent homicide trial. That is what’s needed.

    For those who hold shares of BP, you need to examine your cost basis versus the company’s liquidation value. The %$20 billion will buy some time, but the probability is that the costs of remediation and compensation for lost earnings will greatly exceed $20 billion.

    The real governmental challenge is how do you keep BP alive so that there is a source of funding for remediation and the reimbursement of lost earnings.

    1. charcad

      Compelling BP to “make good” seems fairly easy. The US Government can attach all of BP’s US holdings, including its large interests in Gulf oil and gas fields.

      The more crucial question is how to seize the US Government to compel the appointment of technically competent regulators. It is vital to get rid of the endless parade of Ivy League law school bozos using the infamous DC Revolving Doors.

      1. Anonymous Jones

        Have you, like, you know, ever had a job? I’ve been at the “best” educational institutions in the country, I deal with, and negotiate with, their graduates every day, almost all of whom make millions of dollars. And it never fails that a very good percentage of them are what I would term “incompetent” at their job. The people I have hired, the people I thought were the best I could get (and I’m always willing to pay for competence) are good-natured, well-meaning…and usually incompetent.

        Where is this well-spring of hyper-competent people from which you are going to pluck leaders and administrators to run your businesses and departments and corporations and all the other large organizations necessary in our multi-billion person interconnected world?

        [Answer: It doesn’t exist. You’re just going to do the best you can and when you fail and fall, you’re gonna get back up and try again. If you’re the type who doesn’t get up again, that would please me greatly, but it doesn’t appear you are such a person. You just have a delusional sense that because one person failed as a regulator that we should just all give up on ever having good regulation. Let me let you in on a little secret: We all fail! There are going to be far worse regulatory breakdowns than this. Far worse. And that in no way means we should stop trying.]

        1. MarcoPolo

          “Where is this well-spring of hyper-competent people…”

          Not in America’s best schools. Look at the aprenticeships done in Germany. And I find it inconceivable, a complete breakdown, that regulators could allow someone with that record to operate.

  22. Doc Holiday

    “This is the most vigorous methane eruption in modern human history,” Kessler said.

    In an e-mail, Joye called her findings “the most bizarre looking oxygen profiles I have ever seen anywhere.”

    In early June, a research team led by Samantha Joye of the Institute of Undersea Research and Technology at the University of Georgia investigated a 15-mile-long plume drifting southwest from the leak site. They said they found methane concentrations up to 10,000 times higher than normal, and oxygen levels depleted by 40 percent or more.

  23. Doc Holiday

    “PR guru Mark Borkowski writing in The Daily Telegraph, said that Hayward “couldn’t, or wouldn’t, answer most of the questions. In fact, he looked like a tired undertaker who was rather bored with having to look mournful.”
    Later Borkowski added: “The man has the communication skills of a tax inspector; dry and arrogant. Its incredible that one of the most important corporate jobs in the world has been entrusted to him.”
    Hawyard’s tone was likened to “that of a weary registrar in a South London crematorium” by The Times’ Giles Whittell, writing from Washington.
    “As to the meager substance of his answers, he appeared to have drunk deeply of the wisdom of his lawyers. The committee members knew it, and it did not make them happy.””

  24. Doc Holiday

    Oil threatens sperm whales in Gulf

    1. The aftermath of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill offers a glimpse into what might be in store for the sperm whales of the Gulf. Many North Pacific killer whales died throughout the year after that 11 million gallon spill. Forty percent of the whales in the most exposed groups died, including all of the breeding females in one group. As more long-term studies emerge, we see that after 20 years, the killer whales still have not fully recovered.

    2. . Recent research indicates about 40 whales at any one time live around the Mississippi Canyon, and females and immature whales prefer this area.
    BP’s undersea well gushing out oil is in this canyon.

    >>> This young lady is far more believable than any PR-Bullshit paid for by BP-backed stooges from NASA, NOAA or anyone else from the Coast Guard or Homeland Security, et al!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Doc Holiday

    Retarded Fox News Story Attacks American Intelligence:

    The president has it wrong. The BP oil spill is not, as he implied in Tuesday night’s speech, a new 9/11. Oil is not “assaulting our shores and our citizens,” and we’re not waging a “battle” against it. The oil catastrophe cannot and should not be compared to the war in which “our brave men and women in uniform are taking the fight to Al Qaeda.

