BBC BLOGS - Mark Mardell's America
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
« Previous | Main | Next »

The Gulf's heavy price for BP 'carelessness'

Mark Mardell | 02:52 UK time, Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Alabama

beach1EDIT.jpg

While Congress gears up to rip into BP, accusing the company of taking careless short cuts to save money, the president has been in Alabama in a public display intended to demonstrate to America that the Gulf Coast states are open for business.

Barack Obama ordered crab claws and crawfish tails at Tacky Jack's in Orange Beach. Later, he announced new measures to ensure that seafood from the Gulf is safe. But this attempt at jaunty confidence is at odds with some of his own words and with the reality we see around us.

On the boardwalk, people are emerging from the sea washing themselves off in the open air showers with a sense of disgust. A woman from Missouri has been body-surfing with her young daughter - they come here every year. But their boards have a light coating of oil and the bottoms of her daughter's feet are tacky with the stuff.

It's not dramatic. You can hardly see it. But you can feel it.

beach2EDIT.jpg

She tells me there's a light sheen on the ocean. Should BP set up a fund to pay for the clean-up? "Well I didn't do it," she tells me. "It's not my fault."

The beach's bleached sand is so white its glare hurts your eyes. A young man walking along the strand wears a T-shirt mentioning BP that is too rude for you to be told about here. He's been collecting a petition to get the oil company stripped of all its assets so it can pay for the clean-up.

An older woman holding a bottle of water paddles glumly. She's not much of a TV interviewee, understated, just repeating that someone has to clear it up, that she worries about what is out there, worries about the people who rely on the sea for their livelihood. She's been coming here for 20 years and her sadness is poignant.

Around the tourists, workers in overalls clear up the beach as best they can. This only started coming in at the weekend and lumps of oil litter the beach looking very much like a scattering of dog mess fouling a public park.

beach3EDIT.jpg

Although the president's two-day trip is intended to reassure, his words are also alarming. He's compared the spill to 9/11 in the way it may change a nation's policy. He is giving his first ever address from the Oval Office, a deliberate sign that this is of grave concern, and says:

What we're dealing with here is unique because it's not simply one catastrophic event. It's an ongoing assault whose movements are constantly changing. That's what makes this crisis so challenging. It means that it has to be constantly watched. It has to be tracked. We're constantly having to redeploy resources to make sure that they're having maximum impact. And we also need to make sure that we are constantly helping folks who have been hurt by it, even as we're stopping the oil from spreading into more and more areas.

The fuss from Britain about an assault on a British company has gone almost unnoticed here, by the people and by the media.

The prime minister's phone call has certainly not induced the president to go soft on BP. Since the call, the White House has set a deadline for BP to speed up their clean-up efforts, which they've done, and has called for a fund to be held in trust for the spill's victims.

But the moral pressure on the company will only grow by the end of this week. A congressional committee, which meets on Thursday to question BP chief executive Tony Hayward, has accused the company of a series of decisions in the days before the disaster that cut corners to save time and money and led to catastrophe.

It concludes that if the facts of its detailed investigation are correct, the company's carelessness and complacency has led to the people of the Gulf paying a heavy price.

Comments

or register to comment.

  • 1. At 04:12am on 15 Jun 2010, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark:

    The people of the Gulf Coast (and the people of the United States) are going to have to pay a massive price for the "careless" behaviour of BP..

    NB: BP, Has not been found guilty of any "criminal" or "civil" complaints, so--They will have the assumption of innocent...

    (d)

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 04:46am on 15 Jun 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    "Nightmare Well" is what a BP engineer called it just days before the explosion. Given the size and scope of the disaster, BP's stock was always going to take a huge hit no matter what the President said or didn't say. And frankly, he's not going to take the political hit of siding with a company who has cost the nation billions during a recession for the sake of British pensioners. They aren't his constituency. The people in the Gulf are.

    Sorry to my British friends, but those are the cold hard facts.

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 05:24am on 15 Jun 2010, Worldcitizen1 wrote:

    It's very frustrating to see B.B.C. associate the spill with Britain simply because B.P. is mostly British owned. The people in this country (U.S.A.) do not blame the British for what has happened. Most put the blame squarely on B.P. If the people of Great Britain read anti-British remarks on these forums about the spill, they should keep in mind that they are written by people who already had reservations of Britain to begin with. So, it would be wise, I think, to disregard them.

    I, myself, find more blame with the manufacturer of the failed safety device than I do with B.P. After all, if I purchased an automobile that had a safety defect, why should I, the driver, be held liable if an accident resulted? True, I am over-simplifying a little but, you get the drift. From a legal stand point, I suppose B.P. should take some of the blame as they were doing the drilling but, still, I can't help thinking that the manufacturer of the failed safety device isn't scorned even more as it was their faulty part that created this mess.

    In summation, I truly feel that while it is healthy to vent ones frustrations on the problem at hand, I feel that these forums are encouraging a rift between the people of Britain and the people of the United States because them seem to be happening too frequently and seem to be too numerous. That's just my opinion.

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 06:39am on 15 Jun 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    BP went for the cheap and quick methods.

    It's not anything new in USA. After all, the reason we have so many illegal immigrants and the reason we do so much outsourcing is because people are getting cheaper and more greedy all the time. They care about quanity, not quality.

    This is the blowback for cheap and greedy corporations operating unchecked, with no adequate backup plan.

    Because of their cheapness and greed, we have lost good people and we are losing our environment, our animals, our part of the ocean, our lifestyles, our children's futures, our livelihoods, the list goes on and on. It is like losing a piece of our country's soul.

    The oil spill affects us all, in some way or another.

    But the people hit the worst are those in the Gulf.

    Money cannot buy or bring back the things we are losing.




    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 06:40am on 15 Jun 2010, TedInDenver wrote:

    3. At 05:24am on 15 Jun 2010, Worldcitizen1 wrote:
    I can't help thinking that the manufacturer of the failed safety device isn't scorned even more as it was their faulty part that created this mess.


    BP modified the BOP to make it easier to pass the MMS tests. This will come out in the hearings.

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 06:42am on 15 Jun 2010, TedInDenver wrote:

    From the letter to Tony. The writing in on the wall...


    At this point in the investigation, however, the evidence before the Committee calls into question multiple decisions made by BP. Time after time, it appears that BP made decisions that increased the risk of a blowout to save the company time or expense. If this is what happened, BP's carelessness and complacency have inflicted a heavy toll on the Gulf, its inhabitants, and the workers on the rig.

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 07:27am on 15 Jun 2010, GWBridge wrote:

    Although BP has not been charged or tried, there will certainly be thousands of civil lawsuits and almost as certainly criminal criminal charges brought against BP. Don't forget that United States Supreme Court case just decided that corporations have the same rights and responsibilities as any individual. BP, and no one else, is responsible for the deaths of eleven workers and for all of the environmental damage.

    The actions of the UK government will determine whether widespread anti-British feeling is stirred up. The statement in this article of a call from the prime minister to Obama is the first I have heard about the British government interfering. This will not be received well in the United States.

    The cries of British stockholders (including pensioners) who financed and profited from this operation by gambling with BP stock will fall on deaf ears where people have been killed and countless lives ruined as a direct result of criminally negligent decisions. If the US government were to seize and freeze all of BP's assets under US control and hold them until everything was put right, I would applaud the action.

    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 08:21am on 15 Jun 2010, Texas_Guy wrote:

    It is odd to look at the stories on this website regarding the spill.
    Today we heard all about the BP Engineer calling it a "nightmare well" several days before the explosion in emails and the details of the "Five Decisions" that BP made that caused the accident. I think you'll be hearing a lot about the "Five Decisions" in days to come. We are also finding out that TransOcean (based in Switzerland, not the US) registered the Deepwater Horizon (These movable rigs are registered like ships) to the Marshall Islands, making the Marshall islands responsible for safety inspections.

    Complain about this comment

  • 9. At 09:19am on 15 Jun 2010, spanishjack wrote:

    To Gavrielle_Laposte

    Agreed: BP's procedures need to be investigated and appropriate asses kicked, and kicked hard. However, while it might be in your President's interest to keep the public rhetoric going, I'm not sure that it's in the interest of the average american pensioner.

    BP was formed by the 40-60% merger of Amoco (the American oil giant) with British Petroleum in the late 90s. It's not realistic to think of an enormous company such as BP being anything but internationally owned; unforunately for Mr Obama's constituency there will be a far greater number of U.S. pension funds than British ones with a stake in BP's fortunes.

    Complain about this comment

  • 10. At 09:27am on 15 Jun 2010, Bill Hill wrote:

    Excellent piece. As a Scot living in the USA, I completely agree with: "The fuss from Britain about an assault on a British company has gone almost unnoticed here, by the people and by the media."

    It seemed to me like a strange attack of paranoia whipped up by the British media.

    Mark is also correct that the USA and its citizens are out for blood on this one. From all I've seen reported, they're going to get it, too. BP and its CEO not only cut corners, but consistently tried to play down the true extent of the leak.

    A computer model of the spread of oil from the spill, developed by NCAR, predicted that oil would round the tip of Florida and begin polluting the Atlantic Coast of the US by Day 75 after the blowout. There have been credible reports that oil has already made it to the Atlantic - in which case the flow has been a lot bigger and faster than has been reported.

    You have not yet seen the full extent of the fury against BP in this country until that happens. But it's nothing to do with them being British,

    Complain about this comment

  • 11. At 09:45am on 15 Jun 2010, tovin wrote:

    For Obama it's easier to blame BP and listen to his oil lobby which is angling for an imminent take-over of the British company's assets in the USA. At one stroke he ensures that USA Inc. gets control of a foreign oil company with all its world wide strategic assets and commercial interests AND also all the clean-up costs are paid for without touching the US taxpayer. As for Britain's weak government of appeasing, US-hired non-entities: all they can do now is wring their limp-wristed hands and plea for the "special relationship" with the USA (read: "most special lackey status"). There will be no talk of retaliation by taking over Kraft's assets, for example, despite the fact that Kraft reneged on its promises to Cadbury not to close factories in the UK and not to reduce the workforce too drastically. We are dealing with a country (the UK) that is now a de facto (if not nominally) a US colony.

    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 10:12am on 15 Jun 2010, hackerjack wrote:

    BP went for the cheap and quick methods.
    ------------------
    They really didn't.

    They went for recognised methods of performing the job in question. It was properly risk assessed and all contorls possible were put in place.

    There is always a risk in any operation, whether it's drilling an oil well or starting your car to drive to work in the morning. Even the fullest assessment and controls can not completely eliminate the chance of failure.

    Companies like BP are massively safety conscious, often to the point of over-emphasis if you ask many of the workforce. They have to be because the implications of not doing things as correctly as possible is to be prohibited from operation by the HSE (in the UK) and equivalents in otehr countries. Smaller companies might take risks but for BP the penalty if too large compared to the reward.

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 10:15am on 15 Jun 2010, Chairman of the bored wrote:

    It seems to me that British pensioners are at least as much victims of the BP disaster as anyone in the Gulf. Please remember that the vast majority of these people had no choice in where their money was invested - those decisions are made by the management of investment trusts and pension funds which are largely inaccessible (or at the very least incomprehensible) to those who are dependent on their product. As ever it is those who are least responsible for the mess who get to pay for the apparent blunders of those at the top.

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 10:28am on 15 Jun 2010, Angryjohn wrote:

    I don't think that you will find anyone in the UK who doesn't think that this is a terrible situation. What annoys many people is the double standards of Obama in his politicking. People of the US should remember that the US firm Occidental who killed 116 people on the oil rig Piper Alpha were not hounded by the British Government as long as they put all the evidence on the table and helped make sure an accident like that couldn't happen again. That was a mature response to a calamity. The US response in comparison is immature and quite rightly has lost Obama a great many friends.

    Complain about this comment

  • 15. At 10:33am on 15 Jun 2010, AgeTheGod wrote:


    Although this is obviously an environmental catastrophe I have no doubt that it’s going to get sorted out.

    However, in the longer term I’d be very concerned about what’s going to happen to the price of Oil once all the clean-up costs have been factored into it.

    We need to bear in mind that every penny incurred by BP (and its partners – let’s not forget them!) in cleaning up this mess is an Operating Cost which means that when all is said and done it will be incorporated into the price that Oil will be sold at.

    This bit isn’t just a “BP in the US” issue – there are other countries, such as Nigeria, who will be watching the US Government reaction with interest because whatever sanctions are placed on BP they can then impose on any Oil companies drilling near and fouling their coastlines.

    Consequently, US Oil companies ExxonMobil and Chevron potentially facing huge liability costs – according to President Obama and a number of US Senators those costs might even be unlimited. Essentially even Oil Major is potentially at the same level of risk as BP is now.

    Of course the alternative, which I expect some Oil companies are already starting to explore, is to refuse to drill in US Territory without a legislated limit on liability. As BP are finding out – and the other Oil Majors are no doubt observing very closely – the risk to a company of making a mistake is too great to make it worth their while.

    Essentially leave the riskier stuff to smaller oil companies which, of course, with their much more limited resources increases the likelihood of another catastrophe happening.

    Either way there will be a significant impact on the cost of Oil.

    Personally I expect to see Oil reach $100 a barrel by end-2010 and, depending how onerous the improved safety precautions are that will inevitably be introduced, it could go even further north – some Commodity Futures analysts opinions even have Oil reaching $200 per Barrel in a couple of years. That will triple the price of petrol (gas) in the US and make it about £3.00 a litre here in the UK.

    Many will say that is a price worth paying but for most – especially those living away from the coastlines where this is really just a news story that the media will move on from in a couple of months time – it’s going to be hard to take right in the middle of a major recession.

