Reckless banks and BP: What they have in common
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig was operated by Transocean.
It was cemented by Halliburton.
And an important element in the safety equipment that failed was manufactured by Cameron International.
So, why oh why, BP shareholders ask me, is the US administration apparently heaping all the blame for the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on BP?
The answer is not hard to find.
The overwhelming financial benefit from the operation of the rig accrued to BP and its shareholders.
And the company that books the profits in the good times has to absorb the losses when it all goes horribly wrong.
The simple devastating charge that can be laid at BP's door is that it had no timely and viable plan to deal with a high impact, low probability event, viz the catastrophic successive failures of preventative equipment on the rig itself.
It is precisely the same charge that was levelled at big financial institutions from Northern Rock, to Royal Bank of Scotland, Lehman, AIG, UBS, Citigroup and the rest - namely that they had no plan B for when the unthinkable happened and entire financial markets, on which they were dependent for vital finance, closed down.
The analogy can be extended. Because it is quite clear that the long-term costs of finance for banks and therefore for the rest of us is on a pronounced rising trend (ignoring the short-term reductions in interest rates engineered by central banks) as a result of reforms to reduce the risks taken by banks.
And the cost of oil will also have to rise, as companies are forced to take much more expensive precautions when drilling for oil in treacherous regions.
More expensive oil and more expensive finance: it's not a recipe for booming economies, even if both are essential to deliver more sustainable growth.
On a more parochial issue, I am increasingly hearing grumblings of discontent from shareholders and politicians about the performance - or should that be lack of performance? - of BP's chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg.
Their point is that at a time of life-or-death crisis for a company, the chairman should become the public face of the business, representing the company to the wider world and taking the lead in meeting with politicians, regulators and shareholders.
Well the priority for the chief executive in these circumstances - especially one like Tony Hayward who was explicitly chosen by BP's board precisely because he was a nitty gritty geologist and professional manager rather than a PR wiz - is to sort the underlying physical problem (the leak), in circumstances of quite extreme personal pressure.
For the chief executive also to be the public face of the business requires superhuman qualities that arguably no business leader possesses. And it's worse for Tony Hayward because he'll be aware that the buck stops with him for the fact that BP didn't have that contingency plan in place for dealing with this catastrophically high impact, low probability event.
What's more, the chairman is supposed to represent all interested parties - the executives, the other employees, shareholders, customers, and so on - in a way that is much harder for any chief executive, even in the good times.
To put it in the starkest terms, any chief executive will always be seen as having too much of his own skin in the game to be dispassionate at a time when the survival of the company is not guaranteed - and therefore everything he or she says will be seen as tendentious to an extent.
Which is why, as one investor put it to me, chairman Svanberg needs to emerge from the wings to the front of the stage, even if the audience seems somewhat hostile.
Update 10.55: The value of BP's brand has probably been seriously impaired by the Gulf Coast debacle. So perhaps it should revert to its previous corporate moniker.
Except that I am reminded by Terry Smith of Tullett Prebon that BP's last uncarnation, till 1954, was as the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.
Even now, I suspect "Iran" sells less well in the US than "BP" - or at least BP's owners must fervently hope that's the case.