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BP Knew of Deepwater Horizon Problems 11 Months Ago

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the confirming-the-expected dept.

Earth 438

jkinney3 was one of several readers to send in news of recently discovered internal documents from BP which indicate the company knew "there were serious problems and safety concerns with the Deepwater Horizon rig far earlier than those the company described to Congress last week." According to the New York Times, "The documents show that in March, after several weeks of problems on the rig, BP was struggling with a loss of 'well control.' And as far back as 11 months ago, it was concerned about the well casing and the blowout preventer." Reader bezenek points out this troubling quote about BP's inconsistent risk assessments: "In April of this year, BP engineers concluded that the casing was 'unlikely to be a successful cement job,' according to a document, referring to how the casing would be sealed to prevent gases from escaping up the well. The document also says that the plan for casing the well is 'unable to fulfill M.M.S. regulations,' referring to the Minerals Management Service. A second version of the same document says 'It is possible to obtain a successful cement job' and 'It is possible to fulfill M.M.S. regulations.'"

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438 comments

Duh (4, Insightful)

S.O.B. (136083) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398584)

Does this really surprise anyone?

Re:Duh (5, Insightful)

gt_mattex (1016103) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398986)

No.

What I would really like to see is the risk analysis report. How cautionary were the warnings of the engineers and how did the pencil pushers at the top translate this as an acceptable risk?

Re: Duh (4, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399272)

and how did the pencil pushers at the top translate this as an acceptable risk?

Apparently they just changed "unable" to "able".

Re:Duh (4, Informative)

3dr (169908) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399310)

Oh, like this.

First of all, the sections of pipe are joined mechanically, and sealed with O-rings. The O-rings are specified for shallow water pressures (and temperatures), and rather than use adequate deep water parts, the shallow water parts were continued to avoid mandatory Federal oversight and testing.

On top of that, deadlines for completion were already tight, as no schedule variability was provided for unforeseen events, such as severe weather, that might hamper drilling and well conversion efforts. The conversion from an exploratory/research structure into a production well was a hard deadline, and pressure was on internally from the otherwise stagnant middle managers clamoring for achievement. There was no room for failure with a project named Deepwater Horizon.

As engineers' warnings flowed up the chain of command, the wording changed from "grave concern" to "concern" to "noted comment" to eventually "thumbs up!". Inter-hierarchical presentations followed a strict time schedule, so power point mentality and "no bad news up" reigned.

/satire

Liability caps (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398586)

How does this come as a surprise since the government limits BP's liability to just a drop in the bucket for them? Yeah, they are thinking about retroactively removing it, but seriously, anytime you reduce the liability to an artificially low number, you are just asking for trouble.

Re:Liability caps (0, Redundant)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398644)

Any damages applied to them would simply be passed on to the consumers. Personal fines or jail for board members on the other hand....

Re:Liability caps (1, Troll)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398674)

Yeah, but the nice thing about corporations is that unless government interferes, you can -choose- not to use them. If because of these fees BP has higher priced oil than say Exxon, people will flock to Exxon and ignore BP.

Of course due to governments creating artificial monopolies, kickbacks, bailouts and the like this doesn't happen for many businesses.

Re:Liability caps (5, Insightful)

Lunoria (1496339) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398704)

If because of these fees BP has higher priced oil than say Exxon, people will flock to Exxon and ignore BP. Of course due to governments creating artificial monopolies, kickbacks, bailouts and the like this doesn't happen for many businesses.

More likely, Exxon will simply raise their prices to be the same as BP's.

Re:Liability caps (1)

General Wesc (59919) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398778)

More likely, Exxon will simply raise their prices to be the same as BP's.

Chevron, on the other hand...

Re:Liability caps (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399108)

Chevron is just as much in Collusion as Exxon and BP. Have you noticed how much gas has dropped in the last 2 weeks? right before the big 3 day weekend, when more drivers were supposed to hit the road than in the last few years? If I was a smart better, I would think, that because Demand is going up, and supply is going down, (a few million gallons are sitting in the ocean, instead of at the refinery) price SHOULD go up.

However, price has dropped 30Cents/gallon here in the last 2 weeks or so. As the oil companies are getting lots of flak. Almost like they are trying very hard to make us happy, so we won't push congress to get to nasty to them.

Re:Liability caps (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32398978)

This is definitely what will happen. I used to work with the retail pricing team at Shell, and the prices at the pump are set almost entirely based on what the competitors in the local market are charging.... where 'local market' may be as specific as a single intersection with gas stations on 3 corners, and local prices being set and re-evaluated twice every day.