    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 10:52am on 15 Jun 2010, tovin wrote:

    ...and I forgot to mention: when the next blow out occurs (as it surely will, because who believes the US oil lobby will ever be prevented from deep water drilling), if it's BP's new US owners, there will be no problem at all! Why? Well, it will be a US-owned company so it will simply file for Chapter 11, with limited liability for it's latest oilspill disaster, and the US taxpayer will happily pick up the clean-up tab because, yes, its a "good ole homeboy US company" that did it, not those nasty foreigners!.

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 11:48am on 15 Jun 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The process is starting to ratchet up. Congress will be holding investigations in which technical experts and executives of other oil companies testify. Tony Heyward will testify Thursday. He will get the grilling of his life....if President Obama hasn't given him an even wore one on Wednesday. His nightmare has just begun. IMO the execs from the other oil companies fearing a moritorium on drilling, possibly even an end to future wells will distance themselves as far as they can from BP. They will give countless reasons why BP did not follow approved procedures, did not obey the norms they do, was more than guilty as charged, and why they are all different. There may even be some truth in it. They will also be circling the blood in the water hoping to get a slice of the BP pie when it is finally broken up and the pieces sold off to help pay for the cleanup and consequential damages. Congress will have no problem passing an ex post facto law and I think the courts will find a way to rationalize it in this case even though it seems superficially forbidden by the constitution. They will probably argue that they are just increasing liabiliity levels in laws that already exist and that this was a criminal act which does not come under tort law limitations.

    Meanwhile the DOJ will be looking for a pattern of negligence of a magnitude and consistency that will leave no doubt in any jury's mind that the laws designed to prevent this kind of accident were systematically and habitually flauted. Bernie Madoff and Bernie Ebbers (Worldcom) killed nobody let alone 11 people yet they will spend the rest of their lives in prison. Ken Lay of Enron would have too had he not died. This is not Europe. There are dire penalties for serious economic crimes that affect the livelihoods of millions of Americans. What are Heyward's chances of just paying a fine, geting a slap on the wrist, or escaping prison altogether? Not good IMO. I think he will be spending the rest of his days at club Fed somewhere and I understand it is not the country club it once was. No more tennis courts.

    Complain about this comment

  • 18. At 12:13pm on 15 Jun 2010, Tweddy821 wrote:

    As much as I loathe saying it and as paranoid as it makes me appear, this 'incident', BP oil spill, in the Gulf of Mexico, sometimes appears every-bit as contrived, as George Bush' '911', World Trade Center attack, seems to appear, to me.

    Complain about this comment

  • 19. At 12:20pm on 15 Jun 2010, rupe wrote:

    Given that the rest of the world has been alive to the need for alternative sources of energy for some years (decades) it is about time the yanks got with the programme. The US has time and again scuppered agreements on climate change and fossil fuels reduction.

    This oil spill may just be a blessing in disguise, a wake up call to the world's most indolent and hypocritical nation.

    Complain about this comment

  • 20. At 12:47pm on 15 Jun 2010, lochraven wrote:

    #14 Angryjohn wrote:
    I don't think that you will find anyone in the UK who doesn't think that this is a terrible situation. What annoys many people is the double standards of Obama in his politicking. People of the US should remember that the US firm Occidental who killed 116 people on the oil rig Piper Alpha were not hounded by the British Government as long as they put all the evidence on the table and helped make sure an accident like that couldn't happen again. That was a mature response to a calamity. The US response in comparison is immature and quite rightly has lost Obama a great many friends.

    Are you a late bloomer? Where have you been hiding? How many times must it be said that nobody is blaming the UK or its people. Get over it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 21. At 1:40pm on 15 Jun 2010, redwards36 wrote:

    #17 - To compare the BP disaster with Bernie Madoff & Enron is ridiculous. Madoff & Enron were actual crimes of fraud. The BP disaster is not a fraud, there has been negligence and undoubtedly other errors of management that allowed this disaster to occur. To make a true comparison you have to find a company that has caused deaths and damage to the envoronment.. a better example would be Union Carbide where the death toll was in the thousands and the damage to the environment still continues today.

    Hopefully an enquiry will get to the bottom of how all the companies involved have been at fault; both British incorporated companies and US incorporated ones. At least the CEO of BP will face up to the courts unlike the American CEO of Union Carbide who defied extradition and hid from his crimes protected by the US judicial system.

    Complain about this comment

  • 22. At 1:57pm on 15 Jun 2010, Barbara wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 23. At 2:11pm on 15 Jun 2010, tclarke wrote:

    US politician will soon come out with excuses to protect other US companies involved eg transocean or halliburton.They will 'gang-up' together to accuse BP for NOT listening to their advice,thus discharging them of any potential lawsuit.'British petroleum' will soon be 'US petroleum'.They will probably allow Exxon,instead of petrochina, to buy over BP

    Complain about this comment

  • 24. At 2:15pm on 15 Jun 2010, Barbara wrote:

    All Brits should re-read your comments on this thread. How could you possibly hit the 'post comment' button. You have one poster claiming that the spill doesn't exists, and if it is real...its contrived...by America. Huh? Another is 'GLAD' this happen because NOW the United States can join the rest of the world in concern for the environment. Again..huh???

    When the facts come out later today, they will all point to BP managers' decision to push past normal protocols to bring this rig online to save time and money. Repeat. This is not an accident. This is pure, unadulterated negligence to safety bordering on criminal, nay, in the post-9/11 era, terrorist level.

    And you guys have the gall to be angry at us or President Obama? If not us, at least think about what is happening to the environment because of BP's deliberate actions to ignore the risks in order to save time, expense, and dividends. Sheesh.

    Complain about this comment

  • 25. At 2:17pm on 15 Jun 2010, salil wrote:

    will Obma take same action against USA company ?
    Lets see Dow chemical case where they killed 20,000 people in india ...

    Complain about this comment

  • 26. At 2:22pm on 15 Jun 2010, Fleming wrote:

    I'd like no. 18, Tweddy821, to explain him/herself!!!! What the ___? Are you saying these incidents didn't happen? It sounds like you are!

    Complain about this comment

  • 27. At 2:33pm on 15 Jun 2010, iains128 wrote:

    Whilst i understand the anger in the US i cant help feel that BP will take the lion share of the blame no matter what safety procedures they followed. They have the dubious position of being both in "foreign ownership" and with significant cash resources to hand and are thus an easy target for both political and public outcry.

    Calling the CEO of BP into committee to discuss technical details also seems like a blatant attempt to humiliate him further and place the blame squarely with his company. Is he really the best person to discuss what went wrong on the rig? Wouldn't it be better to have an engineer or health and safety officer in charge who could better describe their procedures? If a wall fell down in house i bought i would be chasing up the surveyor to tell me what went wrong not the estate agent.

    Complain about this comment

  • 28. At 2:34pm on 15 Jun 2010, Trish S wrote:

    AgeTheGod wrote:

    Personally I expect to see Oil reach $100 a barrel by end-2010 and, depending how onerous the improved safety precautions are that will inevitably be introduced, it could go even further north – some Commodity Futures analysts opinions even have Oil reaching $200 per Barrel in a couple of years. That will triple the price of petrol (gas) in the US and make it about £3.00 a litre here in the UK.

    Many will say that is a price worth paying but for most – especially those living away from the coastlines where this is really just a news story that the media will move on from in a couple of months time – it’s going to be hard to take right in the middle of a major recession.
    ----

    What I am hoping for is return of the interest in renewable energy and a reduction in our dependence of oil. It is sad that it takes a catastrophe of this magnitude to convince us that oil is dirty/nasty/harmful, but I do not think anyone can refute it after seeing the results of the Gulf oil spill. In the wake of 9/11, the USA finally started making noises like renewable energy was coming, that there was some hope of reducing our dependence on oil (foreign or domestic), but time marched on and people forgot. The price of oil came back down, and it was "easier" to go with the status quo.

    Without the industrialized nations greed for oil (and, yes, I realize that America tops that list), there would be no need for deep water oil rigs and disasters like the one unfolding in the Gulf wouldn't have to happen again.

    Oh, wait... that would put the almighty oil companies out of business. Their lobbyists will ensure that kind of thinking never takes hold where anyone with any type of authority might listen. And, I'm sure BP isn't the only oil company who takes dangerous risks in the name of reducing costs and increasing profit. That's Capitalism at it's finest.

    Complain about this comment

  • 29. At 2:36pm on 15 Jun 2010, majones6 wrote:

    You might not like Tony Hayward, but there's no doubt that his company is doing a fantastic job in attempting to fix the leaking well. If you haven't seen it, watch Kent Well's video ( http://bp.concerts.com/gom/kentwellstechnicalupdate061010a.htm ). To my layman's eye, nothing but nothing is being left to chance - there are two relief wells, plus two long-term offtake installations, plus two deepwater drillships. In light of the facts, Obama's stance towards BP looks to be very badly informed.

    Complain about this comment

  • 30. At 2:39pm on 15 Jun 2010, Lyric wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 31. At 2:56pm on 15 Jun 2010, AgeTheGod wrote:

    Just got this from the latest BP response letter to Rear Admiral Allen (see [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    “... The risks of operating multiple facilities in close proximity must be carefully managed. Several hundred people are working in a confined space with live hydrocarbons on up to 4 vessels. This is significantly beyond both BP and industry practice. We will continue to aggressively drive schedule to minimize the pollution, but we must not allow this drive to compromise our number one priority, that being the health and safety of our people…”

    Interesting that BP are being crucified for allegedly ignoring safety standards in the build up to the accident (still being investigated to no idea how true that is or who did what) but now, if I interpret this correctly, they are now being encouraged to go significantly beyond accepted practices putting “several hundred people” at risk.

    So obviously, under certain circumstances, ignoring safety protocols is perfectly OK and if we assume that this is risky in normal conditions then it’s probably much, much riskier in Hurricane season.

    I do hope nothing goes wrong because if it does then the resulting problem is going to be much worse than the original problem is and a lot more people will probably be dead as well!

    I that happens then I don’t suppose whoever it is putting BP under this much political and commercial pressure will then be blamed (they'll claim exigent circumstances made the risk worthwhile) and I don’t suppose many people will care that much because, after all, they’ll be BP employees so get everything they deserve.

    Sometimes the hypocrisy makes me very, very sad.

    Complain about this comment

  • 32. At 3:14pm on 15 Jun 2010, Fleming wrote:

    Many of you CONTINUE to bash Obama, and compare his actions NOW to incidents that happened when he was in HIGH SCHOOL! Good grief! THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE nationality OF BP. It's about NEGLIGENCE and the most awful condition of an ocean gulf that you can IMAGINE! STOP BASHING the U.S. over this spill!

    Complain about this comment

  • 33. At 3:17pm on 15 Jun 2010, carolinalady wrote:

    Thank you, Gavrielle and Bill Hill: you are both right on target.
    Spanishjack...your comment re: BP/Amoco pensioners would have a lot more heft if our stock market hadn't tanked so badly and scared all the small investors out already. Nobody cares about any of the oil stocks right now except to watch in righteous indignation as they all tumble and to tell each other 'I told you so.'

    A couple more thoughts from the deep South, although nowhere near the coastlands (in the interests of full disclosure): many, many British tourists visit Florida and the Gulf Coast for the lovely beaches and warm sunshine -- one can hardly blame y'all, given the yucky winters y'all endure. How come we're not hearing some outrage from that contingency? There's a proverb about fouling one's own nest that might be appropriate here.

    Also, I noticed in some of this morning's newsfeeds more complaints about 'chaotic' response from BP and government officials and I would like to say that this isn't a 2.5 hour movie, y'all; it's real life and there's no guarantee of a happy ending. It's going to be grueling, messy, nasty, and --yes--chaotic. And expensive. But we cannot allow 20,000,000 barrels of crude oil to befoul our shores, whoever dumps it there. BP is going to be made an example and bear the brunt of US rage over this, but Big Oil in general is going to sing very small from now on.

    Complain about this comment

  • 34. At 3:18pm on 15 Jun 2010, zz83 wrote:

    #20 Are you a late bloomer? Where have you been hiding? How many times must it be said that nobody is blaming the UK or its people. Get over it.

    The repeated use of BRITISH Petroleum when the company hasn't been named that for over 12 years certainly comes over as blaming the British.

    Anyway, there appears to be a general lack of society taking responsibility. We all use oil and collectively sanction drilling by oil companies in the knowledge spills will occur. You and I are just as much to blame as BP, which, let's face it, will have a very similar attitude to safety as any other oil major.

    Complain about this comment

  • 35. At 3:20pm on 15 Jun 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    9. At 09:19am on 15 Jun 2010, spanishjack wrote:

    It's not realistic to think of an enormous company such as BP being anything but internationally owned; unforunately for Mr Obama's constituency there will be a far greater number of U.S. pension funds than British ones with a stake in BP's fortunes.

    I agree, but it's the British press that's ratcheting up the rhetoric on this one and screaming about British pensioners, not the American press or the international media screaming about who's losing money. It's pretty much understood that if you've got stock in BP, or your pension fund has stock in BP, you've got a problem - and it isn't Barack Obama's fault. But then, the British press loves to build someone up just to knock them down later. That's entertainment!

    14. At 10:28am on 15 Jun 2010, Angryjohn wrote:

    as long as they put all the evidence on the table and helped make sure an accident like that couldn't happen again.

    And this is what we are not seeing from BP. We are hearing a lot of excuses and outright lies with no clear cut answers in sight.

    The US response in comparison is immature and quite rightly has lost Obama a great many friends.

    Fair weather friends are of no use to anyone. But my question for you is, how do you imagine Britons would react if it was the Thames estuaries that were destroyed, all your coastal areas were ruined and the White Cliffs were turned a dirty toxic brown? I dare say you'd all be hopping mad and screaming about American incompetence and lies.

