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BP Ignored Safety Modeling Software To Save Time

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the show-of-hands-who-is-surprised dept.

Earth 203

DMandPenfold writes "BP ignored the advice of safety modeling software in an attempt to save time before the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill, according to a presentation slide (PDF) prepared by US investigators. The slide in question briefly appeared on the Oil Spill Commission's website in error, but was quickly retracted. Advanced cement modeling software, provided by BP's cement contractor Halliburton, had highlighted serious stability concerns with the well."

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Seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357624)

Why don't I see any BP boycott campaigns anywhere?

Re:Seriously (5, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357648)

Because boycotting BP hurts people that weren't involved in any decision making and doesn't really hurt the ones responsible.

Re:Seriously (1)

s_p_oneil (795792) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357800)

The first part of that statement is true, but the second part is not. Of course it will hurt the ones involved in the decision making who were responsible. The execs at the top will start by losing revenue-based bonuses. I imagine many will be fired and replaced if profits turn into losses. They'll also have a hard time getting such a high-level job elsewhere if they were tied to this disaster. In addition, most of them are vested heavily in BP stocks and stock options, which will drop significantly in value. Many will be stuck in mansions that they can no longer afford and can't sell because they're underwater. The downside is that it will hurt a lot of lower-level employees a lot more because BP will be forced to lay off workers, but you can't say it wouldn't hurt the ones responsible.

Re:Seriously (2, Informative)

sirambrose (919153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358064)

Unfortunately, BP gas stations are mostly franchises. I believe that they pay an annual fee to use the brand name. BP still gets their money unless the gas station goes bankrupt. Because there isn't much excess refining capacity in the US, BP could still sell their gas to the other stations. A boycott would hurt BP's public image, but wouldn't cost them much money.

Re:Seriously (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358142)

If BP's public image becomes lower, if it makes clients flee instead of bringing them there, the franchise won't sell well, the price will have to go down and so will the revenues. How can a boycott not cause damages to BP ?

Re:Seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34358190)

Because, as the grandparent poster said, there is a shortage of refining capacity. Gasoline is fungible. So BP can sell their refined product to Valero, Marathon, or anyone else making up the slack for the boycott.

Re:Seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34358568)

That's why I think there should be a moratorium on BP or companies significantly owned by BP for new drilling, and a halt on extraction until the rigs are fully inspected.

Re:Seriously (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358536)

Because the franchises are selling everybody's gas, not just BP's. The price of wholesale will be unaffected, and that's what BP gets for its gas, no matter who buys it. If the price goes down it means the gas stations had to sell at a loss - they paid one price to BP and now have to sell for a lower price. BP has already received its money and is completely unaffected. If BP stations never bought a drop of BP gas again, BP still wouldn't lose a dime, because all the other non-BP stations would be buying it instead.

It basically all goes into the same pool*, and additives are only added just before local distribution. If BP stations go bust, Shell, Exxon, or any of the other stations will simply be selling slightly more BP gas. BP gets wholesale prices for every drop of their gas. The people left out in the cold are the station owners who paid for the gas but can't sell it.

The franchise revenues themselves are a very minor, added bonus for BP and losing them does not impact their budget all that much.

It's just like what happened with Exxon in Alaska after the their spill. Exxon basically just pulled the name off their office buildings and continued business as usual. They are not allowed to drill for a single drop of their own oil, yet they still own and sell more than 1/3 of Alaska's oil. The only difference is now nobody knows it's Exxon's oil in those tankers because now their name isn't on the buildings and ships any more (the buildings and ships haven't gone anywhere). Other companies drill and distribute their oil for them, and Exxon simply takes its (significant) cut.

I'll finish with this [franchisepublicity.com] . It pretty well sums up the problems with attempting to boycott BP gas.

*That's not really accurate, but it's a good enough way to look at it. The point is that if BP gas stations don't buy it at wholesale because they can't sell what they have, other stations will simply buy all the BP gas at wholesale and add their own additives. Demand for gas is huge, it costs more than milk per gallon for crying out loud. There is no difference between the raw products, and the distributors don't really give a rats ass where the gas came from (they prefer their own, because they pay less for it, but they can't supply demand on their own). BP's bottom line is practically unaffected by a BP boycott.

Re:Seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34358288)

Franchises can be changed. If people put pressure on BP and force their franchises to go to other companies it will hurt BP. If you use the argument that you cannot boycott a company because others might suffer then that is a huge argument against free markets. BP may be able to sell their fuels elsewhere without the franchises, but it does cut into their bottom line and their image.

Re:Seriously (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358128)

By fired you mean given millions of dollars and asked not to come back to work. That sounds like a real hardship.

Re:Seriously (1)

s_p_oneil (795792) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358346)

It's better than giving them millions of dollars in salary and annual bonuses and keeping them on.

Re:Seriously (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357856)

Because boycotting BP hurts people that weren't involved in any decision making

And it helps others. Unless you're driving out of town to buy gas, your money will still go to local businesses.

Re:they made their bed (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357882)

They choose to work for bastards, they get what they deserve.

Seriously, do we overlook what Nazis did in WWII just because they werent the ones doing the gassing?

