Monday 20 November 2017

US outrage as oil chief goes sailing in crisis

Anger grows as spill estimate raised to 100,000 barrels a day

Oil is burned off the surface of the water near the source of the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico
Oil is burned off the surface of the water near the source of the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico

John Bingham in Washington

THE US Government revealed last night that 100,000 barrels of oil a day are now gushing into the Gulf from the BP blowout -- original estimates had put the total at 60,000.

The announcement will add even more anger to the already highly charged atmosphere on Capitol Hill over the oil giant's handling of the catastrophe.

As the mood darkens and threatens to sour Anglo-US relations, it emerged last night that Tony Hayward, the beleaguered chief executive of BP, will lecture the leaders of some of the world's biggest oil companies this week on the need to live up to their "global responsibilities".

In an address to energy executives in London he is also expected to warn the disaster could be repeated unless lessons are learned.

It comes after a weekend in which he was derided by the White House for going to a yacht race off the Isle of Wight at a time when fishing boats in the Gulf have been unable to put to sea.

BP described his attendance at the JP Morgan Round the Island Race on Saturday as a rare moment of private time with his son after weeks of working "flat out" to deal with the crisis.

But President Barack Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said Mr Hayward had committed yet another in a "long line of PR gaffes".

The comments followed a marathon grilling by members of the US Congress in which he was accused of having a "cavalier attitude" to risk and presiding over a "systemic safety problem".

In a keynote address to the World National Oil Companies Congress tomorrow, he will attempt to defend BP's handling of the disaster.

Mr Hayward has been characterised in the media as "the most hated and clueless man in America".

He is expected to warn that the industry as a whole failed to recognise the dangers involved in deep-water drilling including an explosion on the sea bed.

Yesterday David Miliband, the former foreign secretary, defended Mr Hayward over the yacht race but stopped short of criticising the White House. "Tony Hayward is accountable for the actions of the company," he said. "Does that mean he's not allowed to have a day with his son? No.

"Does it mean that he does have to lead the company to deal with this fundamental issue that threatens the whole future of the economy? Yes, it does." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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