    Complain about this comment

  • 36. At 3:37pm on 15 Jun 2010, Lyric wrote:


    BP's engineer called the oil rig a nightmare well. In an e-mail on April 16, a BP official involved in the decision explained: "It will take 10 hours to install them. I do not like this." Later that day, another official recognized the risks of proceeding with insufficient centralizers but commented: "who cares, it's done, end of story, will probably be fine."

    Who cares, it's done, will probably be fine... Unfortunately this has become the American way. Just get it done . Who cares if it's done well, it will be fine. Pride in a job well done has been replaced with stick some ticky tape on it and call it a day. Hey what's the worst that can happen? Well, our insatiable appetite for oil has finally caught up with us. Yet still, even in the face of this disaster Americans still refuse to see our part in this. Somehow Americans have been convinced that OIL is the only way to go, even if it kills us and every thing else. Meanwhile, Republicans are still screaming for deregulation and drilling all the while convincing Americans that regulation means socialism. Then you have the Tea Baggers screaming DOWN WITH SOCIALISM.. While they hold signs stating " keep your government hands off my medicaid" It would be funny, if it weren't so frightening.

    Complain about this comment

  • 37. At 3:38pm on 15 Jun 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    29. At 2:36pm on 15 Jun 2010, majones6 wrote:

    To my layman's eye, nothing but nothing is being left to chance - there are two relief wells, plus two long-term offtake installations, plus two deepwater drillships. In light of the facts, Obama's stance towards BP looks to be very badly informed.

    Nothing left to chance, eh? Apparently you weren't paying attention when BP decided they were only going to drill one relief well, which might not have worked and were therefore ordered to drill a second well as back up by Obama. They also didn't want to bother attempting to cap the well at all, thinking it was acceptable let it spew oil into the Gulf until the single relief well was completed months later. Again, they had to be ordered to get off their complacent bums and do something. And when they did do something that finally worked, they didn't bother to bring in enough tankers to carry away all the oil they might have collected more quickly. No, they just had the one and had to be ordered to move more ships into position.

    Since more than half of what BP is currently doing was ordered by Obama, I think it's fair to say he was pretty well informed.

    Complain about this comment

  • 38. At 3:42pm on 15 Jun 2010, diverticulosis wrote:

    31. At 2:56pm on 15 Jun 2010, AgeTheGod wrote:
    "Sometimes the hypocrisy makes me very, very sad."

    Yes I agree with you. The hypocrisy of BP is disgusting. Where was their regard to the "health and safety" of their people on the Deepwater Horizon or at their Texas City plant.

    Complain about this comment

  • 39. At 3:42pm on 15 Jun 2010, brazilwatcher wrote:

    I feel very sorry for the people of the Gulf states affected by this tragedy, but at the same time, I think it is all wrong that BP is being made the scapegoat, regardless of the clear evidence that the rig operator, Transocean and the manufacturer of the blow-out valve, Halliburton, also bear a large part of the responsibility. The talk of BP overlooking safety procedures etc, is exactly that, just talk & hearsay, without a shred of evidence to prove it. BP is an enormous company that employs thousands of people, yet it seems that Obama & his cohorts are quite content for it to go bust as long as that deflects the unhappy truth, which is that off-shore drilling at this depth is a risky business, and this accident could have happened to any of the companies involved.

    Complain about this comment

  • 40. At 3:48pm on 15 Jun 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    I think there are a lot of Americans, on the gulf and off, that are going through the stages of grief over the oil spill, with different people at different stages.

    The big question in my mind is: once we've all gotten to "acceptance," what is it we will have accepted? That we're finally going to have to change our lifestyles to adapt to energy reality? Or are we going to accept that the Gulf of Mexico is going to be turned into a giant tar pit so that we can continue to drive our gigantic SUVs?

    I guess we'll have to wait and see.

    Meanwhile, AgeTheGod has it pretty right. Oil WILL become more expensive as the industry pays for this mess, and we WILL end up paying ten dollars per gallon for gas. And that may be the only way that we will finally get the message.

    Complain about this comment

  • 41. At 3:51pm on 15 Jun 2010, rcord wrote:

    I live 185 miles north of the Gulf and there are days when the wind is just right that I can smell some kind of petroleum product in the air. And one thing that Britain needs to understand is that the U S Government is not going to tell us the truth about how bad things are. The EPA says the air in my area is just in "moderate" range so you can imagine what the people who actually live on the coast are experiencing. They only have a few air quality sensors in Mobile and Baldwin counties in Alabama. They hardly have enough in Louisiana. You can always depend on things being worse than the Government has made it out to be. If you go down to the worst parts of the oil contamination with a camera, you will be arrested. They will only let a few photographers who they "have control over" in to photograph. Only a few "bad" pictures have made it into press. Everywhere you go is oil in the Louisiana marshes. Come on Britain, please don't blame Americans for wanting justice for the dead workers or dead wildlife or dead livelihoods. And if an American company is responsible too, I want them to be just as liable as any foreign company would.

    Complain about this comment

  • 42. At 3:56pm on 15 Jun 2010, AgeTheGod wrote:

    Re: Fl;eming (#26)

    I think what Tweedy821 (#18) is trying to get at is that the utterances from the US politicians are starting to look very much like political rhetoric rather than a genuine concern over this particular incident.

    Over here in Europe we tend to be a lot more cynical about our politicians.

    When they get on the soap-boxes and all rhetorical about something you can bet your bottom dollar that they (1) want to divert attention from something else (2) have a hidden political agenda that they’re going to spring on you when the time is right or (3) are trying to butter you up for something.

    In this case I think it’s all three options.

    For US President Obama it’s option 2 – he’s using this as an excuse to start bringing in the Climate Change and Renewable Energy legislation that he spoke about a couple of years ago. We’ve seen the start of it this week with his comments on this being the equivalent of “9/11 for the energy & oil industry” and the worse he makes this look then the more difficult it becomes for any vested interests to block his plans. Probably also a bit of option 1 because some of his other stuff like Health Reform seems to be struggling at the moment.

    For many of the US Senators it’s option 2 – they have elections coming up so are making the right noises that they think the voters will agree with in order to be re-elected. I expect the public hearings this week will contain a significant amount of political grandstanding and very little concern for the actual truth.

    Pretty much everyone one else is focussed on option 1 – the Financial Services industry is certainly very glad that the focus has moved away from their much more destructive “crimes” (don’t know about anyone else but they devastated my long-term financial plans) so they can go back to fleecing us all whilst we worry about Gulf of Mexico spill.

    As I said, we’re pretty cynical about those in positions of power over here…

    Complain about this comment

  • 43. At 3:57pm on 15 Jun 2010, bart wrote:

    Well thinking of responsibility.

    The stock holders of BP are in a legal sense are the actual owners of the company.

    Remote owners yes but owners non the less. They vote for their companies leaders either thru proxy vote or directly if they are large share holders.

    Bond holders are not actually involved or responsible for the actions of the company they just lend the company money like a Bank.

    Who then is responsible for the actions of BP the fella down the street scraping sludge from the hull of his boat or the stockholders who represent ownership.

    Stock holders are more than happy to enjoy the benefits of ownership when dividends are being paid or share prices and company value are rising.

    It is also important to remember that in no small way the responsibility of ownership as well as the benefit are tied together.

    People all over the US are going to be suffering for many years from this mess not just this month but every month as bills for mortgages or car payments come due regularly.

    It is regrettable that British and American and probably other people from many nationalities have a financial interest in this company.

    But that does not change the fact that many Americans and Mexicans and Cubans and Haitian's in the end are going to be suffering over this well into the future.

    O and on the BOP blow out preventer a double or even a triple fail safe mechanism with all of its features disconnected or inoperable is not safe but is cheaper when the company truly believes these things can not happen and then they do.

    Complain about this comment

  • 44. At 4:05pm on 15 Jun 2010, Mister-fied wrote:

    Have to agree with #25. The actions of Union Carbide (a US company) caused the deaths of 15,000 and blinded thousands of others in Bhopal, India in 1985. I do not recall any great fuss from the US government to ensure that the victims were fully compensated, or indeed, compensated at all?

    Complain about this comment

  • 45. At 4:12pm on 15 Jun 2010, TedInDenver wrote:

    To all of you accusing the US of trying to rape British assets while protecting American assets.

    BP are not 100% owners of this well, a US company Anadarko owns 25% and a Japanese company owns 10%. Americans also own 39% of BP thus a lot more of this particular operation than people realize. “Owing” in this case is a liability, obviously, because the venture is an epic fail.

    BP (a multinational company) was running the project as the prime contractor (calling the shots), stood to make the most money and is 100% responsible to fix this. This is US law, period. It is up to them to try to collect damages from the sub contractors through normal US tort laws, not the US governments.

    The hearings are to determine what happened, who (if anyone) screwed up and is there anything we need to do to prevent this from happening again. It’s not really like a court with a judge but you have to tell the truth (or perjure yourself) so it will flush out a lot of details. There is an ongoing criminal investigation to see if anyone needs to go to jail. There will be a ton of legal cases but who sues who will largely depend on the outcome of the hearings.

    All of this is public, it’s on live TV in-fact. All emails, documentation etc. are on government web sites. At the beginning BP was told to maintain existing internal communication and give everything over (as were the other companies). If you read some of the stuff or watch the people at the hearings, it looks bad for BP right now. BP knows this…

    Let’s assume for a minute that the hearings prove what looks obvious, BP forced the Transocean guys to do things they clearly felt were unsafe. This penny pinching and corner cutting caused the death of 11 men destroyed the coasts of our Golf States!

    Who cares if the BP execs where from the UK, the US or Outer Mongolia, they worked for BP. How is that the US raping the British?


    Now, as far as the British pensioners go, I feel for them. From the little I understand they don’t have a choice where their money is invested, apparently they are somewhat dependent on BP dividends and market cap. Investing is much different here, we have much more diversified investment accounts and can control where our money goes, our risk. I’m sure a few people are heavily invested in BP so they will take a hit but the vast majority of Americans won’t even notice this at all. The point, your pension investment strategy is nothing to do with the US and this industrial accident.


    There is no conspiracy and no one is winning here at all.

    Complain about this comment

  • 46. At 4:22pm on 15 Jun 2010, TedInDenver wrote:

    27. At 2:33pm on 15 Jun 2010, iains128 wrote:
    Wouldn't it be better to have an engineer or health and safety officer in charge who could better describe their procedures?


    The congressional hearings are talking to everyone, not just the CEO. In-fact, the BP “Company Man” on the rig calling the shots that day, pleaded the 5th. Google 5th amendment to understand the significance of that.

    Complain about this comment

  • 47. At 4:23pm on 15 Jun 2010, John wrote:

    I would hope for that consistency that the US Government treats BP the same as it treated Union Carbide when it killed a minimum of 2259 people in India and any compensation is commensurate with that paid to the victims there i.e next to nothing. Or is it one rule for victims in India and another if the victim is in the US.

    Yes this is a tragedy, firstly for the families of the dead and secondly for the environment and if as much time was spent solving the problem as is spent talking about compensation then the leak could be capped quicker.

    Finally, I see communism is taking root in the US with all the talk of taking over BP's assets in the US. Lenin and Marx must be laughing in their graves.

    Complain about this comment

  • 48. At 4:25pm on 15 Jun 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: American politcians are using BP as the whipping boy in order to distract voter's attention from the government's failure to provide adequate regulation and oversight of the oil industry and it's complete absence of any plans or resources to deal with spills.

    President Obama, having stuck his nose into the problem now finds that he can't extricate himself from it. Even though the Federal government has neither the equipment or the expertise to deal with stopping the spill he can't seem to stop berating BP and let them get on with the job. Instead he makes speeches and gives photo ops that only reinforces the image of a leader trying to sound tough about something that is beyond his control. If this were George Bush the American media would all over him but since it's Obama, the annointed one and a Democrat, they have studiously avoided pointed out that the emperor has no clothes.

    The right wing conspiracy theorists are already starting. I heard on one of the radio talk shows today that this was a plot by George Soros to make more money. There's already been talk from the right that Soros is calling the tune at the White House, now they allege that Soros is an investor in Petrobras, the big Brazilian oil concern which stands to benefit from an American moratorium on off shore drilling because it has huge offshore oilfields in need of deep water drilling rigs that can now go south to Brazil instead of being used in American waters.

    I suppose tomorrow talk radio will tell us Soros has a financial interest in the two American companies that were involved with BP in this incident? There are few things quite so entertaining as a good conspiracy theory.

    Complain about this comment

  • 49. At 4:28pm on 15 Jun 2010, TedInDenver wrote:

    29. At 2:36pm on 15 Jun 2010, majones6 wrote:

    “To my layman's eye, nothing but nothing is being left to chance - there are two relief wells”

    BP only wanted to drill one refief well. The US government had to order them to drill a second. Why?, Oh yeah, they cost $100 million each!



    “Obama's stance towards BP looks to be very badly informed”.

    He was well informed, thus BP was ordered to start a second relief well.

    Complain about this comment

  • 50. At 4:34pm on 15 Jun 2010, willa wrote:

    Disaster in the Gulf.... is there a root cause? A company's 'culture' propagates downward from the very top of the hierarchy. Behaviors and attitudes of company leaders are what shape employee attitudes and behaviors, and can range from ordering sound policies/practices to ordering/sanctioning flagrantly unethical ones. Greed along with reckless,negligent attitudes on the part of BP's leadership could very well have accounted for every irresponsible action that led to this disaster.