Re:they made their bed (3, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358052)

Yes, the Nazis who didn't commit war crimes are generally not prosecuted.

Re:they made their bed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34358120)

And the ones who did commit these war crimes generally aren't (weren't) prosecuted either, only some notable higher-ups.

In the case of Rudolf Hess, he was found during the Nuremberg Trials to have not committed any war crime, nor crimes against humanity, and he was still sentenced to life in prison, in solitary confinement for his involvement.

Re:they made their bed (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358424)

And yet, the Nuremberg Trials considered four different kinds of crimes.

1. Participation in a common plan of conspiracy for the accomplishment of crimes agains peace.
2. Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace
3. War crimes
4. Crimes against Humanity.

Similarly, the Tokyo Trials grouped the charges into three classes
A Crimes against Peace.
B Crimes against the laws of war
C Crimes against Humanity.

Thus, if you are so disposed as to regard the waging of aggressive wars as an honorable pursuit, the phrase "Class A War Criminal" generally implies more than was meant by the original charges. However, such notorious inhumanities as the "Rape of Nanking", the "Comfort Women", the "Bataan Death March" and the actions of "Unit 731" (to name a few, at random), were made possible by the conspiracy to wage aggressive war.

Re:they made their bed (2, Interesting)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358254)

Your answer is overly simplistic and ignores history. If East Germany hadn't been set up as a Soviet puppet state, the allies might well have gone further, but there was a Cold War, and an rei-ndustrialized, reinvigorated West Germany was prioritized over imprisoning 90,000 Nazis and restricting the work of 1.7 million others. wikipedia's entry on Denazification [wikipedia.org]

Of course, the Nazi party was disbanded, and what assets it had were used for other purposes. Perhaps BP should suffer the same fate. Stockholders would lose money, of course, but their losses would be limited to what they put in. Officers could be prosecuted and fined, as they bear personal responsibility.

Re:Seriously (3, Insightful)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357892)

I'd say BP hurt it's employees. But the real reason there are no boycott campaigns is that people don't make big moral decisions when the SUV is nearing E. Some dont care, others probably think all oil companies are likely as bad, but I'd guess the majority just want a tank of gas.

Re:Seriously (4, Informative)

smpoole7 (1467717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358114)

Actually, FWIW, here in Alabama, a lot of people *have* been boycotting BP. A number of gas stations here in Birmingham have changed from BP to some other brand because their business dropped off precipitously after the spill. (Anecdotal evidence alert, no hard evidence, just what I've noticed while driving around.)

As for boycotting BP ... well, a lot of people figure the buck had to stop somewhere. To me, it's indisputable that BP made some terrible decisions. The fact that (sadly) they had already determined that the well wasn't economically viable, and BP was planning just to cap it and leave it for the time being, is irrelevant.

I'm a good free market conservative, but I do believe in responsible behavior on the part of those companies that enjoy the benefits of it. If someone were to open a large manufacturing plant in Central Alabama, we'd welcome the jobs . .. .. but we would NOT welcome them cutting corners and poisoning the streams, for example. Stereotypes aside, we ain't ENTIRELY stupid here. :)

Re:Seriously (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358432)

That's the sort of attitude the people running companies want you to buy into. Let's look at the facts:
1) No one forces anyone to work for BP

2) BP has already hurt a large number of people who had no part in the decision process

3) If BP had committed these acts, a boycott of BP would not be needed. It is BPs actions that is creating the situation. We are just taking a sane and sensible course of action.

4) Doing nothing just perpetuates a criminal enterprise

Doing nothing is sort of like not turning in a mobster because you are afraid of repercussions. As long as you are afraid the mobster wins and more innocent people are hurt. Standing by and letting the innocent suffer due to inaction is immoral.

As soon as you find a little courage the mobster loses. If you continue to buy into their propaganda nothing will change.

Re:Seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34358468)

That's the sort of attitude the people running companies want you to buy into. Let's look at the facts: 1) No one forces anyone to work for BP

2) BP has already hurt a large number of people who had no part in the decision process

3) If BP had committed these acts, a boycott of BP would not be needed. It is BPs actions that is creating the situation. We are just taking a sane and sensible course of action.

4) Doing nothing just perpetuates a criminal enterprise

Doing nothing is sort of like not turning in a mobster because you are afraid of repercussions. As long as you are afraid the mobster wins and more innocent people are hurt. Standing by and letting the innocent suffer due to inaction is immoral.

As soon as you find a little courage the mobster loses. If you continue to buy into their propaganda nothing will change.

Doesn't seem to be working in Mexico much...

Re:Seriously (1)

JavaBear (9872) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357658)

I guess BP are just too slick to handle, and they do have a pretty well oiled Lobby and PR machine.

But personally, I would not mind seeing BP taking a severe beating in the marketplace, as fines apparently have a hard time making the point.

Re:Seriously (3, Funny)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357686)

they do have a pretty well oiled Lobby and PR machine.

Almost as well oiled as the Mexican Gulf!

