It was only a matter of time. BP has stoically taken the brunt of criticism for the massive oil spill in the Gulf Coast that has more than four million gallons of oil ruining the place.
BP CEO Tony Hayward has made the media rounds on bended knee, assuring all the British giant would make good on all "legitimate demands." It's almost at the point at which one would expect Tony to be applying Dawn to a oil-slicked sea bird. [Hat's off to Procter and Gamble's Dawn for its exquisite timing in breaking a new campaign for its wildlife protection work.] Phase one of BP's Operation Reputation Recovery is not kaput.
BP turned the tables today during the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee hearing, lashing out at its partners in environmental destruction, Transocean and Halliburton.
BP America CEO Lamar McKay lashed out at Transocean, owner of the rig Deepwater Horizon, which is living up to name these days resting in the deep water of the Gulf. McKay trashed Transocean for a "blowout preventer" that didn’t work, causing the explosion that took 11 lives.
Transocean CEO Steve Newman would have none of that, pointing out the BP owns the well and directed overall drilling strategy.
Halliburton, which had the job of providing a cement seal, deflected criticism from Newman when he charged that Dick Cheney's old company had the final responsibility to make sure everything was secured with a seal. As subcontractor, Halliburton said it followed BP's playbook.
Back to square one.
Tragically, there is ample blame to go around. It's a plan to cap the well that is in short supply.
The most sensible words today flowed from the Pew Environment Group, which called for a halt in new oil drilling until stronger safety and environmental standards are in place. Sorry, Barack. PEG notes that "over the past several weeks, BP has deployed a variety of methods to stop this spill but so far, nothing has worked."
If the world’s No. 3 energy can't get it right, what hope is there for smaller energy companies?
The Pew Charitable Trusts unit notes that only 14 percent of the 11 million gallons spilled by the Exxon Valdez was recovered. How much of the Gulf oil will be recovered? Twenty-five percent?
Transocean has established a condolence site to remember the victims of the rig explosion and to donate to the families. Tighter industry-wide safety standards would be the ultimate way to honor the memory of those men.
A three-way catfight between BP, Transocean and Halliburton over safety responsibilities belittles them and all offshore rig workers.