    Complain about this comment

  • 51. At 4:35pm on 15 Jun 2010, TedInDenver wrote:

    To all you brits harping on about the company name, anyone over the age of 35 grew up referring to BP as British Petroleum or BP. I think of the work Kentucky whenever I eat at KFC, it’s the same thing, some of us just remember the old name.

    Complain about this comment

  • 52. At 4:41pm on 15 Jun 2010, Disgustedwimbledon wrote:

    Our American friends might care to reflect that the BP leak happened in US waters, under US regulation, under the supervision of US Engineers,using US companies as suppliers with American employees to provide the physical infrastructure, and that the company (39%US owned) employs more US citizens than from any other country.

    Time to blame the Brits ?

    Complain about this comment

  • 53. At 4:45pm on 15 Jun 2010, bpEmployee wrote:

    The ability of bp to pay will depend on its health as a company, everything from the American administration has driven bp as a company down. They seem determined to shoot themselves in the foot.

    If I were cynical I could forsee that it might be in the long term interests for America to use this to destroy bp as an oil major, one less foreign owned oil company would only give more power to American interests.

    Complain about this comment

  • 54. At 4:47pm on 15 Jun 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    @39

    I agree that other parties also bear a great deal of responsibility for this mess, but hearsay? I think not. And nor will you when you read about the years of internal BP memos that warned of neglect and risky behaviors that could lead to serious accidents.

    Ultimately, BP was in charge. They had the lease, they held the purse strings, they had the final say, and they gave the orders. Halliburton is more to blame for helping weaken regulations and oversight in general in the US that allowed BP to get away with having a culture of risk and neglect.

    Complain about this comment

  • 55. At 4:49pm on 15 Jun 2010, PickledPete wrote:

    The nationality or otherwise of BP isn't, for me, the issue; I recognise that it's is an Anglo-American company however much Obama tries to hint otherwise. The worry for me is the clear lack of due process in a country that always calls itself a nation of laws. Obama is a lawyer for goodness sake, and yet he publicly berates a company before having possession of clear evidence from a full investigation of what went wrong. The message has been so loudly, constantly and consistently delivered by him and others from the Administration that I can't now see how BP, if it were mainly innocent in the cause of the leak, can ever get a fair hearing. OK, this may all be BP's fault, but equally it may not. Innocent until proven guilty is a worthy tradition which seems to have been abandoned in the USA over all this.

    I do agree with the president, however, in his comments about 9/11 and this spill. Countries all over the world have suffered oil spills, many very large like the one on the south coast of England after the Torrey Canyon foundered in the English Channel. Many of the companies responsible were American, but little notice was taken in the USA. Now, just like the Twin Towers, it has happened in the USA, and Americans sit up and take notice. One gave the world the "war on terror". I wonder what the result of the oil spill in the Gulf will be? Why does it always take disaster on their own soil for attitudes to change? The world extends far beyond the conitental USA.

    Complain about this comment

  • 56. At 4:55pm on 15 Jun 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    BrazilWatcher (#39) "... I think it is all wrong that BP is being made the scapegoat, regardless of the clear evidence that the rig operator, Transocean and the manufacturer of the blow-out valve, Halliburton, also bear a large part of the responsibility."

    You seem to be a slow learner, because this has been explained to you before on another thread. The focus is on BP, because as the lessee and prime contractor they are the "responsible party" under US law (Oil Pollution Act). This does not mean that their subcontractors have no responsibility, but that is a matter to be sorted out later. It is BP that has a direct relationship with the US government as the lessee, hence BP is the party responsible to the government for operations on the leased site.

    Complain about this comment

  • 57. At 5:06pm on 15 Jun 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    "The fuss from Britain about an assault on a British company has gone almost unnoticed here, by the people and by the media."

    I certainly hadn't heard any such fuss.
    I thought Britain was disowning BP.
    I thought 'BP America' was ours, not theirs.
    I thought it was AMOCO, merged and re-packaged.
    So, why should Britain come to BP's defense? Weird.

    For once, the US starts motion to hold businesses accountable for their actions.
    So, why the fuss?
    This is business, not politics. Right?

    The politics involved pertains to appropriate regulation of safety protocols and of legal/business liability regarding public and private property. Right?

    If the rig had been EXXON instead of BP, would there be just as much outrage?
    We may never know for sure, but I'd guess the answer would be 'yes.'

    This is a very visible spill affecting lives of many ordinary American folks. Remember, we're often a myopic bunch of people and we tend to not notice what's going on in the world unless it's happening to US.

    Complain about this comment

  • 58. At 5:06pm on 15 Jun 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    zz123 (#34) "The repeated use of BRITISH Petroleum when the company hasn't been named that for over 12 years certainly comes over as blaming the British."

    Who is repeating it? The President said it once and has since said BP. If some media outlet replays his original error over and over, is that "repeating it"? Ot is is it some radio ranter who is trying to stir up controversy, as controversy is the business these people are in, not journalism. Please be specific and tell me where I can go to hear someone in a responsible position in government or journalism repeatedly saying "British Petroleum."

    Complain about this comment

  • 59. At 5:08pm on 15 Jun 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    44. At 4:05pm on 15 Jun 2010, Mister-fied wrote:

    I do not recall any great fuss from the US government to ensure that the victims were fully compensated, or indeed, compensated at all?

    That would be because the Indian government is in charge of India and therefore responsible for going after the culprits and ensuring the victims are compensated according to their laws. The American government has no such responsibility. Nor does the British government when it comes to BP or any other locally owned and registered corporation acting on foreign soil. And no one here is asking the British government to intercede on our behalf. This is the way it works, or are you trying to hold the US to a different/higher standard?

    Complain about this comment

  • 60. At 5:09pm on 15 Jun 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Mister-fied (#44) "I do not recall any great fuss from the US government to ensure that the victims were fully compensated, or indeed, compensated at all?"

    For the simple reason that Bhopal is in India and the incident fell entirely within Indian jurisdiction. This has nothing whatever to do with the topic of this thread.

    Complain about this comment

  • 61. At 5:12pm on 15 Jun 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    BTW, some of us actually do remember DOW in India. (I just read a follow-up article about it in recent months.) I also remember leaks in Alaska, in Africa, and of generations of coal mine safety violations in West Virginia.
    -- But that's all old news.

    Meanwhile, just last week:

    In Wheeling, WVa, 7 workers were injured in a gas mine explosion. The flames were 70 feet high...

    Also last week in Western Pennsylvania, a natural gas well broke loose. No one was injured, but it took over 16 hours to tamp down the polluted water geyser. The FAA actually re-directed flights from the area.
    -- It's unknown what the leak will do to the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay Watershed.


    Stuff like this happens all the time.
    The difference with BP's Gulf spill is that it's public, populated, and hard to hide.

    It's time for a reckoning, and the show-down has to start somewhere.

    Complain about this comment

  • 62. At 5:12pm on 15 Jun 2010, TedInDenver wrote:

    44. At 4:05pm on 15 Jun 2010, Mister-fied wrote:
    Have to agree with #25. The actions of Union Carbide (a US company) caused the deaths of 15,000 and blinded thousands of others in Bhopal, India in 1985. I do not recall any great fuss from the US government to ensure that the victims were fully compensated, or indeed, compensated at all?



    Wow rehashing this is old. It happened in Indian jurisdiction 25 years ago, it is up to the Indian government to protect Indian people not the US government. Have any UK companies done bad things in 3rd world countries and walked away? Do you personally perchance any products made in 3rd world countries where people are not treated very well? Pot meet kettle.

    Complain about this comment

  • 63. At 5:15pm on 15 Jun 2010, Fleming wrote:

    I've listened to the news on this disaster for its full 57 days and I can probably count on only ONE hand how many times I've heard ANYBODY say "British Petroleum."

    This "The U.S. is acting this way because it's British." claim is just BS!


    Complain about this comment

  • 64. At 5:33pm on 15 Jun 2010, GWBridge wrote:

    Bart #43 speaks my mind on this. The stockholders (be they British, American or Lithuanian) are the ones who finance a company's operations, approve its officers, and shoulder the responsibilities of the corporations actions. You can't claim the profits and then expect to be protected from losses, and that includes lawsuits that are the direct result of negligence. To submit a comment implying that BP should be let off the hook because Union Carbide got away with murder is simply to generally endorse corporate abuse of the environment and the local population. If you want to make a case that BP is an international corporation with no particular connection to the UK, please stop crying about British pensioners who are so heavily invested in it. Why are they so heavily invested in it? Because it is a UK corporation based in London which has been making money hand over fist for years. If you are unhappy with the way your pension was invested, you complain to the person to whom you gave authority to invest your money. You do not advocate that BP follow the example of Union Carbide.

    If Bohpal was an American disaster, the Deepwater Horizon spill is a UK disaster.

    Complain about this comment

  • 65. At 5:40pm on 15 Jun 2010, Barbara wrote:

    To all of the British (has that become word) people on this website who 'see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil' against your beloved defender of the divided, please take time to read the following. Directly
    from the BBC website entitled: US oil firms 'unprepared' for major offshore disaster.:

    (But don't let the title fool you.)
    -----
    "While the theme of Tuesday's hearing is deepwater drilling in general, BP chief executive Tony Hayward will face a separate House hearing on Thursday devoted to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

    Mr Waxman and fellow committee member Bart Stupak sent Mr Hayward a letter on Sunday in which they set out technical questions they expect him to answer.

    The letter quotes internal communications between BP engineers before the disaster in which the site is described as a "nightmare well".

    'Carelessness and complacency'
    At issue were the choice for the design of the well, preparations for and tests of the cement job, and assurances that the well was properly sealed on the top.

    Among other things, BP apparently rejected advice of a sub-contractor, Halliburton, in preparing for a cementing job to close up the well.

    BP rejected Halliburton's recommendation to use 21 centralisers to make sure the casing ran down the centre of the well bore. Instead, BP used six.

    In an e-mail on 16 April, a BP official involved in the decisions explained: "It will take 10 hours to install them. I do not like this."

    Later on the same day, another official recognised the risks of proceeding with insufficient centralisers but added: "Who cares, it's done, end of story, will probably be fine."

    "It appears that BP repeatedly chose risky procedures in order to reduce costs and save time and made minimal efforts to contain the added risk," the congressmen write.""
    ------

    The above is the gist of what we Americans have been trying to convey. We may have gotten more information about this disaster from being in the states, but that is no excuse for Britons to act as though BP is innocent or that accidents happen. You should - after careful inventory of any conscious bone in your body - conclude that BP is 100% at fault in this tragedy. Regardless of nationality, BP (aka British Petroleum) is should be the focal point of your anger. Indeed, the thin-skinned, blame-the U.S.-for-absolutely-everything, whilst protecting the real villain is quite troubling.

    Complain about this comment

  • 66. At 5:40pm on 15 Jun 2010, majones6 wrote:

    "BP only wanted to drill one relief well. The US government had to order them to drill a second."

    In case you hadn't noticed, the US government is completely impotent and totally dependent on BP to get things fixed. It only "orders" BP to do something when it knows that BP is already intent on and capable of doing it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 67. At 5:41pm on 15 Jun 2010, Fleming wrote:

    Hey, #52's DisgustedWimbledon: What about all this "WE'RE NOT BLAMING BRITS OR BRITAIN" do you not understand?

    Amazing how hard-headed people -- ALL people -- can be. Or, are you just so arrogant that you think it's all about YOU?

    From, FedUpAtlanta/Fleming

    Complain about this comment

  • 68. At 5:43pm on 15 Jun 2010, Fleming wrote:

    To AgeTheGod, no. 42: Man, you really ARE cynical! I dislike George W. Bush with a purple passion; can't STAND the man. But I'd never even accuse HIM of not caring about what's happening in the Gulf. It's bad. It's really, really bad.

    Complain about this comment

  • 69. At 5:47pm on 15 Jun 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    53. At 4:45pm on 15 Jun 2010, bpEmployee wrote:

    If I were cynical I could forsee that it might be in the long term interests for America to use this to destroy bp as an oil major, one less foreign owned oil company would only give more power to American interests

    Maybe it's payback for the CIA foolishly helping BP out in the name of "international security" by overthrowing the popularly elected democratic government of Iran and installing the Shah, which led directly to the world full of terrorists and terrorism that we have now. If only BP had taken the original deal the Iranian government had offered, rather than wanting to control 100 percent of the oil revenues coming out of Iranian wells and getting a respected British intelligence agent to pitch ridiculous Commie takeover plots to Eisenhower, so that he'd agree to get BP back its oil profits.

    Not saying it is payback, but if you're going to have a conspiracy theory, you might as well have one that's based on a smidgen of reality.

    Complain about this comment

  • 70. At 5:52pm on 15 Jun 2010, Nanuk wrote:

    Anyone who believes that Obama's kick-ass talk will magically produce criminal convictions for BP and any of its officers/directors is severely over-estimating the power of US environmental legislation. Ultimately, it was Obama's administration which gave tacit approval to all the safety plans that BP submitted by agreeing to go ahead with drilling in the Gulf. Unless they find BP grossly out of step with any of the common practices of other oil companies, there won't be any hill to die on for Obama. Any negligence on BP's part will be settled through civil litigation, which will be on a one-by-one basis since a class-action suit will not work for so many variously affected parties. This means it will take years, and many appeals. All the years of the US administration's neglect by allowing its own territory to be a place where corporations are allowed to crap where they eat will be made evident by the ultimate lack of any criminal convictions or even charges.

    Complain about this comment

  • 71. At 5:53pm on 15 Jun 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    bpEmployee (#53) "The ability of bp to pay will depend on its health as a company, everything from the American administration has driven bp as a company down."

    What nonsense. It is the blowout itself, and the inability of BP to shut it off in a reasonable time, that has driven BP down.

    Complain about this comment

  • 72. At 5:59pm on 15 Jun 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    John (#47) "Or is it one rule for victims in India and another if the victim is in the US."

