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Senior Contributor

Looks like this was Obama's fault after all

BP Cited ‘Well Control Situation’ Six Weeks Before Blowout

By Joe Carroll

May 31 (Bloomberg) -- BP Plc told regulators six weeks before its well in the Gulf of Mexico exploded that workers were having trouble maintaining control, according to e-mails released yesterday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee investigating the spill.

A March 10 e-mail to Frank Patton, the U.S. Minerals Management Service’s drilling engineer for the New Orleans district, from BP executive Scherie Douglas said the company planned to sever the pipe connecting the well to the rig and plug the hole.

“We are in the midst of a well control situation on MC 252 #001 and have stuck pipe,” Douglas wrote, referring to the subsea block, Mississippi Canyon 252, of the stricken well. “We are bringing out equipment to begin operations to sever the drillpipe, plugback the well and bypass.”

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, and Representative Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat and chairman of the panel’s oversight subcommittee, released the documents related to oil-well design, and e-mails from March, February and November 2009. The documents “raise questions, but their connection to the blowout, if any, require additional investigation,” the lawmakers said.

The e-mails shows that as early as the second week of March, BP was enlisting help from J. Connor Consulting Inc., a Houston-based firm that advises some of the world’s biggest energy companies on how to respond to oil spills.

Federal regulators gave BP permission to cement the well at a shallower depth than normally would have been required after the hole caved in on drilling equipment, the e-mails showed.

Verbal Approval

Douglas or BP, the senior regulatory and advocacy adviser for the company’s exploration and production unit, received verbal approval from an unnamed MMS official at 11 p.m. on March 11 to insert the cement plug about 750 feet (229 meters) above the bottom of the hole, the e-mails showed.

The House committee is investigating the April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers, sank Transocean’s $365 million Deepwater Horizon rig, and triggered a spill that threatens the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida. The panel also is probing equipment meant to prevent spills at deepwater wells and whether human error played a role.

The New York Times reported yesterday that internal BP documents showed “serious problems and safety concerns” with the rig prior to the explosion that triggered the largest oil spill in the nation’s history.

Waxman and Stupak sent letters on May 28 to clean-up consultants working for BP and Transocean, seeking documents including contacts and emergency-response plans.

Letters were sent to O’Brien’s Response Management Inc. of Spring, Texas; Marine Spill Response Corp. of Herndon, Virginia; and the National Response Corp. of Great River, New York. National Response is a unit of Seacor Holdings Inc.

All three companies have service agreements with BP or Transocean, the committee said in a statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Carroll in Chicago at jcarroll8@bloomberg.net.

8 Replies
Veteran Advisor

Re: Looks like this was Obama's fault after all

You have an overactive imagination or you are just plain stupid.

Senior Contributor

Re: Looks like this was Obama's fault after all

Yep, this was perfect! Now we're going to find out what Cheney, promised these oil companies! Obama's fault? Bull Shnit! You clowns would have tried to blame it on him no matter how it happened, that's how desperate you fools are to take this President down. He's making your party look like idiots.

Senior Contributor

Re: Looks like this was Obama's fault after all

Hum , The problem was reported by BP to your man six weeks before the big boom. Your party allowed a less than industry standard method of dealing with the situation that ended up with this catastrophe. Sure look s like his fault to me. But then again he might have had a golf game that interfered with his attention to this small matter.

Senior Contributor

Re: Looks like this was Obama's fault after all

Obama sent Holder down there today.  What freaking idiots.  Threatening criminal and civil action right now???  At what point does BP decide to just walk away because it's going to cost them the company anyway?  Holder met with all the democrat state attorney generals today.  He didn't invite Florida's AG who is a Republican.  The lunacy of your people is astounding.  They are completely and absolutely incompetent.  Can you tell I'm pissed?  I live down here and this is infuriating.  This spill is not Obama's fault and I have agreed somewhat with what he's done so far but today he lost me in this situation.  He can't be voted out of office soon enough for me.  Hopefully someone will start a recall petition if a president can be recalled.  I think you liberals would be surprised at how much traction that would get. 

Senior Contributor

Re: Looks like this was Obama's fault after all

Couldn't agree more . All show and no go!

Veteran Advisor

Re: Looks like this was Obama's fault after all

My prediction is that many decades from now, "remember obama" will still be pulled out every time a leftist liberal launches a run for the white house...assuming we are still allowed to vote at that time.

Senior Contributor

Re: Looks like this was Obama's fault after all

I hope that the liberals among us, those who elected this clown, will realize that a person should have some practical experience in life before being elected president.  He's never had a real job and his associates don't seem to have a clue about real life either.  I have nothing but bad things to say about him now and I thought at one time that he was handling the situation in the gulf well. 

Senior Contributor

Re: Looks like this was Obama's fault after all

I hope you are right.  If you've not read "The Forgotten Man" by Amity Shales you should.  Seems like history is repeating itself.  Speaking of the "white" house, I am sure that someone in Obama's administration will decide that a name change is in order one day soon.  It's just not politcally correct.