If BP has higher costs, and is therefore forced to charge (for example) 4 cents a litre more at a given location, then the other retailers that compete in that location will simply bump up their prices by 3.9 cents a litre... with the 0.1 cents being enough of a difference to swing more than a few customers.

So not only will customers end up paying for BP's fines... but we'll also end up paying for increased margins at all of BP's competitors.

Re:Liability caps (5, Funny)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399020)

We have anti-monopoly laws and investigators to deal with these kinds of things.

Re:Liability caps (4, Informative)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398988)

blahblahblah. More Libertarian nonsense.

When I'm out of town and don't know the area, and my car nearly dies running out of gas, I really don't have a choice about what the next gas station is. Whether BP, Citgo, 76, Gulf, etc.

Speaking oil and monopolies, yes, Standard Oil became a monopoly with out the Government's interference. So did many other monopolies.

Re:Liability caps (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399260)

the idea is not to wait until you're almost running out of gas to check local prices and shop smart.

you don't HAVE to, though.

doesn't work with oil. (3, Insightful)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399142)

Oil is almost as fungible as any national currency -- more so than most. The nature of oil moving in the global market is such that unless a boycott is nearly universal in its application, there is virtually no penalty against the boycotted firm. The only place consumers can really have an impact would be at BP stations in their community, and in general that would only impact the local owners and operators, while the refinery simply sold their products to other retailers.

Re:Liability caps (4, Insightful)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398724)

Any damages applied to them would simply be passed on to the consumers.

BP has competitors. If BP "passes on" the damages to consumers in the form of higher prices, those competitors can easily undercut BP's prices.

Re:Liability caps (1, Insightful)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398782)

Except oil is a fungible commodity, so BP oil being more expensive will affect the entire market.

Re:Liability caps (2, Insightful)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398818)

More profits for BP's competitors, then.

Re:Liability caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32398886)

Nice try.. [starbus.com]

Re:Liability caps (2, Interesting)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398914)

Any damages applied to them would simply be passed on to the consumers.

Bullshit. BP is already pricing its oil to whatever brings it most profits. It can't pass anything to consumer since rising prices would send consumers to competitors instead, leading to less profits for BP.

Re:Liability caps (2, Insightful)

MasterPatricko (1414887) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399302)

Bullshit. BP is already pricing its oil to whatever brings it most profits. It can't pass anything to consumer since rising prices would send consumers to competitors instead, leading to less profits for BP.

Bullshit.

The gasoline retail industry is notorious for having a pricing strategy of "the maximum the consumer can withstand". As soon as BP raises prices (which they won't have to, that's not where they make their money anyway) the neighbouring stations would raise their prices too.

In any case BP, Exxon, Chevron etc. don't make their profits at the pump. They run refineries, they supply fuel direct to major consumers like airlines, they sell raw crude on the commodities market. What average Joe pays at the station is not their cash cow - any small fluctuations in price benefit the individual station owners, not the big mega-corp.

Re:Liability caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32398940)

We, as consumers of oil are at fault in some sense. We should pay both for the fuck ups and for any additional costs that future regulations may cause. (Up to and including drilling multiple relief wells to prevent these things from happening again.)

Re:Liability caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32398948)

I completly agree.

It's time to start jailing CEOs for crimes against humanity.

Corporations are so big that their impact when something goes wrong affects thousands of people.
Governments must start jailing CEOs or they will never care about anyone else beyond their pockets and their bonus.

It doesn't matter if the CEO is not involved directly. They are the heads of corporations and must pay for anything the company does that harms the environment and thousands of peoples lifes.

Re:Liability caps (1)

uncqual (836337) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399318)

Why just the CEOs?

If the CEO didn't know about the individual decisions that led to the problem (which, in the GoM situation, is likely) surely they are no more criminally culpable than the persons who reviewed them or those who made them. So, folks lower down in the chain should, at a minimum, get punished at least as severely.

For example, if a software programmer's bug or bad design contributed to the disaster (in the GoM situation, that's probably not the case), they should do hard time as well. More to the point, if a rig worker did something wrong (esp. if they failed to report it) which contributed to the disaster, shouldn't she be doing jail time as well?

Of course, in the United States, one has to find a pre-existing law and prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant(s) violated it -- we're kinda funny about that in the United States. So far I've not even heard a single claim of what law, for example, Tony Hayward has violated (being a slimy weasel is not, specifically, a crime -- at least in the U.S.).

Re:Liability caps (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399016)

Kinda sorta. Unless they team up with Exxon, Shell, and the numerous other giant oil companies, it'll be difficult for them to charge anything beyond a market price for gasoline. The fact BP needs to charge more will have a slight impact on consumer prices, but it's unlikely to have a significant effect.