    India is a sovereign nation. The rules in India are within Indian jurisdiction; the rules in the United States are within US jurisdiction. There is no inconsistency when the jurisdictions are entirely separate.

    Complain about this comment

  • 73. At 6:06pm on 15 Jun 2010, Cardean wrote:

    As a Brit with friends in the USA, this is all very sad. BP behaved - it now looks - in a cavalier manner over safety, and had no back-up plans for a disaster of this magnitude. They were drilling at the known limits of the technology but with no fall-back or strategic aspirations for how to deal with the unthinkable. I have nothing to add in their defence, and what will happen to the company - as with the banks like Lehmann and Madoff's antics - is well-deserved. Personally, I would like the company wound up. It remains an embarrassment to the UK, and we are well-off without it. I just wish President Obama would stop the grand-standing, take a dignified and moral stance, and by example, humiliate BP into decline and fall. But he won't and isn't. He has domestic agendas to worry about, does not intrinsically like the Brits, so will press on regardless. It will cost him dear in the long run, as many in the UK are fed up with the so-called "special relationship", and if this goes on, be prepared for trouble. We freely admit liability, but don't make the mistake of humiliating us......

    Complain about this comment

  • 74. At 6:08pm on 15 Jun 2010, Mortaged_Mike wrote:

    Just a few thoughts and comments...

    a) One of the things which seemingly irritated people in Britain was the President's use of the name British Petroleum, which is simply *not* the company name. The company is called BP, and has been for a decade. It will be interesting to see if Obama continues using the wrong name, or if his phone call with Cameron may lead to a change in terminology, if not in rhetoric. Further, since Obama is such an intelligent man and such a great orator, who does not use words lightly, the assumption has been that his use of the wrong name is not just a mistake, but deliberate - hence the accusations that he has been trying to portray BP as foreign (even though it has more workers in the US than UK, and as many shareholders).

    b) Worth noting, in response to 7, that the phone call between Obama and Carmeron was long-scheduled, and more about Afghanistan and economics than BP.

    c) The British tend to view Americans as very insular (which may be ironic). Does Bhopal mean anything to any of the US contributors to this forum? Has the recent trial been reported in the US at all? (That's absolutely not intended to be an insult - the view in Britain, which may be entirely wrong, is that Americans are happy to hammer foreigners in their country, but not take responsibility for the actions of their companies abroad).

    d) There is a feeling that a "compensation culture" has spread here (Britain) from the States - that much, I think, is undeniable. But are we (Brits) seeing for ourselves that the US compensation culture and the UK compensation culture are some way apart. In the UK, you might sue someone for the money, but you wouldn't really get angry about it. In the US, I suspect they really do get angry about it - not just BP (quite understandable to get angry over the oil spill, at least if you're affected), but Toyota, the banks, etc. Perhaps, rather than get angry, it's slightly more British to shrug your shoulders and say "oh well". In fact, perhaps it's slightly more European - c'est la vie. Now, the Europeans might look at Americans and criticise them for getting so hot under the collar, and urge them to be a bit more laid back (laissez faire, mañana). But perhaps the flip side is that this is about the ethos of service which is engrained in Americans. Americans *expect* things to be just right, whether that's their cars or the service in their restaurants; and when things are not right, they get angry, whereas Europeans just shrug?

    Complain about this comment

  • 75. At 6:08pm on 15 Jun 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    iains128 (#27) "Calling the CEO of BP into committee to discuss technical details also seems like a blatant attempt to humiliate him further and place the blame squarely with his company. Is he really the best person to discuss what went wrong on the rig? Wouldn't it be better to have an engineer or health and safety officer in charge who could better describe their procedures?"

    I just read the letter from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to BP CEO Hayward. It spells out in detail the information the committee has on various technical aspects of the well. Mr. Hayward will have time to discuss these details with his own experts before appearing before the committee, and he may even bring his experts with him to the meeting to assist if necessary. It is entirely appropriate to put the CEO before the committee, because he speaks for the company so his testimony will amount to an official response by BP to the committee's questions.

    Complain about this comment

  • 76. At 6:22pm on 15 Jun 2010, AgeTheGod wrote:

    38. At 3:42pm on 15 Jun 2010, diverticulosis wrote:
    "The hypocrisy of BP is disgusting."

    Sorry what exactly is “disgusting” about BP’s stance in all this?

    I certainly think they are significantly less hypocritical than many of the politicians I hear on a daily basis frequently use public events and disasters to further their personal agendas.

    You also makes it sound like BP is some independent life-form whereas it’s actually just another collection of people joined together for a common purpose. So, if there is hypocrisy then it’s the same hypocrisy that any group that is fighting for survival will show i.e. covering some things up, trying to show other things in the best possible light, pointing fingers and passing blame.

    On the scale of hypocrisy that would be normal behaviour for most people and I suspect that every single man, woman or significant other person (the FBI lists 17 distinct genders) has at one time or another tried to do that when up to their knees in trouble.

    It’s not hypocritical just human nature in the face of tragedy and human error.

    You have to bear in mind that there will be a significant number of BP employees – the majority of them being Americans (i.e. employees of BP America Inc.) on that rig – who will be traumatised over the damage that they have done to their own nation.

    And they can’t talk about it because, at this point in time, they’d probably be hung in the streets if their names became public knowledge or some lunatic will take a shot at them – in the current climate can you really blame those American BP employees for trying to avoid blame.

    Sorry if this is a bit strong but I think it’s worth bearing in mind that this isn’t a faceless mega-corporation vs real ordinary people – it’s real ordinary people on both sides of this.



    Also I dare say that we'll also see a lot of hypocrisy from ordinary people in the next few months as well.

    A couple of years ago in the UK the were all sorts of public demonstrations and civil unrest over the price of Petrol because it was to high.

    Well now we know what the penalty for cutting corners on cost is and I hope that all those people that protested then are not protesting now nor will be protesting later when we see £3.00 a litre – after all we can’t have it all ways can we?.

    Complain about this comment

  • 77. At 6:48pm on 15 Jun 2010, GomezAddams wrote:

    I live in an area that is being directly affected by this disaster. No one and I mean no one is blaming the British at all. The anger and frustrations are directed at BP and BP only. We know that the British people did not have anything to do with this disaster, it was the direct result of decisions made to persue the almighty dollar/pound/euro. We hold no malice for Britain, but many of you, it seems, are feeling guilt by association due to the letter "B" once meaning British in the BP name.

    Complain about this comment

  • 78. At 6:53pm on 15 Jun 2010, DenverGuest wrote:

    For the education of the non-USA readers/contributers:
    BP has taken out a series of ads in the USA taking "full responsibility" for the disaster. At least some of the ads are available to view on YouTube. They are playing non-stop on most major TV channels in the US.
    I think this puts to rest any speculation about who is the guilty party. BP has already taken it onto their shoulders. One would expect a company to accept full responsibility only if they are in fact responsible.

    Complain about this comment

  • 79. At 7:02pm on 15 Jun 2010, AgeTheGod wrote:

    68. At 5:43pm on 15 Jun 2010, Fleming wrote:
    “Man, you really ARE cynical! I dislike George W. Bush with a purple passion; can't STAND the man. But I'd never even accuse HIM of not caring about what's happening in the Gulf. It's bad. It's really, really bad.”

    I have no doubt that it is really bad – I’m old enough to remember the mess made in England by the Torrey Canyon.

    As someone who still lives in the town I was born in I’ve grown up with the exponential effects of “ordinary” pollution – rivers and canals I swam in as a child now have a thin veneer of something slimy from the factories up-river and I certainly would let my children in those waters and drinking the water would probably make me very ill nowadays.

    Accepting that, the rest of it is really a matter of scale.

    As to being cynical – I don’t mean to imply that President Obama doesn’t really care about the Gulf of Mexico because it would be inhuman not to care. However I also expect that, as a politician, he’ll use the opportunity to further some other agenda as well.

    For President Bush Jnr - he, like most people, was genuinely horrified over the World Trade Centre incident but that didn’t stop him, once the emotion had all settled down, to use it as the basis to start the War on Terror and finish some unfinished business in the Middle East.

    This in turn led on to “liberating” Afghanistan which co-incidentally has a humungous quantity of important minerals that will be exploited by US Corporations over the next couple of decades.

    It’s horribly cynical to think that those two wars – and many thousands of dead people – might just have been planned to acquire vital resources but I have my suspicions.

    Hopefully this explains why some people are worried that the political rhetoric is starting to seem a bit contrived at times.

    Complain about this comment

  • 80. At 7:06pm on 15 Jun 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    66. At 5:40pm on 15 Jun 2010, majones6 wrote:

    In case you hadn't noticed, the US government is completely impotent and totally dependent on BP to get things fixed. It only "orders" BP to do something when it knows that BP is already intent on and capable of doing it.

    It is the LAW that BP is required to fix it. Don't like it? Lobby Congress to change the law and create a government agency staffed by specialists and scientists to handle this kind of problem. Oh, right. That would mean more "big government" intervention in business.

    And you would know who ordered whom to do what and why, because you were in the room? Kewl!

    Complain about this comment

  • 81. At 7:15pm on 15 Jun 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Mortgaged_Mike (#74) "Does Bhopal mean anything to any of the US contributors to this forum?"

    Clearly it does to a few, who keep harping on it although it has nothing whatever to do with the topic of any threads in this forum.

    Complain about this comment

  • 82. At 7:17pm on 15 Jun 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    74. At 6:08pm on 15 Jun 2010, Mortgaged_Mike wrote:

    Does Bhopal mean anything to any of the US contributors to this forum? Has the recent trial been reported in the US at all?

    Yes and yes.

    That's absolutely not intended to be an insult - the view in Britain, which may be entirely wrong, is that Americans are happy to hammer foreigners in their country, but not take responsibility for the actions of their companies abroad.

    As has been said before, India is responsible for enforcing Indian laws on foreign companies working on their soil. And no one is "hammering" the British government to take responsibility for BP. We are hammering BP executives to take responsibility for the mess they made. If you want to view that as an assault on Britain, be my guest.

    Complain about this comment

  • 83. At 7:29pm on 15 Jun 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Mortgaged_Mike (#74) "It will be interesting to see if Obama continues using the wrong name, ..."

    There's that canard again. Once inaccuracies like this start circulating around the blogosphere, they are impossible to stop.

    I will stipulate that President Obama uttered "British Petroleum" once (although I didn't hear it), but there is no evidence that he did so intentionally for political reasons, or that he is continuing to do so. Everywhere I look in the statements from Obama and the White House, I see (and hear) "BP." It seems to me that those who falsely claim that the President is deliberately trying to whip up anti-British sentiment are those who are trying to set Americans agains British in this matter, not the President.

    Complain about this comment

  • 84. At 7:42pm on 15 Jun 2010, TedInDenver wrote:

    81. At 7:15pm on 15 Jun 2010, GH1618 wrote:
    Mortgaged_Mike (#74) "Does Bhopal mean anything to any of the US contributors to this forum?"

    Clearly it does to a few, who keep harping on it although it has nothing whatever to do with the topic of any threads in this forum.



    X2. One would wonder why a Brit would even care about India given it's conduct in that country over the years.

    Complain about this comment

  • 85. At 8:02pm on 15 Jun 2010, Mortaged_Mike wrote:

    GH1618 wrote:

    "Clearly [Bhopal] does [meaning something] to a few, who keep harping on it although it has nothing whatever to do with the topic of any threads in this forum."

    I *think* you miss my point. Can I clarify? You're saying "The Brits keep bringing it up". I'm asking in particular "Are the Americans aware of the trial this past week?"

    I *think* it's correct to say that the US authorities refused to extradite executives to India for trial - which rather negates comments on India's sovereignty. As to what a 25 year trial process says about their judicial process is another topic entirely...

    I'm trying to keep a balanced view (yes, I'm a Brit; my best mate at school is now a doctor in Nashville). I'm interested in the cultural differences this may be highlighting, particularly in terms of "blame culture". The reason Bhopal keeps rearing its head is that, rightly or wrongly, there is a widespread perception in the UK that the US are being very hypocritical on BP.

    My view, as I hope I expressed last time, is that that is untrue; instead, Obama is being very American - or at least, is finally coming round to being so - in his angry rhetoric (which, as I've argued before, is very un-European).

    Nobody wants this to escalate into a rift between the UK and US - we all know that US-French relations have historically been poor (is the Freedom Fries story an urban myth, or reality?). The fact is there are *huge* cultural differences between the US and Europe (i.e. within "the west") - that's not a value statement, undoubtedly some things are better in the US and some in Europe - but it's easy to assume the differences are minimal; I suggest the BP saga is highlighting them.

    (Out of interest, the other two big differences which come to mind are the death penalty - the US would not be allowed to join the European Union - one of its treaties forbids membership by states which impose the death penalty; many in Europe regard it as on a par with slavery - i.e. morally repugnant (though many others support it).

    The second is the issue of healthcare: to Europeans, it is a mark of civilisation that a modern western state provides health care to all its people; anyone who does not is regarded as unvicilised and "Third World". To many Americans, if I understand it correctly, the idea of the state running anything as important as healthcare smacks of the communism and is equally totally repugnant.).

    Sorry to have rambled off topic.

    Complain about this comment

  • 86. At 8:02pm on 15 Jun 2010, Barbara wrote:

    79. At 7:02pm on 15 Jun 2010, AgeTheGod wrote:


    "As someone who still lives in the town I was born..."

    - Therein lies the problem. Perhaps you expand your critical thinking
    skills beyond your hometown (metaphorically speaking).

    ------------------------

    "It’s horribly cynical to think that those two wars – and many thousands of dead people – might just have been planned to acquire vital resources but I have my suspicions."