    ==> Ok, maybe they are right, maybe this Gulf Of Mexico Catastrophe is an assault against all of humanity … but, does humanity include the environment/co-system? Ask Fox News.

    A line in the sand is being drawn with greater force and depth, a line that distinguishes the retarded crooks from the little people. Make a choice folks, or let them make it for you!

  26. John L

    Did you know that BOP’s have a 50% success rate? It’s true; there are reports that show in the best of conditions (factory tests), they only close the well about 50% of the time.

    Did you also know that BP has never tested their BOP’s to see if they close correctly or not? When they were asked why not, BP told the New Orleans paper (NOLA) that “MMS didn’t tell them to do so” even when there was a regulation written requiring BOP’s be tested.

    IOW, since no one ordered the tests, BP feels it’s acceptable to just ignore the regulation.

  27. Doc Holiday

    Those exemptions are always interesting, no matter if they come from Dept of Labor, FTC, SEC, MMS, Treasury, Obama, Bush…. lobby groups… I used to be pissed off that Department of Labor was in bed with hedge funds and exempting all sorts of trash, as I thought that probably unsafe, back in about 2007 or so, after Bush signed the Pension Protection Act — but I got over the fact that our government is filled with corruption and that America is run by the mafia. I guess that makes Bush one of them … what about Obama?

    Deepwater Horizon was Exempt from Gas/Oil Gusher Control Plan

    > ‘A rule change two years ago by the federal agency that regulates offshore oil rigs allowed BP to avoid filing a plan for handling a major spill from an uncontrolled blowout at its Deepwater Horizon project – exactly the kind of disaster now unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Oil rig operators generally are required to submit a detailed “blowout scenario.” But the federal Minerals Management Service issued a notice in 2008 that exempted some drilling projects in the Gulf under certain conditions.

    BP met those conditions, according to MMS, and as a result, the oil company had no plan written specifically for the Deepwater Horizon project…

    and this,

    When questioned about the exemption claim, BP spokesman William Salvin said provisions for handling a blowout incident were actually included in the firm’s 582-page region oil spill plan, though he had difficulty pointing to specific passages.”

  28. Ronald

    Glenn..since you have been kind enough to share your time with us I wanted to take advantage and get a further take on your comments:

    “2) Oil companies have created quite a credibility problem for themselves because they have not been honest in telling the public how much risk there really is in these deepwater operations. They have deliberately downplayed the risk, assuring the public that deep offshore drilling is all but risk free. We now know that to have been untrue.”

    Is Deep Water drilling the only viable option for major drillers trying to locate large oil deposits? If the U.S. cuts off access to its waters what might be their alternatives? If Deep water drilling turns out to have much higher risks then do the major oil companies have an uncertain future?

    1. Glenn Stehle


      The multinational oil corporations do not have an uncertain future. They have a certain future, and that is extinction.

      In the grand scheme of things, the amount of potential reserves in the Gulf is almost insignificant. Take the Maconda discovery, for instance. It’s considered to be a major discovery, and Hayward testified that BP estimates 50 million barrels of recoverable reserves for the field. However, in the first quarter of 2008, BP produced 3.9 million barrels of oil and oil equivalents per day. So the Maconda field represents only 13 days of production for BP.

      For the past 20 years or so, the best place for a multinational oil corporation to prospect has been on Wall Street, by buying out one of its competitors. This is the only way a multinational has been able to maintain its reserves, by cannibalizing other oil private companies. They certainly haven’t maintained their reserves with the drill bit.

      Iraq offered the best last hope for the multinationals to latch onto some significant reserves. It presented a unique situation because of the political situation that had existed in the country for the past several decades. Iraq’s pariah status meant that its oilfields were not exploited to the extent that fields in other parts of the world were. The country has entire prospective regions that are still virgin.