(And even if they made an illegal cartel agreement with the other oil companies, the other oil companies would make huge amounts of money on the higher prices, while BP would break even - they'd be given an enormous advantage over BP in the longer term.)

The more likely result of this is BP losing an enormous amount of business and possibly entering a death spiral. Dying or not, the shareholders will collectively lose tens of billions of dollars. Once dead, the other oil companies will fill the gap, taking over the existing production business.

And good riddance.

Re:Liability caps (4, Insightful)

feepness (543479) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399028)

Any damages applied to them would simply be passed on to the consumers.

Not a problem in my book. The consumers create the demand for the oil in the first place.

death penalty for lying to congress (1)

CHRONOSS2008 (1226498) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399102)

that would change some peoples minds quick.
CEOS and staff are spinless twits and would role right over and point fingers everywhere

Re:Liability caps (1)

teg (97890) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399158)

Any damages applied to them would simply be passed on to the consumers.

That's only true if you are a monopolist, and there are no substitutes for your product. BP by itself can't e.g. raise gas prices, because of the competition - so any fines will have to be out of their profits or capital.

Re:Liability caps (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399290)

maybe we should give them money then ? 'coz if taking money from them help them, then giving them money must hurt ? either that, or you're a moron ?

I have to wonder what goes on inside BP (5, Informative)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398590)

Did they not honestly believe that a disaster could occur? Did the right people not talk to each other? Or was the urge to cut corners simply so great that people ignored the risk?

From the ABC interview with one of the survivors, the BP people were arguing with the Transocean people, insisting that it would be ok to skip some phases of sealing the well because they wanted to move the schedule up. I wonder what that BP manager was thinking.

Re:I have to wonder what goes on inside BP (3, Insightful)

foobsr (693224) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398636)

I wonder what that BP manager was thinking.

Beyond Petroleum, of course of $$$.

CC.

Re:I have to wonder what goes on inside BP (4, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398712)

Did they not honestly believe that a disaster could occur? Did the right people not talk to each other? Or was the urge to cut corners simply so great that people ignored the risk?

From the ABC interview with one of the survivors, the BP people were arguing with the Transocean people, insisting that it would be ok to skip some phases of sealing the well because they wanted to move the schedule up. I wonder what that BP manager was thinking.

If BP is like every other big monster multinational corporation, there were multiple departments or divisions arguing with each other and with the contractors. As far as they were concerned, they knew what was the thing to do and everyone else was a bunch of stuffed shirts and the contractors were morons.

As far as the contractors were concerned, the BP guys were big corporate paper pushing morons that if they knew anything, would be working with the contractors.

The 'BP' in the above statement can be searched and replaced with any big corporation and their outsource "partners".

Don't confuse malice with corporate bureaucracy, internal fighting, politics, and the arrogance of people in the field and in the offices.

Now, this being the typical corporate fuck up, everyone will be pointing fingers at the others stating "We told them so!" but the were: too stupid, political, arrogant, or didn't listen and therefore the disaster happened. If only they listened to us.

The CEO will still get his hundred million dollar paycheck but the peons are probably gonna be axed without much compensation. It's good to be king - CEO.

Re:I have to wonder what goes on inside BP (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398748)

I wouldn't suggest any malice was involved. The manager who was arguing for the schedule to be pushed up was, as far as I know, one of those killed in the initial explosion.

I guess my original "questions" were full of hyperbole - it's just a shame when people cut corners in industry like this.

Re:I have to wonder what goes on inside BP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32399154)

Wrong. This fucker lived. There were eleven technicians and two mud engineers killed in the explosion. The BP company man is still alive. Why hasn't anyone interviewed him yet?

oh, don't worry, CEO Tony is going away over this (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398972)

he won't be broke and broken, living under a bridge, but he's going away.

the question at hand should resolve over whether BP PLC is going away. there is ample proof of negligence and recklessness over the Mondero well, so there is no cap on liability.

Re:I have to wonder what goes on inside BP (4, Interesting)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399030)

Don't confuse malice with corporate bureaucracy,

Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.

Now, this being the typical corporate fuck up, everyone will be pointing fingers at the others stating "We told them so!" but the were: too stupid, political, arrogant, or didn't listen and therefore the disaster happened. If only they listened to us.

Then we need to start plugging the well with BP executives. From what we've all seen, they are largely worthless and incapable of making the decisions for which they supposedly earn their astronomical rock-star pay.