    - These resources were discovered in 2007 - Afghan war started in 2003.

    -----------------------

    "Hopefully this explains why some people are worried that the political rhetoric is starting to seem a bit contrived at times."

    - Is this not a perfect example of a 'contrived' explanation. No wonder
    you're stuck on the word.

    Complain about this comment

  • 87. At 8:20pm on 15 Jun 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Mortgaged_Mike (#85) "I *think* you miss my point. Can I clarify? You're saying "The Brits keep bringing it up". I'm asking in particular "Are the Americans aware of the trial this past week?""

    Some Americans and some non-Americans are obsessed with the Bhopal incident. With a few wxceptions, I don't know who is American and who is not, but some Americans Harp on Bhopal as well as others.

    I am American, I know about the Bhopal incident, I know about the recent developments in the case, and I do not think it has anything whatever to with the Gulf oil spew.

    "... the US would not be allowed to join the European Union ..."

    I assure you that there is no sentiment to join the EU in the United States.

    Complain about this comment

  • 88. At 8:22pm on 15 Jun 2010, scarrface wrote:

    #65
    Advice from Haliburton? Are you having a larf?

    "In the latest in the long line of corporate scandals involving the Bush Administration, Halliburton, the energy giant formerly run and still largely influenced and controlled by Vice-President Dick Cheney, has announced that it will repay the US government over $27.4 million after it was discovered that it had grossly overcharged for the meals it supplies to the US military in Iraq. This follows on the heels of the discovery of bribery on the part of Halliburton agents who overcharged the military $6.3 million for fuel delivered to bases in Iraq and Kuwait."

    The BP spill, as tragic as it is, seems to have highlighted the best aspects of US culture - comepetitive tender and ambulance chasing lawyers. We just need a fat bloke quoting scripture and we'd have the full house.

    So, as I see it from the contributions today, BP = bad because a few people were killed inside American jurisdiction and there's a bit of oil in the ocean. Bhopal = good, because you can get away with thousands being killed/maimed, and the ground made toxic for generations, as it is outside American jurisdiction. Hundred's of thousands of Iraqis dead, with Haliburton feeding on the corpses, and they are now the paragons of best practice advice.

    I sympathise with the people affected in the gulf - I've worked there and its a beautiful area. I hope that when the President gets over his mid term posturing, there can be some meaningful dialogue towards clean up and equitable restitution. I'd like to think that as a result of this, US citizens will think long and hard about the levels of oil they require that leads to this type of drilling and mad cap profiteering. I'm not optimistic.

    Complain about this comment

  • 89. At 8:25pm on 15 Jun 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "... rightly or wrongly, there is a widespread perception in the UK that the US are being very hypocritical on BP."

    Only by those who do not know the meaning of hypocrisy (from Compact Oxford Dictionary)

    Complain about this comment

  • 90. At 8:30pm on 15 Jun 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    29. majones6 wrote:
    "You might not like Tony Hayward, but there's no doubt that his company is doing a fantastic job in attempting to fix the leaking well. "

    Shhhhh..... Quiet, MaMaJones!!!
    Good Grief! We finally have a fossil fuel spill in the public eye, getting people angry about sludge and lack of adequate safety regulations! This is a delightfully tangible opportunity for Americans to recognize the flaws in farming fossil fuels! And you have to go on spouting accolades that BP's doing a good job?!?!

    What are you thinking!
    Where's your Hulking Green-Energy Propagandistic Righteous Anger?
    *sighs and shakes head in a mock disparaging manner*

    [Actually, I agree that they seem to be scrambling fairly well, given the complete nightmare of the situation. I also think it will be hard for them to pay people back if they go out of business. But, I still like having the opportunity to shake my fist at someone about oil sludge. It's very cathartic.]

    Complain about this comment

  • 91. At 8:35pm on 15 Jun 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ownership statistics for BP:

    UK: 40%
    US: 39%
    Rest of Europe: 10%
    Rest of World: 7%

    This thread may set a record for groundless arguments.

    Complain about this comment

  • 92. At 8:41pm on 15 Jun 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 25, salil:

    "Lets see Dow chemical case where they killed 20,000 people in india ..."

    Dow wasn't involved. That was Union Carbide.

    The Dow Chemical Company purchased Union Carbide in 2001 for $10.3 billion in stock and debt.

    Dow did not purchase UCC's Indian subsidiary, Union Carbide India. That was sold in 1984 and renamed Eveready Industries India limited. -- Wiki

    Complain about this comment

  • 93. At 8:47pm on 15 Jun 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Mortgaged_Mike (#85) "... we all know that US-French relations have historically been poor ..."

    I don't know that. We have had our ups and downs, but France is our oldest ally, giving Washington crucial assistance in defeating Cornwallis.

    "(is the Freedom Fries story an urban myth, or reality?)"

    Reality:

    http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/03/11/sprj.irq.fries/

    Although this silliness took place in the US House of Representatives, the HR is not the State Department. I would say it was a very minor incident in the long history of US-French relations.

    Complain about this comment

  • 94. At 9:01pm on 15 Jun 2010, AgeTheGod wrote:

    As someone who still lives in the town I was born..."
    - Therein lies the problem. Perhaps you expand your critical thinking skills beyond your hometown (metaphorically speaking).

    I said I still live here NOT that it’s the only place I have lived or have any experience of - on that score I've visited far more places than most. I've worked in over a dozen US States (about 20 separate cities including New York, Chicago, San Fransico, Denver, St Louis, Houston and many more) and spent two months free wheeling around the West Coast and another two months driving around the East Coast.

    I've also visited most European capital cities for extended stays as well as the Middle East and Africa.

    So, as my passport will attest, I've seen more than my fair share of the world.

    However, with few exceptions, I only seen those places at a point in time so cannot judge whether they have changed for better or worse over the years whereas I've seen my home town change over a 40+ year period and it's rarely been a change for the better.

    The creeping low level pollution is just an example and few people I know really think my hometown, or the world, is a lot better now than it was.



    "These resources were discovered in 2007 - Afghan war started in 2003."

    Wrong - the resources were originally identified from satellite inspection (the normal method for initially surveying much of the planet) as far back as when the USSR was in control of the region, but only confirmed in 2005 once US Geologists gained access following "pacification" in 2003.

    There was an independent verification in 2006 and if was just the final results that were published in 2007.

    So, given the time-line, it would be easy to be both suspicious and cynical about the purpose of overthrowing the Taliban. I suppose only time will tell whether Afghanistan or the US gets most benefit from those resources.

    Complain about this comment

  • 95. At 9:11pm on 15 Jun 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 85, Mortgaged_Mike:

    "The reason Bhopal keeps rearing its head is that, rightly or wrongly, there is a widespread perception in the UK that the US are being very hypocritical on BP."

    And the reason for that is that the British public isn't any better informed than the American people.

    Exxon paid approximately two billion dollars to clean up Prince William Sound and another billion to settle civil lawsuits. BP will be treated the same way. The cost for BP will be higher because the spill is affecting far more coastline.

    But, like Exxon, BP's actions will be judged "worse than negligent but less than malicious" and punitive damages will be limited to the compensatory damages. A lot of that will be paid by insurance companies. My guess is that any fines levied against BP will be negligible in comparison.

    Bhopal is in India's jurisdiction. Personally, I think the penalties provided by Indian law for such criminal negligence are far too lenient, but that's India's choice. Indeed, New Delhi hasn't even made one extradition request of Washington, and we do have a treaty with them.

    Complain about this comment

  • 96. At 9:19pm on 15 Jun 2010, TedInDenver wrote:

    88. At 8:22pm on 15 Jun 2010, Barry Scarr wrote:
    and there's a bit of oil in the ocean.


    Your post was a ridicules rant and not worth any serious answer, however, the "bit of oil in the ocean" is very Monty Python’ish. It’s just a flesh wound, eh?

    Complain about this comment

  • 97. At 9:22pm on 15 Jun 2010, TedInDenver wrote:

    91. At 8:35pm on 15 Jun 2010, Andy Post wrote:
    Ownership statistics for BP:
    UK: 40%
    US: 39%
    Rest of Europe: 10%
    Rest of World: 7%

    This thread may set a record for groundless arguments.



    More or less what I’ve been pointing out. How can this be anti British when the US owns virtually the same percentage? I just don’t get it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 98. At 9:29pm on 15 Jun 2010, TedInDenver wrote:

    94. At 9:01pm on 15 Jun 2010, AgeTheGod wrote:
    So, given the time-line, it would be easy to be both suspicious and cynical about the purpose of overthrowing the Taliban.


    Or maybe it was simply to try to kill the terrorists and those that harbored them for killing all those Americans on 9/11? Americans are ruthless when people attack us.

    Complain about this comment

  • 99. At 9:46pm on 15 Jun 2010, scarrface wrote:

    #96
    I agree Ted - a rant does not require an answer as it is not a question. The word you are looking for is "response". Ridicules? you know, there is a bit of irony in there somewhere. Totally ridiculous.

    Complain about this comment

  • 100. At 9:47pm on 15 Jun 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 94, AgeTheGod:

    "I suppose only time will tell whether Afghanistan or the US gets most benefit from those resources."

    Judging from the distribution of Iraqi oil contracts, I would guess that the U.S. will not benefit from those resources at all. Now, China, on the other hand...

    Complain about this comment

  • 101. At 10:01pm on 15 Jun 2010, AgeTheGod wrote:

    "98. At 9:29pm on 15 Jun 2010, TedInDenver wrote:
    Or maybe it was simply to try to kill the terrorists and those that harbored them for killing all those Americans on 9/11? Americans are ruthless when people attack us."

    A perfectly reasonable interpretation though no more nor less provable than my opinion so we'll have to agree to disagree on the motivations of the US Government at the time. Certainly the reasons given by the UK Government - the WMD and 45 minutes to strike - are considered very dubious over here.

    It all comes down to how much you trust your leaders - maybe the politicians mislead the electorate more often over here than they do over there.

    Certainly if I started to list the disinformation, distortions and downright lies I've been told over the years by various politicians I'd still be writing the list next week.

    Complain about this comment

  • 102. At 10:07pm on 15 Jun 2010, TedInDenver wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 103. At 10:19pm on 15 Jun 2010, majones6 wrote:

    PrObam assures me that he will fix the well. PrObam assures me that he will fix the pollution. I am very happy with PrObam.

    Bye bye BP. Go to deepwater Brazil, go to deepwater India, go to Russia. Take your non-US shareholders and try to make them money, but don't try and sell your production to PrObam. We'd rather buy it from onshore Saudia Arabia.

    Complain about this comment

  • 104. At 10:22pm on 15 Jun 2010, diverticulosis wrote:

    101. At 10:01pm on 15 Jun 2010, AgeTheGod wrote

    I suggest you switch from tin to a more conductive metal for your your hat. It makes for a more effective Faraday cage.

    Complain about this comment

  • 105. At 10:32pm on 15 Jun 2010, Mortaged_Mike wrote:

    @82 (Gavrielle_LaPoste). In my humble opinion (other Brits on here may disagree), I don't think anyone is accusing anyone in the US of "hammering" the British government. What I think is clear is that Obama is "hammering" BP. The interesting thing, from my point of view, is that that appears to be viewed as statesmanlike - the "right" thing to do - by Americans. I *think* the British tend to see it as most unstatesmanlike. That's my point - it's a cultural difference. Brits (Europeans?) tend to say "That's life, now how can we handle the problem?" Brits (Europeans?) tend to view Americans as being very keen to throw blame around. The fact that BP is half-owned by Brits means it's something the Brits have noticed perhaps more than other Europeans. Again, I re-iterate, this cultural difference may well be because Americans expect higher standards (i.e. the US are right to be angry); that doesn't stop it jarring with a European mindset.

    @83 I think Mark Mardell made much the same point. Equally, it's not the blogosphere that's full of Obama saying "British" - it.s the BBC, and the newspapers - i.e. highly mainstream media. You may well be right; one of my questions in my original post was "is the term British Petroleum" still being used. Apparently not - will be interesed to see how it pans out in the next few days.

    @87 (GH1618) Likewise I can assure you that very many in Britain would like to leave the EU! My point was only to highlight the differences - but also to highlight that, although we tend to view "the West" as a cultural entity (at least, in Britain we do) - "the West" tending to mean Europe, US and Australia/NZ, I think - in fact it's far from a cultural entity. (Any more than Europe is).

    @97 (TedinDenver). It's not being viewed as anti-British, so much as quite extra-ordinary. What the Brits are reacting to is the rhetoric Obama is using. See my comments above. British politicians just don't do "Find out which ass to kick", or "Keep my foot on their throat" - to Brits, that's the sort of language used by gangsters, not politicians. Cultural difference, pure and simple.

    Complain about this comment

  • 106. At 10:45pm on 15 Jun 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 101, AgeTheGod:

    "Certainly the reasons given by the UK Government - the WMD and 45 minutes to strike - are considered very dubious over here."

    The UK Government said the Taliban has WMDs? You have a link?

    Complain about this comment

  • 107. At 10:46pm on 15 Jun 2010, Mortaged_Mike wrote:

    @97 (TedInDenver) Although the ownership is almost the same US (39%) and UK (40%), the reason it's been more of a headline in the UK is that BP has been the biggest company in the UK, and a very large part of the population own shares in BP, directly or indirectly. That means that Obama's rhetoric has been widely reported (and, as I've said before, e.g. "kick ass" is not a phrase UK politicians would use).