Re:Seriously (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357872)

So, when are you fucks going to realize that there are too many convenient "accidents" and instances of "negligence" and "carelessness"? The American People are so damned stupid because when they get played like a fiddle they deny that there is a fiddler. They will call you crazy and paranoid when you add 2 and 2 and come up with 4 even though they know something somewhere is not as it seems. Having no grasp of the subtle and no knowledge of what statecraft is and has always been, ever since the Romans discovered "bread and circus" or Hegel discovered "problem reaction solution" ... they won't believe the evident until it's absolutely undeniably proven and even then I wonder... Remember, your own President's staff said it best - you never let a crisis go to waste. If you can "overlook" a few things and have a crisis whenever you need one, well that's even "better".

This oil spill, gays in the military, flag burning, some girl getting kidnapped who is somehow more newsworthy than the thousands of people who get kidnapped every year, embryonic stem cells, and other non-issues all have one thing in common: they're complete non-issues that always come up whenever the American people are getting tired of the latest pointless war. It's all about control, folks ... control of your mind. Here, shut up and look at this, see isn't that shiny, isn't that controversial, argue about that for a while while we do whatever we want.

Re:Seriously (2)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357676)

Why don't I see any BP boycott campaigns anywhere?

Probably you just haven't looked. There has been a massive boycott here in Florida: one [baynews9.com] , two [baynews9.com] , three [baynews9.com] . BTW -- If you're going to boycott BP, you need to boycott all of BP's brands [alexanderhiggins.com] , too.

Re:Seriously (2, Insightful)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357898)

How does one boycott BP? Some markets have no alternatives. Me, I've never seen a BP-branded fueling station in my life, but I've probably burned lots of fuel that went through BP's hands. The oil marketplace has a gordian interchange of resources that defy any attempt of unravelling what came from where. If you really want to boycott BP oil,,you have to swear off oil entirely.

Re:Seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357992)

because you shouldn't have been buying their gas even before this happened

Easy peasy (0)

harris s newman (714436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357626)

Simply boycott BP. If enough people do it, they will be bought by a responsible company.

Re:Easy peasy (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357698)

Won't happen. People are so addicted to their cars that BP will suffer no problems at all from this.

Re:Easy peasy (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357756)

BP gas stations are independently owned and operated... and they don't necessarily sell BP gas. Furthermore, even if every BP station were to shut down tomorrow, BP would still be able to sell their gas to every other gas station, none of which are locked into buying their gas from a single provider.

In short, boycotting BP won't do anything but hurt locally owned gas stations that had nothing to do with the spill.

Re:Easy peasy (1)

index0 (1868500) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358228)

So those local gas stations with a BP logo don't pay any fees to the head company to use the name/brand?

Re:Easy peasy (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358792)

5% royalty fees on their profits. The stations typically only make about 5c per gallon (after credit card costs) on the gas, so say wholesale is $2.15 (the price last week), taxes are about 40c per gallon, which gives a final retail of about $2.60. Final price varies by location but this is average. So if a BP station is selling 100,000 gallons of gas a month (a little low, but nice and round), BP is pulling in $215,000 per month while the station owner is getting $5,000.

Best case scenario (assuming all gas stations are making $500k per year profit, which is not at all the case) if you shut down all BP franchise stores you've hurt BP's gasoline profits by about 1%.

They'd certainly notice, but the franchise money was gravy anyway. It was pure profit to begin with. They still get $2.15 for every gallon of gas they produce, and that is where the vast majority of their income comes from.

Re:Easy peasy (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358292)

BP gas stations are independently owned and operated... and they don't necessarily sell BP gas.

Then it should be relatively cheap for them to re-brand. Not free, but they made a mistake when choosing a brand to operate under, and a mistake costing just some money is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

Or if BP can tell them not to change brand, then they're not really independent, are they?

Re:Easy peasy (0, Troll)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358470)

So what's the point of the boycott? The station (not owned by BP) has to spend money to change their advertising, then they continue to buy just as much petrol from BP and BP gets just as much money as before.

Re:Easy peasy (3, Interesting)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357780)

Uh...typical ignorant response. You do know that BP doesn't actually make anything that you can buy? Unless you're in the business of buying supertanker loads, of course.

Re:Easy peasy (1)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357812)

I might not be int he market for buying anything directly from BP, but asking my local gas station where their gas came from and then boycotting the BP gas is a viable way to avoid BP gas. If the current gas in the tank is from BP, avoid that station. If it's not BP gas, "fill'er up".

It's not as if gas stations buying BP gas somehow takes away my ability to find out the source of the gas I'm trying to buy. And I've heard that margins for local gas stations are paper thin. I'm sure more than a few customers asking "is this BP gas? yes? ok, thanks. I'll be back when you have some non-BP gas" could result in the local gas stations not buying gas from BP anymore.

Re:Easy peasy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357940)

Do you really think the owner would tell you that, knowing that there's anger at BP at the moment?

They'd just name another company and none of their customers would be any the wiser.

Re:Easy peasy (2, Insightful)

int69h (60728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358012)

All of your local gas stations get their gas from the same place. It doesn't matter what brand the label on the pump says.

Re:Easy peasy (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358578)

The gasoline may come from the same small group of refineries (because environazi regulations has blocked new refineries for decades) but you don't think it matters if BP isn't the middle man jn the deal? Somebody earns profits from the distribution process. I'd just as soon it not be BP, not just because of the spill, but BP has a very long history of unethical business practices (google "castrol syntec" for good info on BP's legalizing fraud).

