BP executive testifies about oil well blowout
By The Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, 8:54 p.m.
NEW ORLEANS — A high-ranking BP executive testified on Tuesday that the London-based oil giant and its contractors share the responsibility for preventing blowouts such as the one that killed 11 workers and spawned the nation's worst offshore oil spill in 2010.
Lamar McKay, who was president of BP America at the time of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, is the first BP executive to testify at a federal trial designed to identify the causes of BP's Macondo well blowout and assign percentages of blame to the companies involved.
Rig owner Transocean and cement contractor Halliburton also are defendants at the trial, which began Monday.
A plaintiffs' attorney pressed McKay to agree with him that BP bore ultimate responsibility for the blowout, but McKay insisted that managing the hazards of deepwater drilling is a “team effort.”
“I think that's a shared responsibility, to manage the safety and the risk,” said McKay, now chief executive of BP's Upstream unit. “Sometimes contractors manage that risk. Sometimes we do. Most of the time, it's a team effort.”
McKay also defended the company's internal probe of the spill, which outlined a series of mistakes by rig workers and faulted decisions by other companies but didn't assign any blame to BP's upper-level management.
“I think it was a substantial investigation,” McKay said.
McKay said the rig explosion and spill in the Gulf of Mexico was a “tragic accident” resulting from a “risk that was identified.”
This isn't the first time McKay has testified under oath about the spill. He appeared before Congress less than a month after the deadly rig explosion.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier is hearing the case without a jury. Barring a settlement, Barbier will decide how much more money BP and other companies owe for their roles in the disaster.
McKay's testimony followed that of an expert witness for people and businesses suing the company. University of California-Berkeley engineering professor Robert Bea testified that BP PLC didn't implement a 2-year-old safety management program on the rig that exploded in the Gulf on April 20, 2010.
“It's a classic failure of management and leadership in BP,” said Bea, a former BP consultant who also investigated the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill and New Orleans levee breaches after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
BP has said its “Operating Management System” was designed to drive a rigorous and systematic approach to safety and risk management.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Obama gets in some golf on family trip to Key Largo
- Powerful quake shakes N. California; no injuries
- Scientists: Test West Coast for Fukushima radiation
- Climate contraptions get real consideration
- Expats renounce citizenship over U.S. tax hassles
- Kansas public school funding unconstitutional
- Climate contraptions get real consideration
- Deputy accused of illegal stops
- Americans riding public transit in record numbers
- Officer among 3 men killed in Ohio club shooting
- 273 cited in Ohio in year for texting, driving