BP CEO Tony Hayward is testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation. The meeting is chaired by Bart Stupak (D-MI). It is expected that the meeting will be interrupted throughout the morning for a series of House votes. You can watch the testimony live on CSPAN 3. You can find part one of the liveblog here and part two here.
2:19 – (Notice who is not in the committee room anymore. Joe Barton, they man who apologized to Hayward.)
2:21 – Ed Markey (D-MA) provides evidence of oil plumes and asks Hayward if he is willing to admit they exist. Hayward says there is areas where some oil in water columns, some of those areas from this spill and some from oil from other sources.
Markey ask Hayward if he would release the chemical contents of the drilling mud. Hayward promised to.
2:26 – Phil Gingrey (R-GA) points out that other oil companies having said they would not have drilled the well in this method. If he did that as a doctor he would probably get in real trouble.
2:31 – Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) OSHA recently said BP has a systemic problem. It does not sound like the actions of a company committed to safety like Hayward keeps claiming.
Braley asks if he thinks BP was “shakendown” by the White House like Barton claimed. Hayward says they worked to find the best resolution and the escrow account is not a slush fund.”
2:38 – Diana Degette (D-CO) ask if Hayward wants his technical advisor swore in to answer question because he has had trouble answering the committee’s technical questions. Hayward says it depends.
Degette references an internal BP document that says simulations show the well design would possibly not produce a good cement job. Hayward says he did not see this before the disaster and that he did not see any of the fairly damning internal documents about the problem with the well before the disaster.
“I can’t answer until we complete our investigation” is Hayward mantra for the day and his go to response for all tough questions about whether BP made serious mistakes.
2:48 – Mike Doyle (D-PA) all these major decisions seem to have been made at lower levels. Hayward says he doesn’t know who made these decisions like using a straight line. Doyle thinks it is pretty amazing he came to this meeting not know who made these decisions.
Doyle wants to know why you won’t drill relief wells at the same time you are drilling the main well? (great question and the time of regulation that should have been in place.) Hayward response simply that we will need to look at all options moving forward.
2:55- Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) takes about how the well works were basically held separated for hours until they signed a waiver. Hayward says that was not BP’s action.
2:59 – Mike Ross (D-AR) it seems to be that you have not been honest with the American people and you are trying to hide something.
Hayward says that they will shut down the relief wells as soon as the spill is shutdown. They will not go into production to make a profit.
3:05 – Donna Christensen (D-Virgin Islands) asks if the escrow account will be used to fund potential health problems and Hayward said yes.
3:13 – Joe Barton is back. (he seems noticeably less happy and more subdued than this morning.)
Barton asks if the relief wells are going to be drilled with the same procedure as the original well. Hayward notes they service a different function but that they are introducing things they learn from their investigation.
3:20 – Betty Sutton (D-Ohio): It seems to be a real disconnect. This was a tragic failure. The companies concern seem to be the bottom line.
3:25 – I’ve been informed that Joe Barton did a full walk back on his apology to Hayward.
3:30 – Questions from the subcommittee are over but they are opening it to questions from the full committee.
3:33 – Cliff Stearns (R-FL) All your peers pointed out your reckless behavior. Hayward again says he was not informed about warnings about possible gas build up from Haliburton before the disaster. (It seems the same set of question have basically be asked in a dozen of ways by half the members of Congress.)
He gets Hayward to say that he has seen no evidence of reckless behavior. Stearns ask if anyone has been fired because of this disaster. Hayward: no one has been fired.
3:44 – Steve Scalise (R-LA) is holding up an oiled pelican and says he will keep it on his desk until this well is capped. Scalise ask who is in charge. Hayward says it is the federal government.
Our local leaders are getting run around in circles. Scalise is very upset about the lack of action of the barrier island plan. Scalise has a database of ideas that he is giving to Hayward.
3:57 – Charles Gonzalez (D-TX) asks if Hayward agrees with statements from other oil executive that they drill differently than BP. Hayward says he does not think there is a substantial difference compare to how BP drills.
Hayward: We need a fundamental redesign of how we build blow out preventer.
4:09 – Jay Inslee (D-WA) points out that BP spend only $10 million on researching safer drilling technology and Hayward claimed his compensation last year was $6 million.
4:20 – Kathy Castor (D-FL) makes the case that there have been on average of three well blowouts a year in American offshore drilling.
4:35 – Joe Barton (R-TX) ask how much oil did BP think they were going to find in this well. Hayward said 50 million barrels. Barton is pointing out that with this flow rate of the spill the well should be empty soon.
4:38 – Hayward despite the failure of the blowout preventer that they should still view blowout preventers as the ultimate failsafe mechanism. Hayward keeps saying it is the ultimate failsafe mechanism. (Hayward doesn’t seem to understand the definition of “ultimate failsafe” if it can fail in an unsafe manner.) Stupak is just hammering on the modifications BP made to the well’s blowout preventer.
4:53 – Hayward informs Markey that the relief well would permanently end the like very soon after completely in August.
Markey asks if it is the companies policy to fire people who raise safety issues. Hayward said it is not but Markey brings up the case of an individual who seems to have had that happen.
5:20 – Hayward says it is not possible to call a spill response effective if it reaches the shore. (Interesting the focus on shore as the top metric.)
5:30 – The hearing has been called to an end.