    I'm surprised there hasn't been more adverse reaction - as far as has been reported here - in the US to Obama's rhetoric equating the spill to 9/11. I get his point - it's a game-changer - but is there not a feeling in the US that it is quite wrong (over the top) to equate something which (tragically) killed 11 to something which killed very nearly 3000? Again, I think this may be cultural: in Europe, you *never* equate anything to the Holocaust. Anyone who does, resigns. The Holocaust is viewed as more terrible than anything; to compare something to it is to diminish it. I'd have expected 9/11 to be the same in the US - but apparently not?

    Complain about this comment

  • 108. At 10:51pm on 15 Jun 2010, readwriteandblue wrote:

    This posted on Gallup

    "Americans Want BP to Pay All Losses, No Matter the Cost
    June 15, 2010The majority of Americans (59%) say BP should pay for oil spill damages and lost wages, even if this means the company is forced to go out of business. Seven in 10 (71%) say President Obama has not been tough enough in his dealings with the oil company."

    While I agree with the sentiment I not sure it gels with reality.
    If the current liability cap is $75,000,000 and BP say they have already paid that, but in order to keep doing business they say we will pay all claims, (not because it's right of corse but because they will make even more money by doing so)
    Then actually discussing the possibility of putting them out of business would suggest an abrupt stop in there paying of claims, wouldn’t it?
    I don’t really see a different solution.
    I don`t know why there is a $75,000,000 cap on liability or to be honest what that means. Is that $75,000,000 total for the company or $75,000,000 per claim (that would seem very low it it is total). But if that is the current law, then legally that is all that need to be followed.
    If they were to pull up sticks and bail who would pick up the bill, the liability cap would protect the profits.
    Can't back date a law, Law isn`t meant to wrk that way.



    Complain about this comment

  • 109. At 11:17pm on 15 Jun 2010, AgeTheGod wrote:

    104. At 10:22pm on 15 Jun 2010, diverticulosis wrote:
    "I suggest you switch from tin to a more conductive metal for your your hat. It makes for a more effective Faraday cage."

    I think you must be confusing me for someone else but, as we've never met and I have no idea about the types of people you normally socialise with, I'm not sure who that would be.

    Complain about this comment

  • 110. At 11:23pm on 15 Jun 2010, ElderStatesman100 wrote:

    Mark, firstly, much thanks for illuminating the nuanced reactions of an American public besieged by the unfolding horror of a true ecological disaster.

    I have been on this earth 54 years, and spent one of those years in the mid-'90s living in London, traveling the British & Scottish countrysides, developing an appreciation for the cultural differences that separate two societies with a common language. As one of my British friends once mused: "There is duplicity in everything we say and do. After all, we Brits invented the concept of "duplicitousness".

    In his ironic way, I think my friend was trying to express that British people have a nuanced view of many issues that we Americans treat as "black and white", perhaps owing to a much deeper history, perhaps influenced by 500 years of colonial rule across the world.

    So, in this light, it is not surprising to me to see such a wide disparity of thought, opinion -- and sadly, colonial-think -- attributed to this event. We should remember, as brethren of one another, that many of our political and social characteristics are more alike than different. In this vein, I humbly posit the following observations:

    * This is NOT a British matter. It is a by-product of any multinational corporation, that they look to economize wherever possible, even where safety is concerned, because of one overriding principle: "Shareholder Value."

    * BP's actions and reactions throughout the Deepwater disaster are wholly consistent with doing the same business the same way in any number of other places on earth, where they leave in their wake a horrible, disgusting, disastrous mess. Witness Nigeria's current oil-stained plight. Current US Congressional hearings have already brought to light that the same safety & recovery procedures are equally & woefully ineffectual and inadequate, across ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Conoco-Phillips, etc.

    * What makes this single event so different in outcome are essentially three things:

    1) The rule of US Law, which links legislative action/inaction directly to political fortunes.

    2) The collective, conscious unwillingness of a population to settle for outcomes similar to those of Nigeria, Brazil, India. Elections in this country affect EVERY level of the federal and state political structure.

    3) The convergence of this event on the heels of the recent, excoriating impact of financial recession & depression, rendering millions of educated workers unemployed/underemployed, their housing threatened, their livelihoods stripped, by not only Wall Street shenanigans, but the greed of Corporate power brokers who've collectively chosen to "outsource" their jobs in a manner that equals sending those jobs to cheaper labor on foreign shores. The collective distrust resulting from the de facto axiom, outsource = offshore, has left Americans with a much less nuanced view of corporate decision-making.

    In other words, a tipping point has been reached.


    The impact of such a tipping point is a citizenry distrustful of their politicians, most of whom are known to be in the pockets of Big Oil. In light of this fall's mid-term election cycle so close at hand, woe to any Senator or Representative that fails to align their actions with their voices, in denouncing and holding accountable (ie: holding the tab) BP for deliberate decisions taken -- not once, in isolation -- but repeatedly in prepping that well, ultimately costing eleven lives and hundreds of years of an ecological nightmare from which nobody can awaken.

    Now, reflecting upon these simple facts, would the outrage of our brethren across the Atlantic be so different if circumstance and fate warranted that the Deepwater rig had been located anywhere along the British coastline? Would you continue to be observant of the nuance, or would you act to ensure such a calamity of hubris and greed never took place again in your backyard?

    The true "solution" to this problem lies not in the establishment of crime and punishment -- though that is an important catalyst for prevention of further crime. The ultimate solution lies is in pouring ourselves into collective efforts to wean our species forever from dependency on oil, by taking up development of cleaner fuels. There, it's said. And we all know the likelihood of that happening. Nonetheless, unless and until we commit to that process, we are akin to the cliched alcoholic, destroying ourselves by degrees, stumbling from one disastrous binge to the next.

    Complain about this comment

  • 111. At 11:24pm on 15 Jun 2010, sctotaff wrote:

    Hang on,is everyone missing the point here.Why is BP getting such a bad rep for this,they are going over and above what American legislation requires them to do.
    Put it this way if you had a builder round your house doing some work, and he mistakenly knocked your house down, then turned round and said it's your problem because you own the house, would you be happy?
    BP own the rights,it was transocean doing the work with an American crew working to American guidelines (which are not as stringent as those in the North Sea). There was an accident and tragically 11 men died (which seems to have been put aside for political gain)
    BP comes in an tries to resolve the problem and throw all their resourses at the spill,and spen a lot of money (when US regulations have a cap at 75M)
    Meanwhile transocean, haliburton and the other stakeholders in the well scarper.
    I for one think BP is doing all they can to try and sort this,going above and beyond what they are legally required to do.
    Please start to direct some of your anger at the other partners in this venture because they have scarpered and acted appaulingly.

    Complain about this comment

  • 112. At 11:41pm on 15 Jun 2010, TedInDenver wrote:

    New estimates on the flow were released today, between 1.47 million and 2.52 million gallons per day. Today is day 57, 57 x 2 million = 114 million gallons. 12 more weeks of this (best case) = another 84 days giving us a total of roughly 141 days of this.

    Hopefully they get a better cap, they turned off the cap today because something caught on fire and hurricane season is upon us. Cap was capturing ~ 600,000 a day on a good day. So let’s reduce the leak to 1.2 million gallons a day for the remain 84 days. That’s about another 100 million gallons giving us ~ 214 gallons which I think is a low ball number.

    214 million gallons x $4,300 per gallon fine (if BP is found negligent and you know someone is going to send a message to big oil here) = a $9.2bn fine on top of all the other costs.

    Anyhow, does this give the people worried about their pensions a scale of how terrible this is?

    Tony Hayward saying this is a very minor problem is just stupid. How much cash does BP have?

    Complain about this comment

  • 113. At 11:58pm on 15 Jun 2010, TedInDenver wrote:

    108. At 10:51pm on 15 Jun 2010, readwriteandblue wrote:
    "Can't back date a law, Law isn`t meant to wrk that way."

    The 75 mil cap is for lost wages type claims no clean up and fines. It's null and void if negligence is proven anyway. As I understand it the law can be backdated in an emergency. I’m not 100% sure on that, thought I read it somewhere.


    “If they were to pull up sticks and bail”

    Leaving their plants and oil right and biggest customer base behind?



    Complain about this comment

  • 114. At 00:05am on 16 Jun 2010, AgeTheGod wrote:

    106. At 10:45pm on 15 Jun 2010, Andy Post wrote:
    "The UK Government said the Taliban has WMDs? You have a link?"

    I was going to day "Obviously I'm referring to Iraq" as I originally refer to in the 5th paragraph of my post #79 so am in line with my own thread if not anyone else's.

    However it then occurred to me that you might not be British - I sometimes forget that the BBC is accessed by people all over the planet - so you might not understand the reference.

    It refers to the dossier used by the UK Government to justify the war on Iraq and all events that followed on from that - the BBC alone probably has a thousand or so web-pages on the subject (though I haven't counted them.

    Just about everyone (and I do mean everyone) in Britain would have instantly got the reference as the dossier in question has been the subject of numerous government level inquiries over the last decade.

    Retrospectively I shouldn’t have made that assumption and been more explicit so sorry about that. Let's move on.

    Complain about this comment

  • 115. At 00:26am on 16 Jun 2010, TedInDenver wrote:

    111. At 11:24pm on 15 Jun 2010, sctotaff wrote:
    Put it this way if you had a builder round your house doing some work, and he mistakenly knocked your house down


    Try this better analogy. You hire a building company as a primary contractor to build you a nice exctention on top of your garage. They hire a plumber who screws up with his torch while melting solder and the whole house burns to the ground. Who do you go after in court to pay for your house?

    Complain about this comment

  • 116. At 00:27am on 16 Jun 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    People are angry, and they want to hear the President echo their anger, but the truth is that BP and the rest of the oil industry are too big to fail:

    Louisiana paints a bleak picture, predicting 6,000 people could lose jobs in the early weeks of the ban and 10,000 jobs could be lost within a few months. If rigs leave the region, job losses could jump to 20,000 in 18 months, it said. -- Reuters

    Complain about this comment

  • 117. At 00:57am on 16 Jun 2010, rodentrancher wrote:

    BP is a repeat offender. Quoting from the Chemical Safety Review Board's accident investigation of the 2005 Texas City explosion that killed 15 people and injured another 180:

    "The Texas City disaster was caused by organizational and safety deficiencies at all levels of the BP Corporation. Warning signs of a possible disaster were present for several years, but company officials did not intervene effectively to prevent it. The extent of the serious safety culture deficiencies was further revealed when the refinery experienced two additional serious incidents just a few months after the March 2005 disaster . . . BP targeted budget cuts of 25 percent in 1999 and another 25 percent in 2005, even though much of the refinery’s infrastructure and process equipment were in disrepair. Also, operator training and staffing were downsized."

    BP has killed before through carelessness and greed. Now they've done it again, and added immense environmental damage to boot. This, not the coincidence of the British ownership, is why they are so despised.

    Senior BP management can count themselves lucky if they escape criminal prosecution.

    Complain about this comment

  • 118. At 01:15am on 16 Jun 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    85. At 8:02pm on 15 Jun 2010, Mortgaged_Mike wrote:

    I *think* it's correct to say that the US authorities refused to extradite executives to India for trial - which rather negates comments on India's sovereignty.

    Actually, that's not correct. US authorities have never actually refused to extradite Warren Anderson or any other UC executive. According to this article in The Hindu, published five days ago, the government of India has little interest in prosecuting these men, especially Anderson. Although they are publicly in favor of it, they are privately more interested in keeping American business investment in India. That this dovetails nicely with American business interests is unfortunate, but in no way negates the comments on sovereignty. As in: if India really wanted these men extradited, they'd have been extradited - but then the nation as a whole might be facing huge losses from fearful foreign investors leaving their country. (I'd say cowardly and craven foreign investors, but that's just me.)

    On the other hand, as the article clearly goes on to state, representatives for the plaintiffs in India are suing in US courts, but these are civil, not criminal charges, which is entirely appropriate.

    105. At 10:32pm on 15 Jun 2010, Mortgaged_Mike wrote:

    The interesting thing, from my point of view, is that that appears to be viewed as statesmanlike - the "right" thing to do - by Americans. I *think* the British tend to see it as most unstatesmanlike.

    We don't see it as "statesmanlike" either - unless, as individuals, we have no comprehension of what statesmanlike behavior actually is. The problem as I see it, is that Obama was handling it privately, in a statesmanlike manner, and the press, in its endless effort to achieve more exciting soundbites and images, decided to instigate a more visible and vocal response from the president in public. Sort of like the British press starting the meme that the Queen didn't care that Lady Diana was dead, because she didn't come out in the streets rending her clothes and weeping like a drunk fish wife. Eventually, she was forced to "comfort" the people, who apparently, in their distress, needed their soveriegn to behave like a real mother to her country. It really wasn't what anyone in past generations would have called "queenly" behavior, but she did it under pressure and for political reasons. Obama is under the same kind of pressure now.

    That's my point - it's a cultural difference. Brits (Europeans?) tend to say "That's life, now how can we handle the problem?" Brits (Europeans?) tend to view Americans as being very keen to throw blame around.

    To a certain degree this is very true, although affixing blame in the US is generally part of getting to the root cause of the problem, so that we find out exactly who did what to determine what went wrong in an effort to make sure it doesn't ever happen again. Which is a perfectly reasonable reaction for anyone to have when they are trying to comprehend a major disaster. I think Europeans also have this reaction, but are more patient in waiting for the results of the inquest to come later. And the fact is, we are quite capable of multitasking the issue. Congress is investigating what happened in order to decide if new laws need to be passed, the Justice Department is investigating whether there is any criminal liability in the deaths of those 11 men, while others handle the "how do we fix this" aspect.

    I think the great cultural difference here is that we do all this in public and you get to see it. I'm sure that can be very jarring, especially if you are not used to seeing multiple inquiries going on simultaneously by different agencies that appear to be overlapping. They aren't, but you would have no way of knowing that. It must seem like the hammer is coming down just a little too hard, especially when you have certain politicians grandstanding for their constituencies.

