BP, Transocean Execs on the Hot Seat This Week

Executives from BP, Transocean, and Halliburton will be on the hot seat in Washington this week, facing three separate congressional panels on the massive oil spill still underway in the Gulf of Mexico.

The week kicks off with a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday at 10 a.m. President and chairman of BP America Lamar McKay, Transocean CEO Steven Newman, and Halliburton chief health, safety and environmental officer Tim Probert are slated to testify. That committee plans to hold another hearing on May 18 with administration officials on the spill.

On Tuesday afternoon at 2:30, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold another hearing, which is expected to feature the same officials. That committee is also holding a morning hearing with officials from the Environmental Protection Agency and oceans advocates on protecting the health of oceans, which is expected to focus on the impacts of the spill and clean-up efforts.

On Wednesday morning at 10 a.m., the House Energy and Commerce Committee will grill McKay, Newman, Probert and Jack Moore, CEO of Cameron International, the oil field services company that built the “blowout preventer” technology, the failure of which that has been pointed to as a possible cause of Deepwater Horizon spill.

Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Lois Capps (D-Calif.) also announced last week that they plan to introduce legislation that would form an “independent, non-partisan ‘blue-ribbon’ commission” to investigate the causes of the spill.

The Coast Guard and Minerals Management Service will also launch a formal probe this week to “identify the factors leading to the explosion, loss of life, sinking, and subsequent oil spill.” The investigation begins with public hearings in Kenner, La. Tuesday and Wednesday.

The investigations come as the situation in the Gulf continues to look more hopeless. BP’s plan to place a giant dome over the leaking well failed on Saturday as ice-like crystals clogged the inside of the containment box. The dome was supposed to be the best short-term option for stemming the flow of 210,000 gallons of oil per day.