Same Deepwater as you

BP have been subject to scorn and rage over the past few weeks, and rightly so. Of course, inane comments attributed to BP CEO, Tony Hayward, have not helped.

  • “The environmental impact of this disaster is likely to be very, very modest.” Unless you live in Louisiana or Florida, that is.
  • “I want my life back.” So do the families of the eleven people who died on the Deepwater Horizon rig.
  • “The Gulf is a big ocean.” A big ocean with a big coastline that was not designed to have millions of barrels of oil a day pumped into it.

Have you seen this man?

Have you seen this man?

Everyone in America, it seems, hates BP and insists on spelling out that it means “BRITISH petroleum”. I’m Irish, so I don’t care what the Americans think of the British, but it seems that from the fisherman all the way up to President Obama, they all want to point the finger across the Atlantic.

In RACI terms, BP is certainly “Accountable”. After all, the drilling being carried out by the Deepwater Horizon was being done on BP’s behalf and BP own the oil.

But hang on, BP itself wasn’t doing the drilling, nor did it own the equipment that failed. So who is actually “Responsible”?

Well, that would be a company called Transocean. This company was responsible for the drilling. It was Transocean’s rig that went on fire. The blow-out preventer (BOP), designed to cap the well in the event of disaster, belonged to Transocean. That would be the BOP that failed.

Yet have you seen Transocean CEO, Steven L. Newman, in the news? I haven’t. Then again, I imagine he does not want his family to receive death threats.

Indeed, on the Transocean website, the Deepwater Horizon disaster has not featured on the news page since 26th April. What is more, the profile of the Deepwater Horizon rig speaks in the present tense, as if the rig were still in operation.

I thought I would familiarise you with some titbits of information that are current on the Transocean website at the time of posting:

  • “Our safety vision is: Our operations will be conducted in an incident-free workplace – all the time, everywhere” (source). Apparently not.
  • “Safety: Personal safety and employee health is our greatest responsibility, followed by the protection of our environment and company property” (source). Erm…
  • “Transocean works side by side with clients, host governments, regulators, vendors, scientists and the public on environmental initiatives” (source). That would explain Transocean’s high media profile over the last couple of months.
  • “Our use of the most up-to-date systems and procedures will ensure environmental protection and continued good stewardship” (source). That word “ensure” – I do not think it means what you think it means.
  • “At Transocean… we are never out of our depth” (source). Seriously, chaps, this is getting embarrassing. At least update your website so it doesn’t look like you think you live on a different planet to the rest of us!

According to a report in The Telegraph, Transocean has tried to use a 19th century law to limit its economic liability, whereas BP have said they will not seek to cap its liability.

Although founded in the USA, Transocean is now registered in Switzerland, so the USA cannot even say that Transocean is contributing to the clean-up through its payment of corporation taxes.

Transocean. Where are you?

1 comment to Same Deepwater as you

  • Visitor

    Hello Declan,

    I haven’t been following the oil spill in as much detail as you, but I did come across this article which has some more background/info on Obama and the spill issue – here is an extract:
    In April 2009, the Obama administration granted BP, a big supporter of Obama, a waiver of environmental regulations. But after the oil spill, it blocked Louisiana from protecting its coastline against the oil spill by delaying rather than expediting regulatory approval of essential protective measures. It has also chosen not to use what has been described as “the most effective method” of fighting the spill, a method successfully used in other oil spills. Democratic strategist James Carville called Obama’s handling of the oil spill “lackadaisical” and “unbelievable” in its “stupidity.”

    The whole article is here – with various links – if you want to follow it up:

    Hmm, interesting website comments, especially the “out of our depth” one! Do these people not review their site for Punning Potential…?

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>