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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/23/10

BP, "Cost Cutting Was Not a Factor"

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Honesty, integrity, truth telling are words to be respected. Whereas lying, cheating and dissembling are words we associate (fairly or not) with used car salesmen, "snake oil dealers", many politicians and giant corporations like BP.

Of course it's the latter that's been in the news these past three months and certainly not for their honesty and integrity regarding the environmental catastrophe they inflicted in the Gulf and the devastation it has had on the people whose very lives depend on those waters.

The latest revelations came in hearings conducted by federal investigators in Louisiana on Thursday who "pressed their case that the oil giant cut corners and made decisions that compromised safety in order to save money and time."[1]

Much of the hearing focused on emails telling of a "well liner" that would prevent natural gas from escaping "out of the bore hole", the cost ($7 to $10 million) and the time it would take to install the liner.[2] Testifying for BP was well manager John Guide who said, "Cost cutting was not a factor"[3] (in BP's decision making process regarding the Deepwater Horizon drilling operation that exploded in April).

Another issue rose during the hearing concerned "centralizers", devices that allow for the easing of the gas flow. Apparently, BP's design had called for fewer centralizers (a design flaw they were warned about by a contractor who advised that fewer centralizers would create "a severe gas flow problem"). In emails (at the time of the contractors recommendation to BP) Guide complained that "it would take an additional 10 hours to install the additional centralizers."[4]

So according to this BP spokesman, "time and money" were never considerations taken by the company that would jeopardize the safety and structural integrity of its deep water well operation.

Are we really hearing this? Has all this happened in "wonderland"? One supposes we must be babes in Toyland that believes everything these "wizards" have to say. They said it; it must be true; case closed!

Well, not so fast. How about a little, "We screwed up, we didn't pay attention and it's our fault." Now that would be honesty, integrity and truth telling that might invoke some sympathy and understanding of the technical difficulties BP has had to encounter in containing and ending this disaster.

Instead we continue to hear the same tired old fantasy tale where "cost cutting was not a factor." It was always a factor even before the day they started drilling, getting a waiver from having to submit and meet environmental regulations to expediting the start of drilling before all the required regulatory compliances were met.

Yes this was the "well from hell (as told in testimony by the widow of one of the men killed when the rig exploded [who had related this to his wife the day drilling operations commenced]).

BP deserves all the derision and contempt coming its way. They've certainly earned it.

[1] "Worker saw "well from hell', by Julie Cart, Rong-gong Lin II and Bettina Boxall, "The Baltimore Sun", July 23, 2010

[2] See footnote #1

[3] See footnote #1

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