And then we need to regulate their sorry asses. Incapable of doing the right thing? You've earned onerous regulation. BP was arguing in front of the Canadian parliament that they don't need to drill relief wells in the same season as the production wells *after* this disaster started. They are obviously fucking nuts and need to be *told* what to do - with teeth. There needs to be fines targeting not just the company but the executives themselves. Jail time would be nice too, but then the only people who really serve jail time are those who are poor or of color, so that appears to be asking for too much.

Stop excusing BP.

--
BMO

Re:I have to wonder what goes on inside BP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32398720)

There's always problems that need solving in operations, and there were probably plenty of people working on one and evaluating the situation. Risk assessment is where engineering meets politics. Managerial information channels and weak corporate culture can water down risk warnings until risk is ignored. There is also the problem when you prevent risk successfuly over the long term, people will start kicking you for 'over-regulation' and 'inefficiency'. Actual risk is only measured for all to see when there are actual failures. You need full liability to make clear the cost of risk taking.

"I wonder what that BP manager was thinking." (5, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398800)

20% bonus if I come in ahead of schedule. etc etc etc.

 

Re:"I wonder what that BP manager was thinking." (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399050)

+1
That's exactly how it works.

Re:I have to wonder what goes on inside BP (1)

wooferhound (546132) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399210)

and What about the other Oil Companies, don't you think they are cutting all the same corners and their well aren't any safer ?

Okay... so now what? (3, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398594)

The more I learn about this, the more I'm inclined to think that the last thing BP ever does as a company on this planet will be cleaning up the mess.

Re:Okay... so now what? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398622)

You honestly think BP will face more than token consequences and maybe a name change?

Yes. (3, Interesting)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398680)

You honestly think BP will face more than token consequences and maybe a name change?

Yes.

This incident has a lot of visibility, and the government can not afford to let it go with a slap.

Beyond that, lawsuits arising from this will fill the courts for YEARS. The lawsuits will cost BP much more money and bad publicity that any government action.

BP *WILL NOT* come out of this unscathed, if they come out at all.

Re:Yes. (1)

Dragoniz3r (992309) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398908)

Fortunately for the government, the people of our country have the attention span of a goldfish. Weeks will go by, everyone will forget about this just like they've forgotten about everything else, and the government will hand out a barely-publicized slap on the wrist.

Re:Yes. (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399034)

You and I will probably forget in a year. But the thousands of fishermen who can never fish in the gulf again will never forget.

OMG (0, Offtopic)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399140)

GARY COLEMAN AND DENIS HOPPER ARE DEAD!!!!1!!11!11111

Yes, caps are like yelling. I'm trying to make a sarcastic remark, damn it!

Re:Yes. (1)

TerranFury (726743) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399000)

Yes. This incident has a lot of visibility, and the government can not afford to let it go with a slap.

If what happened to Exxon after Valdez is any indication, then there will be an initial, very large and very public fine, which they will eventually find a way to avoid paying. See here [nytimes.com] . In short: They were told just after the disaster to pay $2.5 billion, but years later the Supreme Court reduced that number to just $500 million.

Re:Yes. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32399010)

This incident has a lot of visibility, and the government can not afford to let it go with a slap.

BP *WILL NOT* come out of this unscathed, if they come out at all.

That's like saying "I'm twelve years old and what is this?". Seriously, corporations that size have nothing to fear.

There will be a few token publicity actions from politicians and BP but that'll be it. All they have to do is convince the idiot population that they did something and quickly move on to some petty squabble to overshadow the affaire. Too many bribes went into their pockets to really hurt BP.

Hell, even if politicians suddly grow a spine and take the blame when their bribes get exposed, BP could stil run any government into the ground by exploiting every single legal loophole for the next 100 years.

While we are at it, how's ExxonMobile doing these days? ;)

Re:Yes. (4, Informative)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399322)

"HP *WILL NOT* come out of this unscathed,"

Exxon did. Their fine was a drop in the bucket.

--
BMO

Re:Okay... so now what? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398682)

Well, insurance doesn't tend to cover criminal negligence, so... yup.

Misunderstanding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32398954)

Read parent again: the last thing BP ever does as a company on this planet will be cleaning up the mess
 
What the parent is trying to say is not that their final task will be to clean up the mess, but that the least likely scenario will be that the company will clean up the mess.

Re:Okay... so now what? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399040)

I hope so. Obama seems to be determined to make a show out of it to prop up his own position, but, for once, this may actually be a positive thing - if only coincidentally.

Re: Okay... so now what? (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399314)

and maybe a name change?

Too bad "Gulf Oil" is already taken.

