BP Threatens Congress: No Money for Gulf Disaster if We Can’t Drill
September 4, 2010
(ChattahBox Business News)—The London-based BP oil company appears to be taking lessons from Tony Soprano. Or maybe the Godfather films are more to its liking. Will members of Congress soon find a bloody horse head in their beds, accompanied with a very polite note? BP issued an ultimatum to Congress, to either back off from legislation banning the company from drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, or Deepwater Horizon disaster funding would cease. David Nagel, BP’s executive vice president for BP America, very politely said if the company can’t continue with its operations in the United States, it would be “harder for us to fund things.”
BP is incensed over an amendment to an oil drilling bill, sponsored by Rep. George Miller (D-CA) that would ban companies from operating on the Outer Continental Shelf having poor safety records. Specifically, firms that have more than 10 fatalities and have paid fines of $10 million or more, would not receive permits.
BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster left 11 workers dead and caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history, leaving a wide swath of economic and environmental destruction in Gulf Coast communities. BP’s dismal safety record would fall within Miller amendment. And that’s exactly what Miller intended.
The New York Times spoke to Miller’s chief of staff:
“The risk of having a dangerous company like BP develop new resources in the gulf is too great,” said Daniel Weiss, Mr. Miller’s chief of staff. “Year after year after year, no matter how many incidents they’re involved in, no matter how many fines they’ve had to pay, they never changed their behavior. BP has no one to blame but themselves.” [..]
Mr. Weiss dismissed BP’s warning that it might not be able to meet its financial obligations. “BP has substantial assets, whether they develop them or sell them,” he said. “If BP needs to sell assets to meet its financial obligations, that’s a decision they have to make.”
BP stands to lose nearly $7 billion annually, if its banned from drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
BP spokesman Andrew Gowers, also issued veiled threats about meeting its obligations to victims of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
He added, “I am not going to make a direct linkage to the $20 billion, but our ability to fund these assets and the cash coming from these assets that are securing these funds would be lost” if the House bill were enacted by Congress.
See? Gowers is NOT issuing an ultimatum to Congress to torpedo the Miller amendment, or forget about the $20 billion. He’s just saying.
BP also released a statement this week, saying the costs associated with the Gulf oil disaster had already reached $8 billion.
Additionally, details of BP’s internal probe into the disaster, acknowledged that its own managers are at least partly responsible for a number of faulty decisions that led to the Deepwater Explosion and blowout of its underwater well in April.