Re:Easy peasy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34358824)

Environmental regulations have very little to do with the fact that new refineries have not been built. Existing refineries have improved their efficiency and increased their capacity instead. I don't remember the details now but some years ago a new refinery was proposed in California (near Bakersfield I think) and the existing refineries basically said we'll make it impossible for you to profit if you build it so they gave up.

Re:Easy peasy (1)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358308)

That's not entirely true. You could avoid Castrol products, as they're owned by BP. Unfortunately I don't think their commercial sales are nearly as important as their industrial ones. Ah well.

Re:Easy peasy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34358420)

supertanker loads,

Sounds sexy: "Watch out babe, this one is a supertanker." "Oh yeah, right on your face."

Re:Easy peasy (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358556)

They don't make any products you can purchase? Really?

http://www.castrol.com/castrol/genericsection.do?categoryId=82915811&contentId=6006712 [castrol.com]

In order for any boycott to be effective you would have to boycott them for a full quarter - not do what some people did when they "bocotted" Mobil back in the day by delaying filling up by a few days.

Hell, I haven't knowingly purchased any BP products ever since the lawsuits redefined what was allowed to be called "synthetic motor oil" - their business practices have always been unethical. (I have filled up at Arco but I didn't know they were BP)

http://dodgedakotas.com/boards/gen/26587.html [dodgedakotas.com]
http://www.twoguysgarage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7284 [twoguysgarage.com]
http://www.rx8club.com/showthread.php?t=77015 [rx8club.com]
http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=193189 [bobistheoilguy.com]

There was one benefit to Castrol's winning that suit - it did force the price of true synthetics down quite a bit.

Re:Easy peasy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34358564)

Why is it that we are seeing these responses. If the company was worried about money why don't we just avoid the boycott of BP and buy more BP so they don't need such shortcuts.

Re:Easy peasy (2, Insightful)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357928)

A "responsible company"? In the oil business?

Re:Easy peasy (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358060)

"Simply boycott BP. If enough people do it, they will be bought by a responsible company."

In what fucking alternate universe does a company being sold mean that the buyer will be "responsible"???

Put down the glass pipe.

And the point of this is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357628)

All of this is not really relevant to the accident other than to indicate a culture as it wasn't the cement that failed, it was the blowback valve. That is like saying that because Ford installed faulty oil filters, they are responsible for the Firestone tires on their explorers.

Having said that however, this SHOULD be used as an example of a culture of stupidity within the company as it is BP's responsibility to ensure that all safety and engineering standards are followed.

Re:And the point of this is? (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357788)

Actually its more like saying that Ford should be responsible for the faulty oil filters when the oil filter pours oil out the seals. Just like saying BP should be held responsible when they install a blow out valve and it.. umm pours oil out its seals.

Re:And the point of this is? (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358612)

I have a nit to pick about that.

That is like saying that because Ford installed faulty oil filters, they are responsible for the Firestone tires on their explorers.

Ford recommended severely under-inflating the tires for ride comfort. Unless the Firestone tires prove defective when properly inflated, how can you blame Firestone for Ford's willful negligence?

Saying Firestone was at fault because the courts said so is like saying Castrol Syntec is actually synthetic oil not based on dino oil because the courts say Castrol/BP can call it synthetic. Hint: the courts can and often do fuck up and make the completely wrong decision. See also: OJ Simpson.

And this is a surprise? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357634)

Why was BP allowed to sleaze it's way out of full financial responsibility?

I wonder whose name shows up getting the most cash here [opensecrets.org] . (you might have to re-enter a capcha code for that link to work..)

Anyone care to guess if it involves "Hope and Change"?

Re:And this is a surprise? (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357660)

What? Are you implying that politicians let campaign donations color their decision making? Why I would never have dreamed of that happening!

Re:And this is a surprise? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357754)

Well, there was ONE who went around raising HOPE that things would CHANGE.

But he turned out to be a snake-oil salesman:

Doctors say Medicare cuts force painful decision about elderly patients [washingtonpost.com]

Want an appointment with kidney specialist Adam Weinstein of Easton, Md.? If you're a senior covered by Medicare, the wait is eight weeks.

How about a checkup from geriatric specialist Michael Trahos? Expect to see him every six month...

Obama's over-promising is insane. Obamacare is probably the worst because of the devastating impact it's going to have not just on the medical system in the US but its crushing cost at a time when the government doesn't have any excess money because it's burning cash like a billion drunken sailors. (If you think "free health care" is FREE, I've got a bridge or ten to sell you...)

But the BP spill demonstrated that Obama's supposed "competence" is a sham. He mishandled the BP spill worse than Bush mishandled Katrina, and Obama didn't even have the handicap of having to deal with root-cause-idiots like Ray "those flooded school buses couldn't have been used to evacuate the city" Nagin.

We have found out what Hillary meant with those campaign commercials about who you wanted answering the phone a 3 AM. We got the worst guy possible - someone who has never had to run anything before in his entire live.

Obama: the penultimate embodiment of the Peter Principle.

It's not a coincidence that both North Korea and Iran are pushing towards war on Obama's watch...