Re:Okay... so now what? - Revoke corporate charter (2, Insightful)

j-stroy (640921) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398820)

Incorporation is a privilege granted, rather than a certainty, or a "right". It can be revoked, although in the century since the accountants and lawyers started running things, it hasn't happened much. BP's apparent dishonesty and negligence would seem valid reasons for this action, given the outcome: Many people dead and a huge environmental / economic effect.

After seeing this proclaimed "biggest US environmental disaster" [bbc.co.uk] , I think we might consider all the other massive impacts of industrialization on the US and question not how bad the Gulf is (terrible and worse every moment), but just how bad everything else that has been allowed to become. (mountain top removal, pesticide and medications in water supplies, species extinctions, massive deforestation, Hanford Nuclear Reservation, etc) Can we really be sucked into believing that this is just one bad thing on one bad day?

Re:Okay... so now what? (1)

bazorg (911295) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399014)

"on this planet" may be a little exaggerated, but I really don't see why the USA should honour any concession agreement with a company guilty of negligence of these proportions.

Golden Girls! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32398606)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you through a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say thank you for being a friend.

Frist psto (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32398610)

Go for it

Does it Matter? (1)

flipper9 (109877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398632)

You and I both know, no matter what comes out...no matter how bad and damning the evidence is against BP...the USA taxpayer and consumer will bear the brunt of the cost of the cleanup. BP is too big to prosecute! They have too much influence with the government, have too many lawyers, and have an unlimited supply of $$$ to do what they want. I'm not shocked or surprised at what BP knew, but I will be shocked if they are held accountable in the end.

Old memo deja-vu (5, Interesting)

Valacosa (863657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398634)

From here [cnn.com] :

BEN-VENISTE: Isn't it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6 PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that [President's daily briefing]?

RICE: I believe the title was, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States."

Was anyone else reminded of that little gem?

Yeah right... (5, Funny)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398892)

Like 9/11 and terrorism have anything to do with oil... err wait.

Re:Old memo deja-vu (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32399018)

How about from here [agonist.org] ?

Q: Why was this PDB prepared?

DCI Tenet has already described the genesis of this PDB item in a letter to the 9-11 Commission dated March 26, 2004. This PDB item was prepared in response to questions President Bush asked his PDB briefer. The President had seen previous intelligence reports about possible al-Qa'ida threats to U.S. targets outside the United States. The President had asked whether any of the information pointed to a possible attack inside the United States. When this PDB item was presented to the President on August 6, 2001, his PDB briefer told him that it was prepared in response to the President's previous questions.

Q: What information does this PDB item contain?

The article advised the President of what was publicly well-known: that Bin Ladin had a desire to attack inside the United States. Bin Ladin had stated publicly in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would try to "bring the fighting to America." Most of the information in the article was an analysis of previous terrorist attacks by al-Qaida and a summary and discussion of general threat reporting from the late 1990s. The draft was prepared by CIA after consultation with an FBI analyst.

Q: Did the PDB item include any warning of the 9-11 attack?

No. The only recent information concerning possible current activities in the PDB related to two incidents. There is no information that either incident was related to the 9-11 attacks. The first incident involved suspected "recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York." This information was based on a report that two Yemeni men had been seen taking photographs of buildings at Federal Plaza in New York. The FBI later interviewed the men and determined that their conduct was consistent with tourist activity and the FBI's investigation identified no link to terrorism. The second incident involved a call made on May 15, 2001 by an unidentified individual to the U.S. Embassy in the UAE "saying that a group of Bin Ladin supporters was in the US planning attacks with explosives." The caller did not say where or when the attacks might occur. o On May 17, 2001, the NSC's counterterrorism staff convened the Counterterrorism Security Group, whose members include State, DoD, JCS, DoJ, FBI, and CIA, and reviewed the information provided by the caller. o The information was also shared with Customs, INS, and FAA. o The PDB article advised the President that CIA and FBI were investigating the information. o We had no information, either before or after 9/11, that connects the caller's information with the 9/11 attacks.

this surprises no one. (1)

Essequemodeia (1030028) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398670)

Those lying sons of bitches...

News Flash! (1)

clyde_cadiddlehopper (1052112) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398686)

Drilling oil wells through three miles of rock while floating a mile above the wellhead is really hard and dangerous and - oh my - there were documents that say exactly that.

Re:News Flash! (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398834)

Yes. There were also documents that said that in spite of being well aware that it was no time to skimp on safety (being that it was already a difficult and risky operation), they did exactly that at every opportunity right until it blew up (literally).

Sncnd PSTO!!!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32398702)

PSTO is coming....

