Who’s to Blame for the Gulf Oil Spill?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Predictably, it depends on whom you ask.

The major corporate players in the spill were BP, which leased the well, Transocean, which operated the rig, and Halliburton, the contractor responsible for cementing certain elements of the well-head in place.

Leaders of all three companies are testifying this morning in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and as The Washington Post’s Steven Mufson has done well to point out, each one thinks the others are to blame.

BP’s take:

BP America president Lamar McKay stressed the failure of the blowout preventer owned by rig operator Transocean. “The systems are intended to fail-close and be fail-safe,” McKay said. “Sadly and for reasons we do not yet understand, in this case, they were not.”

Not so, says Transocean:

But Transocean’s chief executive Steven Newman said the blowout preventers “were clearly not the root cause of the explosion” ….

“The one thing we know with certainty is that on the evening of April 20 there was a sudden, catastrophic failure of the cement, the casing, or both.”

Don’t blame us, Halliburton argues:

Halliburton’s Tim Probert also tried to deflect blame. He said “we understand that the drilling contractor . . . proceeded to displace the riser with seawater prior to the planned placement of the final cement plug . . . “

Meanwhile, an estimated 5,000 barrels of crude oil continues to spew into the Gulf each day. Hopefully, the companies can plug the gusher more quickly than they can decide who was at fault for the disaster.



Oil executives shift blame at Senate hearing – Washington Post - Latest, top stories in the U.S. - Top Stories in the U.S.
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[...] Who's to Blame for the Gulf Oil Spill? « The Washington Independent [...]

Oil executives shift blame at Senate hearing – Washington Post - Most hotest, Most latest Business News Online - Top Business News Online – Online News 28
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[...] Who's to Blame for the Gulf Oil Spill? « The Washington Independent [...]

North Capitol Street » Blog Archive » Who’s to Blame for the Gulf Oil Spill?
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[...] View full post on The Washington Independent [...]

Comment posted May 11, 2010 @ 5:09 pm

BP should answer to the people of America for this, and be held responsible for all costs. They can sue Transoceans and Haliburton on their own.

I say this because they hired these subcontractors, and should be ultimately responsible for the work that is done. It's no different than Toyota holding ultimate responsibility for their defective cars, even though much of the work was outsourced.

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Comment posted May 11, 2010 @ 6:12 pm

Great point. They weren't required to pass off the work to other corporations and the company overseeing the project both reaps the rewards in terms of publicity and profit, but also needs to deal with problems if they arise.

Hopefully they stop bickering long enough to fix the problem and work on placing blame (of which there is plenty to go around) later.

Comment posted May 11, 2010 @ 6:54 pm

I think we have to consider that BP doesn't want to plug the leak, but, instead, they want to contain it in a way which would allow them to still recover the oil gushing from the Earth so that it could be salvaged, and pushed to market.

Comment posted May 12, 2010 @ 4:43 pm

Base to this discussion all three should stop the blaming game and act upon whats been already damage. Now, to think this big bottom issue will be resolve by August its completly bogus.How many more gallon can be spill??, what will happen to the gas prices, it will create a big downfall for all three companies.

Atlantic Sentinel | Who’s To Blame?
Pingback posted May 28, 2010 @ 6:56 am

[...] question has been asked in media both left and right: who’s to blame? From Time magazine to The Washington Independent to cable news, journalists seemed more obsessed about wondering who is responsible than reporting [...]

Comment posted June 30, 2010 @ 11:13 am

I think the Obama administration is ultimately responsible for allowing drilling in such deep water and for not rigorously monitoring what everyone should have assumed to be a very precarious project. And I think anyone who expects the corporations to do the thing is a little naive.

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