BP’s Dudley defends company’s Macondo spill-response tactics

BP PLC’s Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley has denied that his company deliberately delayed capping of the Macondo well—which suffered a blowout in April 2010, resulting in a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico—saying that such suggestions defy logic and common sense.

Speaking with OGJ at a technology conference in Trinidad, Dudley said, “I have to say some of the statements today that BP lied about its activities to cap the well defy common sense. The company was doing everything it could to look at ways to cap the well as fast as possible. So I was a bit surprise at some of those comments.”

Safety Consultant Edward Ziegler told the US court in New Orleans on Oct. 1 that a blowout preventer (BOP) was available by mid-May and BP could have sealed its Macondo well within a month of it blowing out.

BP executive James Dupree told the court in May that the company could not use the new BOP because of engineering challenges including the difficulty of removing the top of the broken BOP on the seafloor. He added that the company was very concerned about the weight of an additional BOP doing further damage to the well.

Dudley said throughout the crisis, BP had done all it could to mitigate against the negative impact of the oil spill including spending a lot of money to restore the gulf and businesses impacted by the spill.

“I think we have made a tremendous commitment beginning in 2010 to restore the gulf, clean the beaches, and restore the business and economic life of the gulf and we have made huge amounts of commitments on that.” Dudley told OGJ.

He added that BP had made a very generous settlement and was less interested in putting money in pockets of plaintiffs’ attorneys rather than the people who were actually damaged economically in the spill.

Dudley said regardless of the findings of the court, his company was well provisioned to deal with it and he did not see the need to sell any further assets, especially its Trinidad assets, which now account for 17% of BP’s global production.

He said, “Over the last 2 years, BP has sold $38 billion of assets and put provisions on our balance sheet of over $40 billion and so I think we are provisioned for the future eventualities.”

BP could face up to $18 billion in fines depending on the outcome of the case that is proceeding in New Orleans.

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