No big suprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32398710)

The pressure in a properly drilled and cased oil well is supposed to be static. You're supposed to have to pump the oil out. If the drill pipe accidentally breaks off, you're not supposed to have oil spewing out.

Wow... Just wow... (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398750)

The pressure in a properly drilled and cased oil well is supposed to be static. You're supposed to have to pump the oil out. If the drill pipe accidentally breaks off, you're not supposed to have oil spewing out.

I take it you're *NOT* a engineer or drilling expert?

Re:Wow... Just wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32398888)

Oil doesn't usually spews out from an offshore well. It's surprise me to see this well spewing out after a month - what a shame, to see a great well like this wasted.

Re:Wow... Just wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32399246)

I take it you're *NOT* a engineer or drilling expert?

No he isn't.

Oil doesn't usually spews out from an offshore well.

He's obviously Toki Wartooth from Dethklok.

President Obama (5, Interesting)

retech (1228598) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398738)

If you do want to "own" this disaster and take responsibility then here is a challenge for you. Take this memo and every other smoking gun a decent investigation will reveal and seize BP and all its assets. Take the assets of ALL the top level execs and board, use that to pay for the clean up. Hold those same people criminally responsible for ALL of this and imprison them. Have BP continue to run and use all of its future profits and assets to fund some proper alternative fuel projects, or just pay off the national debt.

This is something the people would gladly see happen. It may restore some faith in us, letting us know the gov't is not completely corrupt and run by these bastards. And it would go a long way to prove you are not just a puppet who provides lip service on the news. It could show you actually give a damn.

So, are you willing to be the change you spoke about?

Re:President Obama (3, Insightful)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398812)

... seize BP and all its assets. Take the assets of ALL the top level execs and board, use that to pay for the clean up. Hold those same people criminally responsible for ALL of this and imprison them.

Hypothetically, that sounds like what dictators of certain countries would love to do to companies and newspaper publishers that don't support them. Just find an excuse, or create one.

You honestly think this is a correct course of action?

Re:President Obama (1)

Bysshe (1330263) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399072)

Besides that, BP isn't a US company. This will clearly violate foreign sovereignty as well. Its a good way to piss off one of the US's only real allies in Europe.

Re:President Obama (5, Insightful)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399160)

the united states used to dissolve the charters of thousands of corporations a year. Way back when, it was a valid punishment for fucking up. Then, suddenly, corporations became people too.

Re:President Obama (4, Interesting)

retech (1228598) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399292)

Yes I do think it's a perfectly acceptable solution.

If a corporation wishes to be treated as an entity then hold it responsible as such. If you or I went out drinking and slammed our car into a McD's we would be held criminally and civilly liable for those actions. The courts would imprison us, take the car and seize worldly assets to pay the damages.

I am tired of corporations (globally now, but clearly the US set the stage) completely raping local resources (labor, infrastructure, taxation abatement, natural resources) and being patted on the back when the well runs dry. Their upper echelon walks away with well lined coffers and the local area gets shit.

I do not care where this company is "located" they played in the Gulf, they fucked it up, they can pay for it (criminally and civilly). I highly doubt if you did something this egregious they'd (BP Execs) would want you to just walk away from it.

Re:President Obama (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32398920)

Whoa, whoa, whoa, there. You're asking for too much change from Obama. He'll be happy to give them a $50 fine, and call that reform.

kick ass! (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398996)

first intelligent suggestion I've seen in six weeks about B razen P olluters.

Re:President Obama (3, Interesting)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399036)

And the legal base for this would be?

Re:President Obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32399298)

Destruction of an ecosystem sounds like a good precedent to make for a crime.

Re:President Obama (1)

ArghBlarg (79067) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399340)

IANAL of course, but it's pretty common knowledge that corporations in the US are considered 'persons', and as such, truly heinous crimes such as this should merit the corporate equivalent of the 'death penalty' -- revocation of their corporate charter to operate in the U.S. and dissolution/seizing of all U.S.-based assets. So there -is- basis in law for it.

Of course this power has almost never, from what I've read, been used. Which means corporations are actually -more- than people, being immortal, immensely rich 'people' who are in all practical senses above the law.

Re:President Obama (4, Informative)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399264)

That is called populism, and while it might make people feel good, it doesn't have a basis in law or the constitution. Holding them financially responsible is an obvious point, but you can't seize assets of the employees (4th Amendment) nor hold them personally responsible unless you can show criminal negligence or that they broke some other law. That is entirely possible for some.

