Who’s to Blame for the Gulf Oil Spill?
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 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.