Dan Hamburg: Pandora’s Box in the Gulf — Does Hope Remain?



1.  Why was BP allowed to drill in this location?  Both the MMS and BP geologists cautioned against drilling in the location of the Deepwater Horizon due to evidence of a highly volatile methane bubble beneath the seabed.  They warned that if this bubble was disturbed and exploded, it could cause a 200 foot tsunami that would virtually wipe out six Gulf states!  In spite of all this, MMS waived environmental impact studies for the rig and well.

2. Why aren’t all oil companies exploiting the land and seas of the United States, required to drill relief wells and to have equipment at the ready to deal with accidents?

3.  Why aren’t the perpetrators of this disaster being charged for negligence, manslaughter, or worse?  Whistleblowers pointed out before the explosion that the last several hundred feet of the well borehole lacked protective cement casing, a dangerous situation that increased the chances for an explosive event to occur.  Just five hours before the rig went up in flames, an expert who’d worked with the US Army extinguishing oil fires in Iraq was flown to the rig for consultation.  He informed BP that if they continued to pump saltwater into the hole it would blow.  He then demanded immediate evacuation for himself and his men.  The Transocean Corporation, whose blowout preventer failed to operate on April 20, advised BP to stop drilling after receiving negative pressure test results.  Despite these warnings BP did nothing, allowing eleven men to die, and inflicting incalculable damage on the lives of Gulf coast residents, the environment and economy that will take decades, if not centuries to recover.

4.  Is it just coincidence that BP CEO Tony Hayward unloaded a third of his personal holdings in BP just a month before the blowout?  Did Hayward know that the Deepwater Horizon well was a disaster waiting to happen and figure he would at least save a few million pounds if the worst happened?

5.  Did someone tip off Goldman Sachs?  The brokerage firm that’s faced scrutiny from regulators in the past year over the shorting of mortgage related securities seems to have had very good timing when it came to dumping BP stock.  According to regulatory filings, Goldman sold 4,680, 822 shares of BP, 44% of its holdings, in the first quarter of 2010.  Goldman’s sales were the largest of any firm during that time and saved the company approximately $96 million.

6.  Why did Halliburton Corporation buy the world’s largest oil disaster service company, Boots & Coots, just two weeks before the Deepwater Horizon exploded?

7.  Who advised Vanguard Corporation, the investment firm in which Michelle and Barack Obama’s personal wealth is held, sell off 1.5 million shares of BP stock in the weeks before the disaster?  Another coincidence?

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