What we can't do is knee jerk react and create new laws because of this. The problem isn't that we don't have enough laws, the problem is that the current system of laws and regulations wasn't followed. Politicians love to pass new laws when the shit hits the fan, because it makes it look like are doing something, when in fact it is a useless gesture.

Re:President Obama (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399330)

I can hear teabaggers screaming about socialism already.

Halliburton? (1)

dogsolitude_uk (1403267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398754)

Apologies if this is old news, but didn't Halliburton actually do the work on the pipe that broke? According to The Independent it would seem so:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/what-was-halliburtons-role-in-us-oil-spill-1987038.html

A commenter on that story asserts that a week before the trouble occurred, Halliburton bought a smaller company who specialise in these kinds of repairs, but I've been unable to find any details about this. Anyone got anything on this?

Re:Halliburton? (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398804)

Apologies if this is old news, but didn't Halliburton actually do the work on the pipe that broke?

And your point is?

Of course a number of contractors where used in this project, including Halliburton, who as we all know is involved in oil exploration.

Are you suggesting some mysterious involvement of the ex-Vice Prez? The CIA? Black helicopters? OLIVER NORTH???

Honestly, I'm trying to understand your point.

Re:Halliburton? (1)

dogsolitude_uk (1403267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398890)

Not at all, I was actually asking if anyone knew any more about who/what was involved. The other thing is that BP may attempt to offload responsibility on Halliburton and other contractors, that's all.

No black helicopters or tinfoil hats or anything, just trying to find out a bit more. I've noticed that a lot of folks here on Slashdot are pretty clued up (no sarcasm, I learn a lot from reading the comments here) and thought I'd ask if anyone else had anything to add. I was particularly curious to see if anyone could substantiate the claim that a commenter made on the Indy site about Halliburton having bought a company that specialised in this kind of repair work.

Apologies if it looked like I was trying to make a point, that really wasn't my intention. Reading back over my comment I can fully understand how it appeared that way though!

Re:Halliburton? (1)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398924)

He's probably pointing out that they continue to be massive fuckups. Whether killing soldiers with faulty wiring, or overcharging the government and ripping off the taxpayer, Halliburton proves itself to be a solid American corporation!

Choose Halliburton!

(Or Cheney will shoot you in the face.)

Re:Halliburton? (1, Informative)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399024)

From the WSJ's article [cjr.org] on the Deepwater Horizon.

BP also skipped a quality test of the cement around the pipe—another buffer against gas—despite what BP now says were signs of problems with the cement job and despite a warning from cement contractor Halliburton Co. ....

Halliburton, the cementing contractor, advised BP to install numerous devices to make sure the pipe was centered in the well before pumping cement, according to Halliburton documents, provided to congressional investigators and seen by the Journal. Otherwise, the cement might develop small channels that gas could squeeze through.

In an April 18 report to BP, Halliburton warned that if BP didn't use more centering devices, the well would likely have "a SEVERE gas flow problem." Still, BP decided to install fewer of the devices than Halliburton recommended—six instead of 21.

BP said it's still investigating how cementing was done. Halliburton said that it followed BP's instructions, and that while some "were not consistent with industry best practices," they were "within acceptable industry standards."

The cement job was especially important on this well because of a BP design choice that some petroleum engineers call unusual. BP ran a single long pipe, made up of sections screwed together, all the way from the sea floor to the oil reservoir.

Companies often use two pipes, one inside another, sealed together, with the smaller one sticking into the oil reservoir. With this system, if gas tries to get up the outside of the pipe, it has to break through not just cement but also the seal connecting the pipes. So the more typical design provides an extra level of protection, but also requires another long, expensive piece of pipe.

"I couldn't understand why they would run a long string," meaning a single pipe, said David Pursell, a petroleum engineer and managing director of Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co., an energy-focused investment bank. Oil major Royal Dutch Shell PLC, in a letter to the MMS, said it "generally does not" use a single pipe.

BP's Mr. Gowers said the well design wasn't unusual. BP engineers "evaluate various factors" to determine what design to use for each well, he said.

Despite the well design and the importance of the cement, daily drilling reports show that BP didn't run a critical, but time-consuming, procedure that might have allowed the company to detect and remove gas building up in the well.

It's possible that they are simply covering their ass, but it's also possible that Halliburton learned from the Montara accident and was arguing for extra safety measures

Re:Halliburton? (1)

dogsolitude_uk (1403267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399076)

Thanks, that's the kind of thing I was looking for! I'll have a nose through the rest of the article too.

