Thursday May 31, 201211:13 PM GMT
BP oil spill emails reveal high-level discord over flow estimates
Thu May 31, 2012 11:12PM
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A BP engineering executive warned senior BP management early on in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill that internal models did not support estimates of the size of the undersea leak being provided to government officials and the public, according to company emails.

 

On May 15, 2010, Mike Mason, a vice president in BP's exploration and production technology division, wrote to Andy Inglis, chief executive of global exploration and production, warning him that the company's "data and knowledge" did not support the 5,000 barrel per day figure touted by executives as their best estimate of the size of the leak.

 

"We should be very cautious standing behind a 5,000 [barrel per day] figure as our modeling shows that this well could be making anything up to 100,000 [barrels per day]," Mason wrote in one of the emails, obtained by The Huffington Post.

 

The next day, Jack Lynch, BP's general counsel in the U.S., forwarded Mason's message to two BP executives leading the company's oil spill response: Doug Suttles, chief operating officer for BP's global exploration and production business, and David Rainey, a former BP vice president in charge of exploration in the Gulf of Mexico.

 

The emails suggest an internal struggle at the highest levels of BP over the issue of the well's flow rate, which became intensely controversial during the course of the spill. At the outset of the disaster, BP estimated the flow at just 1,000 barrels per day. By the end of the three-month spill, a government-led scientific team estimated that the well released an average of more than 50,000 barrels per day. Huffington Post

 

FACTS & FIGURES

 

British energy company BP needs to answer questions regarding allegations it misled government officials in the 2010 oil spill, a U.S. lawmaker said. UPI

 

A report by The Wall Street Journal states the U.S. Department of Justice is looking into whether BP misled officials regarding the amount of oil leaking from its failed Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. UPI

 

U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., ranking member of the Natural Resources Committee, accused BP of "hiding the trust size of the spill." bayoubuzz.com

 

A timeline provided by Markey states BP reported April 24, 2010, two days after the disaster that around 1,000 barrels of oil per day was leaking from the well. One month later, internal documents provided by BP to Markey confirmed the rate was closer to 60,000 bpd. bayoubuzz.com

 

In April, former BP engineer Kurt Mix was accused by the FBI of deleting electronic records related to the amount of oil was leaking from the Macondo well under the Deepwater Horizon rig after it exploded in April 2010. justice.gov

 

SM/SM

 

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