Tuesday, 1 March 2011

BP Withheld Internal Estimates that Well Could Gush 2.5 Million Gallons Per Day

Obviously, BP doesn't know exactly how to handle a crisis the likes of which is unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. Even a multi-national juggernaut like BP is not equipped to deal with the growing ire of the entire United States of America - still the most powerful and influential nation on earth, even if no longer the most loved or respected. As a result of dealing with this unprecedented disaster, BP has revealed itself to be dis-organized and bumbling when it comes to dealing with PR and exactly what to say and how to say it.

Perhaps the most damning piece of information to surface was the revelation in newly released documents explaining that very soon after the oil rig exploded, BP made internal worst-case estimates of 2.5 million gallons per day leaking from from the well-head. Those numbers were never disseminated and instead BP floated estimates of 60,000 gallons per day for some time and allowed other early government estimates to become mainstream estimates.

Obviously, BP knew every piece of information about the well - the size of the pipes, the pressure of the oil that it had pumped from the well and so on and so forth. So when the well exploded, the company clearly would have very easy access to the numbers necessary to generate accurate estimates of the oil flow. But instead they failed to be forthright about the size of the spill, perhaps gambling that they could stop it before any accurate third-party estimates could be obtained.

Because of the live video feed and the fact that the well has been gushing unabated for nearly two full months, BP was exposed for withholding the key information about the size of the spill. Now everyone has that information, even though that knowledge alone probably doesn't mean much at this point. It simply means that BP knew from the beginning just how bad the spill could be, but they didn't have the integrity to be honest about it.