BP’s history reveals chronic problems

Orca Inlet from the Coast Guard dock, Cordova,...

Image by B Mully via Flickr

ProPublica has done some digging into BP’s past accident history and the results are both a report and TV special on the findings. See Furious Growth and Cost Cuts Led To BP Accidents Past and Present. A ProPublica and PBS FRONTLINE investigation; October 27. “The Spill,” a PBS FRONTLINE documentary,drawn from the reporting, airs tonight.

Jeanne Pascal turned on her TV April 21 to see a towering spindle of black smoke slithering into the sky from an oil platform on the oceanic expanse of the Gulf of Mexico. For hours she sat, transfixed on an overstuffed couch in her Seattle home, her feelings shifting from shock to anger.

Pascal, a career Environmental Protection Agency attorney only seven weeks into her retirement, knew as much as anyone in the federal government about BP, the company that owned the well. She understood in an instant what it would take others months to grasp: In BP’s 15-year quest to compete with the world’s biggest oil companies, its managers had become deaf to risk and systematically gambled with safety at hundreds of facilities and with thousands of employees’ lives.

“God, they just don’t learn,” she remembers thinking.


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