Re:And this is a surprise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357838)

Honestly, the only competent leader for the US at this point would have to be a dictator. The Office of the Presidency is just too weak.

Should Bureaucrats be fired? Yes.
Are they? Very rarely.

Should Corporate executives be punished? Yes.
Are they? Very rarely.

I'd rather follow one strong, honest dictator than any number of weak, crooked politicians.

Re:And this is a surprise? (4, Informative)

hrvatska (790627) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357986)

Outside of the $20 billion dollar escrow account that BP established after meeting with Obama, and the over $500 million that BP has so far paid for cleanup costs, what other aspects of financial responsibility in this incident did you have in mind? The federal government is in court trying to lift the normal $75 million statutory limit on fines for oil spills. The Obama administration is contending that the cap cap is inapplicable in this case. Obama's 2010 campaign received $71, 000 dollars from BP employees, 0.01% of the total contributions that the campaign received, I don't think his presidential campaign received any corporate PAC money from BP. Despite your sarcasm about hope and change, I'm not convinced that $71,000 in individual campaign contributions to a $710 million dollar campaign buys much influence post election.

Criminal (3, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357640)

I think some people need to spend time in jail if this is proven. A lot of time.

Re:Criminal (3, Insightful)

Mspangler (770054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358004)

11 counts of negligent homicide (or manslaughter in other jurisdictions) should be adequate cause for a long jail time.

The question is who is the corporate designated felon. I vote for all the C-level executives in charge at the time, but then I'm ex-Navy, so I have archaic notions about the chain of command.

Re:Criminal (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358032)

Yes! If it is true then I believe both companies are guilty of gross negligence and the key decision makers should be behind bars. If Haliburton was of the opinion it was not safe then surely it should not have proceeded simply because BP would be legally responsible for the decision. Knowingly following illigitamte orders should never be a valid defence.

Re:Criminal (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34358274)

I'd be curious to know how reliable this software is. In other words, was this software new relatively untested and highly-experiemental; or was it time-tested stuff that had proved it's worth. The article hint's at the former, but doesn't really say.

It's an important question, because on every dangerous job, there is always at least one person saying its too dangerous to proceed. If you always listen to these people then you'd never accomplish anything. The trick is to know when to stop listening and take a risk. So, just because some software model or some inspector says its too dangerous does not automatically mean you can't continue.

I'm not defending BP. I'm only asking questions.

Re:Criminal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34358492)

A review by Chevron determined the casing cent job was okay so BP's design was okay and did not cut corners, The blowout was caused by the plug at the bottom of the hole that was improper and Halliburton is responsible for that. BP's was negligent for not recognizing the bad plug. BUT the real criminals are the the people at Transocean that failed to properly install the blowout prevented. The leak was not from the well per se. it was form the blowout preventer - the last line defense for all wells drilled everywhere in the world. So you can blame anyone you want but the reality is that Transocean is to blame for the oil making it's way into the ocean.

Re:Criminal (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358800)

You do know that the law allows holding more than one entity responsible for damages and even finding more than one entity criminally negligent?

A Question of Scale (5, Insightful)

techsoldaten (309296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357662)

Quality concerns should never be ignored with projects of this scale. Information like this should result in a shutdown of the project until the issue is addressed.

If you are developing a web site, you can get away with defects in quality because of the nature of the web and precompiled code. To correct an issue, all you have to do is deploy code that corrects the problem. There is no impact outside the site itself. If you want to reduce the possibility of things like this happening, you introduce more advanced testing procedures, beta tests with limited numbers of users, and other methods to reduce the potential for a disruption in services.

If you are building an oil rig, the potential risk of disaster has an impact that goes far beyond the capital involved in building the rig itself, and being faithful to the results of quality assessments is essential to avoiding catastrophes like the spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Any action failing to meet high quality standards should be considered criminal, as the outcome will have a harm on people / environment / wildlife around the rig.

Reading this powerpoint just makes me angry. BP has been lobbying Congress for a while now to reduce potential penalties they may have to pay, and their marketing arm has been doing a lot of damage control in the public arena. It is very important to hold these people accountable for their actions, since this is the way these people do business.

Re:A Question of Scale (4, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357696)

Hey, it's penny pinchers: they will do anything to save a few millions, even if it ends up costing a few billions.

Re:A Question of Scale (2, Insightful)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358014)

Hey, reminds me of the general attitude towards saving electrical energy.

Re:A Question of Scale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34358320)

Sadly, this kind of ethic is taught at every business school in America.

For some reason, we like to furthur implement the foundations of corporate greed, above society writ large. It's as if economics is the only field immune to evolution. Or, we just prefer intended stagnation rather than actual natural progress.

Re:A Question of Scale (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358720)

Penny pinchers indeed!

Knowing the industry I can tell you few were surprised this accident happened to BP in the US.

Please remember this company is an amalgamation of the veritable cowboys of the old Amoco and the never before beaten penny pinchers of BP in the London City.

Combine this with a company like TransOcean that is (especially outside of the US) known for it's flexible spine and non-stick safety management and the picture is getting clear.
And don't forget Halliburton, a company with serious technical skills but so much political cloud they actually write the laws.

