June 14th, 2010
03:47 PM ET
12 years ago

BP boss facing 'nightmare well' Hill grill

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/14/art.waxmanfile0724.gi.jpg caption="Rep. Henry Waxman warned BP CEO Tony Hayward to be prepared for tough questioning when he testifies before Congress this week."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - BP chief Tony Hayward should be prepared to face tough questioning about the cause of the Gulf oil disaster when he appears before a key House committee this week, according to a letter released Monday by the committee's chairman.

The letter to Hayward from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-California, says a congressional investigation alleges that the besieged oil company took a low-cost, speedy approach to drilling the broken deepwater well responsible for the growing spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Our "investigation is raising serious questions about the decisions made by BP in the days and hours before the explosion" that created the spill, Waxman noted. "On April 15, five days before the explosion, BP's drilling engineer called (the facility in the Gulf) a 'nightmare well.' "

The letter - co-signed by Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Bart Stupak, D-Michigan - asserts that BP saved $10 million in part by skimping on a process to properly cement the well. It also asserts that BP ignored advice from Halliburton, its cementing subcontractor.

"BP appears to have made multiple decisions for economic reasons that increased the danger of a catastrophic well failure," the congressmen said.

"In several instances, these decisions appear to violate industry guidelines and were made despite warnings from BP's own personnel and its contractors. In effect, 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."

BP failed to run a multiple-hour a "cement bond" procedure - meant to assess the integrity of the well's cement seal - despite a mid-April review that predicted cement failure, according to the letter.

An independent expert told congressional investigators that this was a "horribly negligent" decision, the letter notes.

BP also decided to forgo the safety step of fully circulating drilling mud in the well before cementing, the letter claims.

"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," Waxman and Stupak contend.

Hayward is scheduled to testify before Waxman's committee on Thursday morning.

Filed under: BP • Congress • Energy • Henry Waxman
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Stacie

    This should be fun to watch! Since we can't waterboard him, we can at least watch as he gets his a.. handed to him by our elected officials.

    June 14, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  2. GL

    Republicans policy continue to do this county with no real oversites over any coporations.

    June 14, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. Dave

    Will they Grill to close the bill, or will they grill to protect their king of the hill?

    June 14, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  4. Steven M.

    I truly hope BP gets body-slammed to the depths of the Gulf over this unforgivable catastrophe.

    June 14, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. Mark from Louisiana

    Why do congressional hearings look like the pictures in the old book Animal Farm?

    June 14, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. Eric in Denver

    Is there a creepier human being both visually and morally than Henry Waxman?

    June 14, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. JES

    et of your high horase do you hink you could do better.

    Balance the budget and you might have room to talk tough. Just a bunch of scared little boys in DC. You get a little power and you hink you own the world.

    Find out have we can fix the problem learn from mistakes and stop yrying to be a big shot.

    June 14, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. Ethan


    On April 15, five days before the explosion, BP's drilling engineer called (the facility in the Gulf) a 'nightmare well.' "

    BP, the oil industry, and the Republican Party and their apologists are AMERICA'S NIGHTMARE WELL.

    June 14, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    Time after time, it appears that the horribly negligent risk taking decisions made by BP are on par with the careless complancency of GOPers still defending this company.

    Not to worry, though. They still have Obama to kick around.

    June 14, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  10. CIndy Hare

    The Oil situation has become ridiculous. Hindsight which so many of us have, is absolutely impotent. We use so much oil in this country that we should feel shame. Britain is the mother country to many of our ancestors. Just because we are on longer a colony, should not mean that we have forgotten our roots! The USA allowed drilling because of our greed for oil. Now we all must accept the consequences. Our Legislators should wake up after this tragedy and be brave enough to legislate energy policy without being directly influenced by the oil companies. In life, risky behavior can and does result in harm. This is what has happened. Get off the blame wagon and get on the alternative energy train. Complaining and accusing results in zero positive action. Our President can not perform magic!!
    Wake up America before it is too late.

    June 14, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  11. Red Adair

    OVER-regulation is what caused the spill. The insane regulation from obtuse but 'well-meaning' environmentalists that puts drilling closer to shore (where accidents are way easier to manage) off-limits forcing them to go much farther off-shore, and look what happens.

    Now Odummy has banned all gold drilling in the gulf making the US EVEN MORE DEPENDENT ON ARAB STATES THAT WISH US HARM! Obama's no intellect, he's an idiot.

    June 14, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  12. Chris - Denver

    It's worse than we thought. BP appears to have spilled some oil on the English goalkeeper's gloves as well!

    June 14, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  13. Paul in GA

    Well expressed Cindy Hare.

    June 14, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. Steve (the real one)

    Those who greatly benefit from capitalism, yet want to dismantle it as well as liberalism and their apologists are America's nightmare well! (hey, it was good enough for the other guy, it's good enough for me)!

    June 14, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  15. ib

    All you far left liberals that are blaming republicans should note that the rules for this well were relaxed by Obama and company. Get off the blame GOP wagon and open your eyes. Obama has sit back and done nothing except to blame Bush and push his green agenda. You people are disgusting.

    June 14, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  16. Marie MD

    BP cut corners and now our wetlands, wildlife and those in the Gulf Coast who depend on the sea are dead in the water!!!
    I am glad President Obama is making them put money in an escrow account. Just drove past a BP station and there were at least three cars at the pumps. Funny thing is that their gas is about 8 cents higher than Exxon!!
    I guess they are now trying to fleece their customers.

    June 14, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  17. Steve (the real one)

    Time after time, it appears that the horribly negligent risk taking decisions made by BP are on par with the careless complancency of GOPers still defending this company
    Stop the blaming the GOP, YOUR party have BOTH houses of the Congress AND the White House. It was the DEMS that signed off on more drilling permits AFTER the disaster, not the GOP! It is past time to take responsibility instead of passing blame!

    June 14, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  18. cajun

    So many fools post there. We aren't mad at Prez for the damn leak. He ain't magic. But they need to focus on stopping this and hold the kangaroo courts later. The justice department starting a criminal investigation now? Crazy – These guys will all be lawyered and up and in bunker mentality. One of the first things a leader learns is fix it now, then figure out who to blame. This posturing by Obama and his gang of fools is the problem. We don't need that we need the damn leak stopped! And the stupid boycotts! Who in the hell gonna pay if BP goes under?

    June 14, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  19. hilroy

    The president called this spill a 911 situation. Yes I agree Mr. President so now is the time for a massive investigation as to how, who and when this situation was planned.

    Unfortunately, it paid dividends for the last prez but it is destructive for you. I say investigate, then investigate further with no questionable connections to any of the parties responsible for the spill.

    June 14, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  20. afp

    Go get 'em Rep. Waxman. Just remember, talk is cheap. Don't let Hayward leave until you have BP's wallet to make all those along the Gulf Coast whole and to repair OUR coastline and save the delicate species in the area.

    This is not a democratic or a republican thing. This is not liberal or conservative thing. This is our country that has been seriously damaged by their (BR, Transoceanic and Halliburton) group negligence. So those of you damning the "liberals" or the "conservatives" or Pres. Obama or past administrations – shut up. We are all on the same team here!!!

    June 14, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  21. phoenix86

    The dems will do what they do best, point their fingers and start the blame game. Their answer to the leak is to ban offshore drilling. The dems should appear before a committee to answer for their stupidity.

    June 14, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |