Congressmen Press BP for More Answers


New evidence has emerged in the past days about the events leading up to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig. A congressional committee released a report on its findings about what happened on the rig before the blast, but today they want to know what BP might have been keeping from them.

In a tersely worded letter to Lamar McKay, president of BP America, Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) demanded that the company turn over more information related to its internal investigation:

We are concerned about issues that were omitted from BP’s presentation and letter. In today’s New York Times and Wall Street Journal, questions are raised about several decisions made by BP that could have led to well failure, including the decisions to use a type of casing that could allow gas to flow up the annular space to the wellhead, to limit the number of spacers centering the casing despite objections by Halliburton, and to curtail the length of time that drilling fluids were circulated to clean gas out of the well. Neither BP’s presentation nor its letter contains any discussion of these issues.

This raises the possibility that BP’s internal investigation is not examining the consequences of BP’s own decisions and conduct.

The Committee’s investigation is examining all potential causes of the blowout, including those that are the responsibility of BP. To assist the Committee in this investigation, we ask that you provide the Committee with additional information about the issues raised by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Specifically, we request that you provide the Committee:

  1. All documents related to BP’s casing strategy for the Macondo well, including the decision to use a single casing line comprised of sections attached to one another from the sea floor to the oil reservoir;
  2. All documents related to BP’s decisions regarding the use and number of spacers centering the casing line prior to cementing; and
  3. All documents related to BP’s decision concerning how long to circulate drilling mud through the well on April 19, 2010, prior to cementing.

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.