Re:A Question of Scale (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358750)

No, they're shareholder whores-- they'll do anything to present as rosy an earnings report to maximize short-term gains, even if it ends up costing billions for the company in the long haul. I'm sure BP's management all the way up to the directors have been this way for decades, all the while figuring they'd be relaxing in retirement in Aruba by the time something massively disastrous like an oil rig explosion hits. And even then, they figure that by the time the dust settles they can whittle down civil judgments in appeals court like Exxon Mobil did.

This is the corporate executive version of Russian roulette, really, except that instead of a gun, they're using an IED in a crowded place.

Re:A Question of Scale (2, Informative)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358068)

My understanding is that the modeling software was not of sufficient quality that it could be trusted.

I would like to know more about the way in which the model's prediction of failure was communicated to BP. It would be consistent with common practices in the industry for Haliburton to go on record with a negative report while dismissing its findings off the record and urging a go-ahead behind the scenes. It is more than possible-- it is highly likely-- that Haliburton brought forth this negative report solely for the purpose of diverting blame if something went wrong.

I note that Haliburton had no trouble at all in going ahead with its part of the project despite this negative report.

dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357666)

A dupe that links to the original slashdot post? Why, slashdot? Why?

This is seriousely not a suprise (4, Interesting)

xQuarkDS9x (646166) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357668)

This seriousely does not suprise me at all. In a recent issue of Popular Mechanics magazine (October 2010 issue) they had an excellent article on just how bad BP blew it in the gulf of mexico. Everything from turning off and disabling safety systems and alarms, to rushing the drilling process, using wrong materials, ignoring advice and warnings from others that they were going to fast and ignoring safety, and more.

TFS doesn't mention what's new (1)

lazynomer (1375283) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357682)

There's nothing in TFS (except the existance of that slide) that we didn't already know from the earlier /. story. As I understand it, earlier this month, the commission seemed not believe that BP et al. necessarily cut corners to save money. Now they seem to be more sure that risky decisions were made (mostly on shore) to save money. The slide was allegedly retracted for technical reasons, but should be part of the commission's final report.

A private company rushed in for profit (3, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357684)

and ignored any kind of safety precautions, even at the cost of an entire ecosystem .....

impossible. that cannot have happened.... because, uncle greenspan said that, corporations could regulate themselves. im agape with surprise.... surely, this must be a one-time incident ....

Re:A private company rushed in for profit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357880)

im agape with surprise

Or did you see goatse and now you're surprised with a gape?

Re:A private company rushed in for profit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34358202)

He saw a new goatse where someone is standing across the room tossing grapes down the hole. Reverse eating.

Re:A private company rushed in for profit (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357884)

The free market doesn't mean you're free to harm others without repercussions. This company caused great harm, and should thus be held accountable. If you think that government oversight would have helped, why do you think they couldn't be paid off (and weren't paid off in this very instance)? Bottom line, unless we hold our elected officials/judges accountable for applying the law, so that they hold those responsible accountable, nothing will be done to those responsible.

Re:A private company rushed in for profit (4, Insightful)

ultranova (717540) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357950)

The free market doesn't mean you're free to harm others without repercussions.

Yes, it does. From Wal-Mart killing off local businesses and then hiring the newly unemployed people for minimum wage which forces them to subsist on food stamps, to IBM selling counting mahcines to the Nazis so they could keep tally on the Holocaust, to building a pesticide plant in the middle of a city and letting it blow up due to negligence [wikipedia.org] , to robber barons treating their factory slaves so badly during the Industrial Revolution that it gave birth to Communism, "free market" has always meant that he who has the gold makes the rules and usually screws everyone else over to get more of it. And always, always do they get away with it.

But hey, Feudalism 2.0 is fun if you're part of the nobility, so I expect it to continue on its way.

Re:A private company rushed in for profit (0, Flamebait)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358140)

Well, what's wrong with Walmart or IBM? If someone really couldn't do better than a Walmart job, then they probably couldn't run a business either. And IBM is supposed to read the future and know that their counting machines would be used for evil purposes?

Finally, the Bhopal example is not free market. For example, Union Carbide had to set up a corporation that was 49.1% owned by Indian entities (25% ended up owned by the government of India) and run by Indian citizens. There's an interesting timeline [umass.edu] (found by googling) that describes not just the plant's problems, but also the market it operated in and regulatory changes over the years. The last item indicates that there were a number of serious regulatory hurdles (such as requiring virtually all of the staff be Indian citizens) that kept the plant from operating more professionally, which in itself might have prevented the accident.

But hey, Feudalism 2.0 is fun if you're part of the nobility, so I expect it to continue on its way.

And feudalism has never been free market.

Re:A private company rushed in for profit (4, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358264)

If someone really couldn't do better than a Walmart job, then they probably couldn't run a business either.

Many of these people *were* running their own business, until Walmart drove them out of business by selling at close to zero margin until the competition went under.

Re:A private company rushed in for profit (1, Interesting)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358440)

Your two biggest examples are terrible.