    I remember when the Watergate hearings were taking place and the world was both stunned and horrified that we'd air our dirty laundry in so public a fashion. After all, it's not like every nation didn't have sneaks and crooks as politicians, who'd violate their country's laws for personal/political reasons. But you don't talk about it in public! Well, we do. It's jarring, and it hurts, and it may cause more harm then it cures in the short term, but the only way to heal a festering wound is to expose it to the light of day, lance it and pour on the medicine. BP is simply the latest prime example of a wound that's been festering for decades in this country: lax oversight by federal agencies and catastrophic deregulation of key industries.

    Complain about this comment

  • 119. At 01:55am on 16 Jun 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    sctotaff (#111) "Why is BP getting such a bad rep for this, they are going over and above what American legislation requires them to do."

    No, they are not. You don't seem to have a clue what is in the Oil Pollution Act. BP, as the lessee, is responsible for the entire cost of capping the well and cleanup of the spewed oil. The $75m liability cap applies to damages beyond the cleanup. Most of the money spent so far does not come under the cap.

    The liability cap does not apply at all if it is found that BP was grossly negligent, or if they violated relevant safety regulations.

    Complain about this comment

  • 120. At 03:29am on 16 Jun 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 118, Gavrielle:

    One of your best posts, I think.

    Complain about this comment

  • 121. At 03:40am on 16 Jun 2010, lisa wrote:

    It seems the majority of the British posters here have been brainwashed by the press. I appeal to your sense of logic since you seem to have discarded any sense of compassion for the people or wildlife of the Gulf of Mexico.

    Let me create an hypothetical. In the US we have a fast food company called KFC. You might have heard of them since, like BP, they are a multinational corporation. KFC was formerly called Kentucky Fried Chicken until they thought it might sound better to be called KFC. Suppose there was a massive food poisoning outbreak at several New York KFCs and the governor of New York gave an interview and condemned the health practices of "Kentucky Fried Chicken." Do you think that the people of the state of Kentucky would say that the people of New York are blaming the state of Kentucky by calling it Kentucky Fried Chicken? Would the people of Kentucky be justified in saying that the victims in New York really were arrogant bullies and deserved the food poisoning anyway? Would it be right for them to say that KFC has not been proven guilty of anything in court so no one should blame them? Would the people of Kentucky be right to harp on the fact that the subcontractor who shipped the chicken was incorporated in New York? Should the people of Kentucky say that those who got sick or died in New York should just leave KFC alone because a lot of people have their pensions invested in KFC? Should they bring up the injustices of the Civil War? Should to governor of Kentucky get involved? Maybe the people of Kentucky should express their belief that the state of New York contaminated the food to make Kentucky look bad.

    This situation is like the one above except it is much more extensive and serious. I, as a US citizen living 10 minutes from the Gulf of Mexico, find many of the comments here very offensive and insensitive. Do you really not know how wrong it is for you to say these things? What if this were happening in England? It really doesn't even matter how you feel about the USA. As human beings, why are you so selfcentered and nasty in these posts? If this happened in North Korea, a county that would love to wipe the US off the map, I would feel really terrible for the poor everyday people who suffered and for the loss to the global ecosystem. I would never defend a company that caused this disaster no matter if it was called American Chemicals, Inc. or Cute Fluffy Kittens, Corp. Think about what you say before you say it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 122. At 04:47am on 16 Jun 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    @121

    Excellent commentary, Lisa. Thanks.

    You also help to illustrate a point I was recently discussing with some friends. The subject was the spread of gang culture into suburban areas and outside the US, especially in the UK. One of my guests was a psychologist who pointed out that when bad things happen to people, or groups of people we don't much care for or respect, we often make off the cuff remarks in front of children that do lasting damage to our own cultures.

    For instance, when gangs first became a problem in inner city areas, seeing reports of this on television, people outside those areas may have said things like, "Well, what else would you expect from those people?" Or "That can never happen here! Ha! Ha! Those people deserve what they get!" Fair enough, if that's what someone really believes. But what the children in the room heard was: It's okay to kill someone in a drive by shooting, we don't mind!

    You see, what most people don't realize is that children do not see otherness as adults do. They see everything as equal, because they don't know there's a difference. When adults exhibit a lack of empathy for a particular group, it isn't the group the child learns not to empathize with. It's everyone around them!

    This is what has happened to society across the world, and we see it every day when we notice how callousness has replaced empathy. For Brits saying that Americans are somehow wrong to mourn the loss of their culture and livelihood, it is like telling their children that it's perfectly acceptable to destroy anyone's culture and livelihood - even their own. And anyone who sat in a room and heard a parent or some other adult mock the rise of gang culture in urban areas, then found it had spread to their own years later, can see the truth of this analogy.

    You are exactly right. One should always think about what one says before they say it. The consequences might be more than was bargained for in the end.

    Complain about this comment

  • 123. At 4:56pm on 17 Jun 2010, David wrote:

    Without thinking too hard I can think of 3 disasters where there were US companies involved and a breach of safety protocol was found to be the issue. In all cases the aftermath resulted in a derisory level of compensation from the operating company. These events were:

    Bhopal, approx 8,000 (3,800 immediate) deaths and 120,000 long term illnesses. Responsible company Union Carbide. Compensation paid: $380M (less than BP spent in the first week). All remaining costs borne by the Indian Government. The local economy has since collapsed and has not recovered. The impact continues with still births and infantile deformities.

    Piper Alpha Disaster: 167 deaths, 10% loss of UK gas supplies for a number of months. Responsible company Occidental Inc. Compensation: Insured losses only.

    Torrey Canyon Disaster: 120,000 tons of crude oil spilled onto our best beaches, responsible company Union Oil Inc. Compensation zero. (The company repeatedly dodged the attempts of the British Government to serve a writ.) All costs borne by the UK tax payer.

    I think that there are clear double standards here. The company in question (BP) has not attempted to avoid its responsibilities (all of the above disasters involved several years of argument before a penny was paid). Also the whole thing has turned into a witch hunt.

    If there was ever a case for corporate manslaughter then that was Bhopal and the indifference of the US to the unbelievable impact of this disaster beggars belief.

    BP have made a serious mistake here, but there is no evidence that they are avoiding their responsibilities but brutal treatment will only force BP into a situation where they have to be cautious and, as was evidenced by the UK's treatment of RailTrack, could well mean an increased cost to the tax payer.

    Complain about this comment

  • 124. At 5:58pm on 17 Jun 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    David (#123), with regard to Piper Alpha, this incident reportedly cost Occidental $15b (US). If this was "derisory" as you say, how was that money distributed and who was shortchanged? Of course, the many deaths and injuries cannot really be compensated for, but didn't the survivors receive settlements from Occidental? How much?

    http://www.seacomcanada.com/article_2.html

    Complain about this comment

  • 125. At 6:05pm on 17 Jun 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    David (#123), the Torrey Canyon incident happened in 1967, when maritime law was inadequate to deal with it. Here is a link to a document reporting that it was this incident that led to the Civil Liability Convention of 1969:

    http://stevesmaritime.com/torrey.html

    Complain about this comment

  • 126. At 6:37pm on 17 Jun 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    David (#123), here is a link to an interesting account of the Torrey Canyon shipwreck:

    http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/hu/ergsinhu/aboutergs/lasttrip.html#Details%20about%20the%20ship

    The Torrey Canyon was US owned (Union Oil), was chartered to BP, and operated by an Italian crew (including the captain). The primary cause of the wreck seems to be the poor judgement of the captain. Yet your theme is that these incidents were caused by US companies. Why?

    The oil industry is multinational, and there are always several parties involved. Before Torrey Canyon, ships were smaller and the consequences of a shipwreck correspondingly less severe. After Torrey Canyon, maritime law was improved to cover liability for large spills. More important, navigation aids have improved to help avoid shipwrecks in the first place. BP (then British Petroleum) leased the first supertanker to bring oil to the UK, before maritime law and navigation aids were prepared to handle her, and an accident happened. Too bad, but there are risks associated with being first.

    Complain about this comment

  • 127. At 7:28pm on 17 Jun 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Here's a link to another interesting account of the Torrey Canyon shipwreck:

    http://www.wmu.se.fortet.funcform.se/o.o.i.s/421

    If this account is correct, BP was in control of the ship, not Union Oil, and it appears to be a case of choosing the more economical course (through the gap) rather than the safer course (around the Scilly Islands). Of course, the economical course is not so economical when things go wrong, as BP has discovered (again) with the Deepwater Horizon incident.

    Complain about this comment

  • 128. At 11:42pm on 17 Jun 2010, JMM_for_now wrote:

    107. At 10:46pm on 15 Jun 2010, Mortgaged_Mike wrote RE @97 (TedInDenver):
    “…Obama's rhetoric has been widely reported (and, as I've said before, e.g. "kick ass" is not a phrase UK politicians would use).

    I'm surprised there hasn't been more adverse reaction - as far as has been reported here - in the US to Obama's rhetoric equating the spill to 9/11. I get his point - it's a game-changer - but is there not a feeling in the US that it is quite wrong (over the top) to equate something which (tragically) killed 11 to something which killed very nearly 3000?”

    Very astute points. It is said that Britons are reserved and given to understatement whereas Americans are aggressive, vociferous and given to hype. This go-round would seem to offer proof of the cultural stereotypes.

    As to the parallelism, or lack thereof, the damage to the country and the people is potentially of the same order as the damage to Europe during World War I [if not World War II, to name but two].
    In US terms it may approach the damage from the Civil War, actually eclipsing the damage of the 9/11 attack. We have been fortunate that such a massive man-made calamity has not been inflicted on us in roughly one and a half centuries.

    I don’t think it was an overstatement, especially given the potential worst-case scenarios. And, yes, it is and very much should be a game changer. I am not hearing the necessary change from the Party of No, however. They are still mindlessly repeating the Reagan nonsense that government isn’t part of the answer it is part of the problem.

    Complain about this comment

  • 129. At 11:58pm on 17 Jun 2010, JMM_for_now wrote:

    111. At 11:24pm on 15 Jun 2010, sctotaff wrote:
    “BP own the rights,it was transocean doing the work with an American crew working to American guidelines (which are not as stringent as those in the North Sea).”

    Not as stringent as those in UK waters, eh? The regs under US law are minimum not mandatory maximum. This information would NOT make Americans happier about BP’s conduct, and if it makes Britons happier it smacks of hypocrisy.

    In point of fact, morality and law, BP is responsible for supervising their subcontractors. In Britain itself, if a company had subcontracted work to firms that caused loss of life and environmental damage would the contracting company not have ultimate, if not complete, responsibility?

    I give BP credit for stepping up to the plate before being lectured by the US government. I also despise the hypocritical oil company harlots in the US government for their years of immoral and borderline illegal conduct. This does not mean that I don’t expect them to take stern action against ALL corporate wrongdoers in this and other cases. Or else!

    Complain about this comment

  • 130. At 01:27am on 18 Jun 2010, askers wrote:

    128 " the parallelism, or lack thereof, the damage to the country and the people is potentially of the same order as the damage to Europe during World War I [if not World War II, to name but two]."

    Wow things must be bad in the gulf - between 40 million - 70 million people killed and 70% of the economic infrastructure completely physically destroyed. There is no way all of Europe combined can pay for that level of damage let alone BP.

    Over here we have only heard about the 11 workmen killed on the rig - can you let us know how the other 39,999,989 died ?

    Complain about this comment

  • 131. At 8:55pm on 18 Jun 2010, JMM_for_now wrote:

    130. At 01:27am on 18 Jun 2010, askers wrote:
    RE: 128 " the parallelism, or lack thereof, the damage to the country and the people is potentially of the same order as the damage to Europe during World War I [if not World War II, to name but two]."

    Typical American exaggeration from me, of course. Aside from a bit of tongue in cheek, however, it was precisely the economic, rather than fatality count that I was referring to.

    From Louisiana to Florida the area of damage is close to equaling the Western front. The loss of revenue and damage to ecology are not actually in yet, but the projections are for devastation on a similar scale.

    Use of poison gas and continuing [till this day] danger from left over armaments is somewhat like the lasting effects expected from the oil spill.

    States affected with population are as follows:
    Alabama [4.7 million], Florida [18.5 million], Louisiana [4.4 million], and Mississippi [2.9 million] The total population of these states is roughly 30 million. The total economic damage to fishing, tourism, and other industries [not exclusive], health problems due to pollution of air, water food, and loss of jobs are quite a respectable amount of damage.

    The current populations of some European countries are:
    Belgium [10.2 million], France [63 million], [Germany [82 million], UK [60 million]. So the equivalent of half the French or UK populations being seriously affected is not much of an exaggeration [IN TERMS OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC IMPACT] in comparison to WWI, and the area is likely to expand, as is the number of people affected, if the well is not capped before the Gulf Stream carries the poison up the US coast and possibly to Europe.


    Complain about this comment

  • 132. At 11:10pm on 28 Apr 2011, Mirino wrote:

    One wonders how many other off-shore oil-rigs systematically 'cut corners to save time and money'. With this in mind have the US authorities established any effective system to control security and insure correct procedures under threat of severe penalty for any non practice of oil drilling safety standards in US territorial waters?

    Referring to an earlier comment I made on the same subject, would it not be reasonable to believe that the US had the technology to block the BP leak long before BP finally found effective means, after several unsuccessful attempts, to do the job themselves? And if this is true, notwithstanding the basic legal responsibility of BP, wouldn't non-assistance under such circumstances qualify as a legal argument against the US authorities in view of the very negative ecological consequences, thus consciously allowed to become increasingly worse?

    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.