      It may be too early to say, but it looks like Cheney’s imperial venture in Iraq will not be successful. If successful, it would have given the American and British multinationals, who most certainly would have been awarded the bulk of the petroleum concessions, a few more years lease on life.

      1. numbnutters

        Re: “Hayward testified that BP estimates 50 million barrels of recoverable reserves for the field.”

        > I keep seeing that value, but Anadarko estimated 2.5 Billion barrels in the reserve…

  29. Doc Holiday

    Shit damn, I miss lots of correlated stories; crap!

    This here one is a doozy and helps set up my new theory that the GOM is a drug invested party-land that BP was happy to exploit.

    BP Oil Spill: Regulators Watched Porn, Used Meth

    ==> ‘In at least one case, an inspector for the Minerals Management Service admitted using crystal methamphetamine and said he might have been under the influence of the drug the next day at work, according to the report by the acting inspector general of the Interior Department.”

    > I can understand the allure of porn and the possibility that many people in the Gulf of Mexico are getting high, but when regulators are involved in the party, and when the drilling company is so coked-out that that have no fucking clue what’s going on — it be time to shut the fucking party down and get this hillbilly mafia show shipped back to London.

    The folks in the Gulf, no doubt, once had pride in their region, but it looks pretty obvious that the vast majority of folks down that way are sorta hooked on porn, drugs, tattoos and all that stuff that they probably claim is their heritage. I doubt if many of the folks down there, really care about the environment, and it seems obvious that few of them have pride in anything beyond their beer bellies — not to say that there are probably a lot of hot whores to service the oil workers — but do these people think beyond the next beer, or the next load of easy shrimp, or the possibility that that they may need to get an education — and not do drugs everyday?

    Oh crap, I forgot the large hoard of super right-wing hillbilly-folk that probably are not involved in meth, and the connections they have to politicians that don’t want that dumbass Obama fella shutting down them deepwater rigs …. I’m not sure where them prayers are headed, but I do know that the entire South should be ashamed of these retarded people that have allowed the gulf of Mexico to be trashed by a bunch of criminals! Amen and out bro!

  30. Paul Repstock

    The Unholy Trinity

    The Government/The Civil Service/The Mega Corporations

    This is why I am promoting the end of government as we know it. We are not well served by a power structure which is an elitist club whose members are mutually dependant and only pay lip service to the masses which endorse their existence.

    The history of financial versus corporal punishments for misdeeds amounts to no more than carpetbagging. There was mention of a fear that the $20 billion would merely become a “Slush Fund” to promote Cap and Trade. This is a very valid point. Seldom do financial penalties accrue to those affected by the crimes. This is seen everywhere from the Sarbannes Oxley fiasco (extortion) to the Subprime Meltdown (where the perpetrators were actually rewarded) and hundreds of other cases including environmental, where the best any of the affected people could hope for would be a few months work in cleanup.

    Even if BP were punished to the extent of bankruptcy; does anyone really think that the assets would go into some public trust for the benefits of the American people??? Not!
    The assets would be divvyed up amounst ‘the right people’. The only ones left totally in the cold would be shareholders who had invested their hopes and trust in BP.

    What is needed is not more laws and regulations. Contrary to popular belief, new “Laws and regulations” are discriminatory rather than protective. In general they are crafted to benefit their authors. We probably need less laws and more accountability.

    Certainly accidents happen. But, people like Mr. Hayward consider themselves immune from the consequences. And in our present system, they are. Had a smaller company created a similar spill, the CEO would have known that he faced prison time and therefore would not have cut the corners.

    The BP oilspill is probably less harmful in scale than the economic disaster which has been created by the financial corporations in partnership with the government. However, as mentioned above, it is all a matter of connections and importance to the agenda of the day. The Goldman story has conveniently disappeared from the public eye.

  31. CathyG

    My understanding is that BP was sent the list of questions that were going to be asked at the hearing three weeks ago. Because Hayward clearly refused to have his people research the answers before his appearance, does that constitute contempt of congress?

    At some point soon, the corporate despoilers of our economy, of our environment are going to have to face charges if we are to continue as a nation of laws.

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