First, you should study history, because you are talking about things you obviously don't understand. Communism did not arise out of factory workers revolting, as Marx predicted. Factory workers fought for, and won, the health and safety protections they enjoy today, but went no further. Communism arose entirely out of agrarian societies. Russia, China, Vietnam, Cuba, Korea... none of these countries were industrialized when they adopted Communism. And famously Communist industrialization killed millions. Tens of millions. Possibly into the hundreds of millions. Capitalist robber barons looked like fucking Santa Claus, in comparison to Stalin and Mao. But yeah, the evils of free market industrialization are obvious when you compare North and South Korea today.

Second, calling Bhopal a "free market" disaster also shows an enormous ignorance of history. India was a very socialist country (it still is, to some extent), and Bhopal was 50% owned by the Indian government, and 50% controlled by UCIL, a UCC subsidiary, but not a directly controlled one. The disaster was ultimately triggered by human error, but the deeper cause was (a) UCIL was forced to replace the automated safety systems in the original design with manual ones, so that the plant would hire more local workers, and (b) UCIL was required to source many of the plant's components from Indian firms, and those parts were ultimately substandard and failed far before their design lifes. Does UCC bear some blame for Bhopal? Some. Does UCIL bear blame? Absolutely. But the Indian government deserves most of it. They applied the standard Indian socialist principle of "business' primary purpose it to provide jobs for locals," and in consequence forced a fundamentally unsafe situation.

Or you could wallow in ignorance and enjoy the feeling of self-righteousness you get when you hate on the "free market."

Re:A private company rushed in for profit (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358808)

Ah yes apply the law.

A problem is in the USofA the laws governing the oil industry are so very different to the laws in other major oil nations, I'm sure you'll be smart enough to figure out in what way they are different and how come :)

Re:A private company rushed in for profit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357906)

and ignored any kind of safety precautions, even at the cost of an entire ecosystem .....

impossible. that cannot have happened.... because, uncle greenspan said that, corporations could regulate themselves. im agape with surprise.... surely, this must be a one-time incident ....

You left out the part where BP used bribes^H^H^H^H^H^Hcampaign contributions to have the US government assume the financial risk of their actions.

What does one call an alliance between government and the rich designed to screw over every one else while distracting us with useless baubles like "free health care"?

Re:A private company rushed in for profit (3, Insightful)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358116)

What does one call an alliance between government and the rich designed to screw over every one else while distracting us with useless baubles like "free health care"?

Considering that business hate the health care bill because it now means that people won't be stuck at their job, unable to leave, because they'll lose their insurance, I'm not sure why you decided it was 'useless'.

Granted, it's a huge giveaway to one business, the health insurance industry(1), but it actually directly harms the creeping fascism (Which is the word you were looking for) we've been living under, simply because it decouples insurance and employment.

It's interesting how businesses generally didn't like the bill, except for a few high tech companies and whatnot, despite the fact that providing insurance for workers is becoming a huge cost of doing business, and the inability to compete with other countries is part of that. But they're rather have crippling costs if that means they have wage slaves who, if they leave, risk bankrupcy for any minor sickness, so cannot leave.

Lack of worker mobility has always been a goal of the 'free market'. In their ideal world, everyone would have one job choice and either work there or die. They're just better at hiding this than 100 years ago, where they'd have the police assault people for daring not to work.

1) It's going to be funny to see what happens when republicans, who want to 'repeal the bill', get into office. The health care bill consists of two parts...the wildly popular parts like disallowing pre-existing conditions, allowing everyone to buy insurance...and the corporate parts like requiring everyone to buy insurance.

If they repeal it all, or just the first part, they...take away insurance for kids with cancer. Yeah, that will play well. If they just repeal the later, health insurance companies go bankrupt. (Which is way too nice for them. Health insurance companies should exit history with their CEO's head on a pike as a warning.)

It's going to be interesting, I think I'll go out and help the tea party chant 'repeal the bill' for shits and giggles.

I wish the Democrats were smarter and willing to play chicken, because I feel the Republicans are going to 'try' to repeal the later, and 'fail' because of the Democrats. It would possibly be the funniest goddamn thing to happen in history if the Democrats said 'Hey, good idea', and started to pass it.

Drill baby, drill (-1, Flamebait)

amightywind (691887) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357694)

Mean old BP. We still need oil. Lots of it. Drill baby, drill! Don't let the socialists shut down US energy production.

Haliburton try to shift the blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357740)

Given that BP and Haliburton are in dispute about exactly who was responsible for the leak, I would say that it isn't surprising that Haliburton also 'leaked' the slide.

Seriously... (2, Funny)

anomnomnomymous (1321267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357762)

We're sorry. [youtube.com]

Some at BP needs to do Pound-me-in-the-ass prison (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357784)

Some at BP needs to do Pound-me-in-the-ass prison time.

Re:Some at BP needs to do Pound-me-in-the-ass pris (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357844)

I don't get it. Why would they pound YOU in the ass?

Re:Some at BP needs to do Pound-me-in-the-ass pris (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34357876)

Maybe he's a fan.

Re:Some at BP needs to do Pound-me-in-the-ass pris (3, Insightful)

Wocka_Wocka (1895714) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357894)

Some at BP needs to do Pound-me-in-the-ass prison time.

