Why BP’s really glad this week is over
1. Saturday, May 29: The Kill is gone: After a week of raising hopes that maybe, just maybe, it had found a way to plug the hole, BP calls off its top kill/junk shot gambit. At first, the process of shooting “mud” and pieces of golf balls, tires, and perhaps kitchen sinks, seems to the working. But in the end, engineers fear that blasting all that junk into the pipes at such high pressure is raising the risk of an even more catastrophic blowout.
2. Sunday, May 30: Et tu, Browner? Carol Browner, the president’s top advisor on the environment and climate change, tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Americans should be prepared to see BP’s oil gush uncontrolled into the Gulf until at least August. She also points out that it’s in BP’s financial interest to underestimate the volume of oil pouring into the sea because fines against it will be based on the size of the spill.
3. Sunday, May 30: Plug that damn (pie) hole!: While in the midst of an apology to Gulf Coast residents, BP’s blunder-prone CEO Tony Hayward manages to look like an insensitive twit with the throwaway line: “There’s no one who wants this over more than I do. I would like my life back.” This latest misspeak immediately joins the gulf “is a very big ocean,” “the environmental impact … is likely to be very modest,” and “the volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it (the gulf) is tiny” in the canon of gaffes spewing from Hayward’s pie hole.
4. Monday, May 31: But does bullshit float? Hayward strikes again insisting BP has “no evidence” of the massive underwater plumes of oil reported by several teams of scientists. Citing the principle of specific gravity, the former geologist insists that all the oil will float to the surface.
5. Tuesday, June 1: Aghast from the past: BP announces that it has hired Ann Womack-Kolton to oversee its media relations in the U.S. The very same Ann Womack-Kolton who as Dick Cheney’s spokesperson once defended the former veep’s secret energy taskforce. Says one Democratic staffer on Capitol Hill: “It defies belief that BP could be this inept.”
6. Tuesday, June 1: Hate when that happens: In response to the weekend Top Kill failure, along with the news that BP’s spill bill is approaching $1 billion, shares of the company’s stock plummet 13 percent. It’s the biggest one-day plunge in BP shares in 18 years and slashes its market value by more than $17.5 billion.
7. Tuesday, June 1: You have the right to remain clueless: After meeting with attorneys general from Gulf coast states, Attorney General Eric Holder says the Justice Department has launched a criminal and civil investigation into the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Holder promises “to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law,” and Administration sources say they are reviewing potential violations of the Clean Water Act, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
8. Wednesday, June 2: Rock, oil, scissors: The latest attempt by BP to take care of business goes awry when its special diamond-tipped saw gets stuck while cutting through the well’s damaged riser pipe. Engineers must rely instead on a pair of giant, though less precise shears to snip the pipe in preparation for deploying yet another containment dome.
9. Wednesday, June 2: You’re not in Pandora any more: News breaks that none other than “Titanic” and “Avatar” director James Cameron, who’s also something of an expert on deepwater robot subs, was invited to a meeting with BP engineers. This prompts Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert to suggest that “soon they’ll be failing in 3-D.” In the end BP tells Cameron thanks, but no thanks, and Cameron tells a Wall Street Journal conference in L.A. that “those morons don’t know what they’re doing.”
10. Thursday, June 3: Can Tony get his groove back? BP’s Hayward tells a Financial Times interviewer that his company didn’t have “all the tools you would want in your toolkit” when dealing with a deepwater oil spill. (You think?) Pouncing on Hayward’s admission Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), BP’s harshest critic in Congress, says he’ll introduce legislation that would force companies drilling in the Gulf to pay royalties that can be used to help cover the costs of oil spill research. Plus, two major agencies, Moody’s and Fitch, downgrade BP’s credit worthiness. Oh, yes, and British newspapers are full of speculation that the ice is cracking fast under Talky Tony and that he’ll be gone from BP by the end of the year.