BP oil leak executives point fingers in Senate hearing

a seabird covered in thick oil stranded on the beach

At the BP oil leak Senate hearings, oil company executives pointed fingers at each other. The gulf oil spill totals more than 4 million gallons and counting. Flickr photo.

The BP oil leak made its way into the political arena Tuesday when top oil company executives testified at a hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in New York. As the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico continued unabated, suits from BP, Transocean and Halliburton each blamed the other guy for the disaster in the Senate hearings. To date, the BP oil leak totals 105,000 barrels based on the eyeball estimate of 5,000 barrels a day. That’s 4.4 million gallons and counting.

BP oil leak circle of blame

Responsibility for the cause of the gulf oil spill was passed among the oil company executives like an instant loan in the Senate hearings. CNNMoney.com reports that BP blamed Transocean, owners of Deepwater Horizon, the rig that exploded and sank on April 20, leaving 11 oil workers dead. Transocean blamed BP for setting the well’s specifications, and called out Halliburton, the company that built the well’s cement casing. Halliburton completed the circle of blame by pointing the finger back at BP.

Gulf oil spill update

Meanwhile, the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is poised to wreak havoc. Accuweather.com reports that winds from the southeast threaten to push the gulf oil spill toward more of the Louisiana coastline during the next few days. Winds into Thursday could push the gulf oil spill northwestward, either closer to or onto a large part of the coastline. Areas at greatest risk to the growing oil slick are from Atchafalaya Bay to Louisiana’s southeastern most point. Places northwest of Breton Sound will also be threatened. Concerns are deepening about hurricanes and the possible drift of the BP oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current, which passes through the Florida Straits into the Atlantic Ocean.

BP stock tanks, shareholders sue

BP stock has taken a massive hit thanks to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The Wall Street Journal reported on May 3 that BP’s stock price has lost 14 percent since the oil rig it leased exploded and sank — about $20 billion in market value. The New York Times reported that BP will also take a hit on future earnings if it has to hold off on future exploration and drilling while it deals with the spill, which may cost BP at least $8 billion. The Associated Press reports that a BP stock holder has filed suit against the corporation’s top executive accusing them of pursuing cost-cutting measures at the expense of safety, while lobbying government authorities to decrease safety regulation.

BP oil leak fingerpointing

Executives testifying to lawmakers about the BP oil leak sought to absolve themselves from responsibility. In blaming Transocean, chairman and President of BP America Lamar McKay said Transocean was responsible for the safety of drilling operations. CNNMoney.com reports that McKay tried to divert the lawmakers’ attention to the blowout preventer valve that failed, saying it was owned by Transocean. In written testimony before the hearing, Transocean said there must have been a failure of the well’s cement casing, installed by Halliburton. Halliburton said either BP was responsible for faulty well specifications, or it was Transocean’s fault for a faulty blowout preventer.

Gulf oil spill the fruit of BP’s poor safety record

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was bound to happen, based on BP’s safety record — the worst of any oil company in America. The Guardian reports that BP has a recent history of disasters stemming from incomplete maintenance and faulty equipment, including a blast at a refinery in Texas City, Texas, in 2005 that killed 15 workers. A 2006 Alaskan pipeline spill occurred four years after BP had been warned about corroded pipelines. BP pleaded guilty to felony counts in the Texas blast and a misdemeanor charge in the Alaska oil spill. In the last few years BP has paid $485 million in fines and settlements to the U.S. government for environmental crimes, neglect of worker safety rules and penalties for manipulating energy markets.

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