The fact that you and many others condone prison justice in the form of the very acts that cause people to go to prison is a brilliant example of how sad our society has become.

BSOD (0)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357850)

the software kept throwing blue sheens of death, then when someone said "Open source", they misunderstood.

Being reasonable (3, Insightful)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357914)

I'm sure that BP did cut a lot of corners that they really should not have, and that this lead to the Deepwater Horizon accident.

On the other hand however there will always be 'more that could have been done' in absolutely every situation, by anybody. There's a fine line between taking into account genuine concerns, and listening to every crank or someone with something to sell peddling expensive solutions to minor risks. Nothing is ever entirely risk-free, and there will ALWAYS be more tests, more safely equipment, more drills etc etc that could have been implemented.

In summary, there's a difference between saying, for example in the event of a car wreck "the driver shouldn't have been drinking" (a genuine concern) and "the driver should have taken weekly driving exams, fitted 2ft of foam rubber to the front of his car, and drove everywhere at 10mph max" (the 'more' that could doubtless have been done). I'm not saying that's the case here, but it's worth bearing in mind.

Re:Being reasonable (BP or TSA) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34358794)

There's a fine line between taking into account genuine concerns, and listening to every crank or someone with something to sell peddling expensive solutions to minor risks. Nothing is ever entirely risk-free, and there will ALWAYS be more tests[...]

Yeah, funny how many folks here are up in arms about TSA sticking their hands in people's pants to coerce them into using the x-ray machines because they feel the cost isn't worth the difference in safety but they want the BP decision makers roasted alive (or worse) for stopping short of deploying every last iota of safety protection.

Re:Being reasonable (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358812)

BP's reputation is one of cutting too many corners and not having the skill or acumen to back off critical cuts, and then blaming the victims or "bad luck". BP's corner cutting strategies start from the top, driven straight down, hard. BP has long been one of the larger players in influencing politicians and relevant government officials rather than consistent engineering and operations. Forget excellence.

Depends on whose ox is getting gored (3, Interesting)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 3 years ago | (#34357964)

I find it fascinating that people were willing to blame Halliburton (and Dick Cheney who hasn't been its CEO for 10 years) when they had computer modeling software for the cement that pointed out problems. I wonder if these same people are going to dismiss this fact as junk science while blindly accepting computer models of weather forecasts for the next 100 years all because they prefer one flavor of politics over another.

Re:Depends on whose ox is getting gored (1, Troll)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358100)

Well if you have a hate-on or love-on for whatever your handlers tell you, then yes. You'll blame Bush, Cheney, and openly state that global warming is all mans fault.

Re:Depends on whose ox is getting gored (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358248)

Or blame Obama, Pelosi, and state that man had nothing to do with global warming.

Cuts both ways.

Re:Depends on whose ox is getting gored (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34358360)

I find it fascinating that people are willing to be apologists for Halliburton when they stayed in the project when they had computer modeling software for the cement that pointed out problems.

The real world is complicated ... Did Halliburton not believe their own software? Did they just use it as a big CYA activity? Did some executive over-rule an engineer?

We don't know - but that won't stop you from playing silly us-vs-them games, will it?

One of The Strangest Aspect of this Story (3, Interesting)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358162)

Halliburton is everyone's favorite whipping boy and the media has tried to place some blame on them, but they're really coming off looking like some of the good guys in this story. From all the coverage, it sounds like the entire thing was the result of several very poor decisions made by the BP manager of the platform. The scary thing is, it really didn't sound like they were doing all that much differently than how all the other oil rigs are run. It kind of sounds to me like this hasn't happened before now (at least not at this scale) out of pure luck.

So what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34358340)

I find it interesting that some people take this act (ignoring software) to be more condemning than ignoring the common sense every one of us would have had if we had been out there. You don't need a computer to tell you that it's flat dumb to start pulling out your extra-dense drilling mud while you're still in the midst of drilling down through rock that's burping flammable gas that's only being held down by said mud.

To me this sounds something like "Pilot of doomed flight ignored weather report just before intentionally flying plane straight into mountain." These guys violated established procedures and safety protocol on purpose in a failed attempt to get to the next drilling site a little bit sooner. Duh they ignored the computer model, and common sense, and every other indication that what they were doing was a really bad idea.

Time for alternatives NOW! (1, Interesting)

plopez (54068) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358486)

The conversation will soon turn to alternative energy. I just say this documentary which I think will be interesting to others:

http://www.hulu.com/watch/158468/fuel?c=News-and-Information/Documentary-and-Biography [hulu.com]

Some tidbits:
1) Model Ts ran on ethanol well into prohibition. Ford had designed it so farmers could grow their own fuel. A major backer of prohibition was J. P. Morgan head of Standard Oil. Prohibition killed the alchohol powered model Ts.

2) The Deisel engine was designed to run on vegetable oil. Rudolf Deisel died under mysterious circumstances

3) The Carter Administration began an ambitious energy research program and reduced the US's dependecy on foreign oil by 25%

In addition I will say the hydrogen economy is a scam. Most hydrogen is produced using hydrocarbon fractionation.

BP's long record (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34358754)

BP has a long record of avarice compounding arrogance compounding ignorance, and setting up pawns like (sub)contractors for the fall.
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