Flamebait (5, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398828)

That's right, it's not the engineers who run those companies and when I point this obvious fact out it gets a 'flamebait' score. [slashdot.org]

If it's a flamebait, then I am going for it again. ... BP, Transocean, Halliburton have not rationally considered the options and have not rationally analyzed the feasibility. They are doing exactly the same thing they have been doing for the past 30 years at least. The current oil spill is a mirror image of the Ixtoc disaster, the difference is just how deep they are drilling. They couldn't stop the spill in 50 meters of water with the blow out preventer, it did not work then, didn't work now; with the 'sombrero' = 'top hat', with the 'junk shot'= some metal balls they were throwing into the well then, they couldn't stop the leak with pumping the mud='top kill' etc.

Engineers can take all the offense they like, but this is simply the truth. Engineers are not running BP or Transocean or Halliburton. Engineers matter only to the question 'how much more money can we dig out of the earth' and not 'how do we deal with a disaster we may cause'.

Re:Flamebait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32398958)

You're wrong. Most oil companies executives I ever met are former engineers. A shallow drilling operation doesn't resemble at all a deep drilling operation. There's not a single kind of BOP. Offshore drilling works well in the North Sea and Brazil.

Sometimes shit happens.

Not entirely true. Here's some insights (5, Informative)

Bysshe (1330263) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399150)

While the top guys are often not engineers, what you're saying isn't entirely true. They have very rationally considered the options. Here's a nice link to a technical briefing [concerts.com] from last week where they outline their options and the current situation.

In addition Tony Hayward [wikipedia.org] is a geologist with a PhD.

Third PSTO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32398842)

Drink Frosty Piss

"News for nerds"?? (0, Offtopic)

unixan (800014) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398848)

Since when did Slashdot turn into a competitor of CNN and Fox News?

Re:"News for nerds"?? (1)

Luke has no name (1423139) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399100)

News for Nerds, [and] Stuff That Matters.

This matters, in the broad sense.

Time for the CEO to do some hardtime / the chair (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398850)

Time for the CEO to do some hardtime / the chair!

BP: birthed out of the destruction of Iran (4, Interesting)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398868)

1953 Iranian coup d'etat [wikipedia.org]
http://wearechangecoloradosprings.org/docs.php [wearechang...prings.org] (pdf source documents for OPERATION AJAX)

The Persians were dissatisfied with the royalty terms of the British petroleum concession, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC), whereby Persia received 16 per cent of net profits.

In 1921, a military coup d'état—"widely believed to be a British attempt to enforce, at least, the spirit of the Anglo-Persian agreement" effected with the "financial and logistical support of British military personnel"—permitted the political emergence of Reza Pahlavi, whom they enthroned as the "Shah of Iran" in 1925. The Shah modernized Persia to the advantage of the British; one result was the Persian Corridor railroad for British military and civil transport during World War II.

In the 1930s, the Shah tried to terminate the APOC concession, but Britain would not allow it. The concession was renegotiated on terms again favorable to the British. On 21 March 1935, Pahlavi changed the name of the country from Persia to Iran. The Anglo-Persian Oil Company was then re-named the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC)...

The overthrow of Iran's elected government in 1953 ensured Western control of Iran's petroleum resources and prevented the Soviet Union from competing for Iranian oil. Some Iranian clerics cooperated with the western spy agencies because they were dissatisfied with Mosaddegh's secular government...

After the 1953 coup, the Shah's government formed the SAVAK (secret police), many of whose agents were trained in the United States. The SAVAK was given a "loose leash" to torture suspected dissidents with "brute force" that, over the years, "increased dramatically".

Another effect was sharp improvement of Iran's economy; the British-led oil embargo against Iran ended, and oil revenue increased significantly beyond the pre-nationalisation level. Despite Iran not controlling its national oil, the Shah agreed to replacing the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company with a consortium—British Petroleum [40% owner] and eight European and American oil companies.

4nd PSTO (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32398894)

Eat french poo

Long jail sentences for management chain (5, Insightful)

stomv (80392) | more than 4 years ago | (#32398938)

Fines don't amount to much, even if they're huge -- shareholders get hurt, but the decisionmakers don't get hurt enough.

The solution: long jail sentences, from the CEO on down to middle management. If you knew about this and were anything but a prole, you need to go to jail. A policy like this and management will consider safety far more important than they do now.

P.S. Same goes for Massey up in West Virginia, etc.

Megaman! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32399190)

*music plays* "You've earned 'Junk Shot'!".

BP Doesn't care. No really (2, Informative)

dokebi (624663) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399208)

The really interesting stuff is after 1:30

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6ZN6r5-1QE

So how much longer... (1)

asm2750 (1124425) | more than 4 years ago | (#32399212)

...until BP is declared an enemy of the state?
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