BP Lies 22

For anybody inclined to be sympathetic to BP over the Gulf oil link, note that its latest capping effort is capturing about 10,000 barrels of oil a day, estimated to be about half of what is leaking.


But note that for months, BP claimed the total leak was only 5,000 barrels a day and roundly abused the very many experts who suggested otherwise – while rebutting any independent monitoring.


So what we now know is that total leakage is about four times what BP were claiming for 90% of the period covered by the disaster so far. Now, either BP don’t know much about oil wells, or they were deliberately lying about the extent of the disaster.

Oil is of course a perfectly natural substance which on occasion gets into the sea through seismic events, erosion or other natural cause. Chemical dispersants – most of which are varieties of detergent – are not natural substances at all. I am sceptical whether spraying the seas with chemical dispersants does not make the situation worse.

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22 thoughts on “BP Lies

  • Anonymous

    Yeah and they have been nicely buying up google and yahoo search terms so out of the majority of queries on those engines their results come out on top….nice PR

  • Clark

    I’ve read that the reservoir of oil involved is about 100 million ‘barrels’ (stupid unit) – that’s about five days supply to the US.

  • Brad Johnson

    This is *not* estimated to be half the oil that is leaking. The 12K-20K bbl/day estimate was a *lower bound estimate* — before they cut the riser pipe and most likely increased the flow rate.

    Just look at the spill cam — it’s obvious half the oil is not being captured. In fact, it’s quite possible *more* oil is flowing into the Gulf than before.

    Hayward *did not say* half the oil is being captured. That is a *false inference*.

  • Redders

    Although I have a concern over the ecological disaster occurring here I’m more incensed by the attitude of the US Government and the public. Whilst everything was going well they were happy sucking up all the oil BP could supply but the minute anything happens it’s all BP’s fault to the extent that BP are having to shell out millions in payment to the US government to pay for the clear up.

    Obama is said to be ‘furious’ about this state of affairs and is calling for people found guilty in this affair to be severely punishes and the American public is right behind him with a resounding YEA!

    Now although I don’t entirely disagree with that principle; you make a mess, you clean it up; I would like to know how many people were punished when the Amoco Cadiz discharged 219,797 tonnes of crude onto the French Coast,or the Spanish-built, Norwegian-owned, Cyprus-registered, Glasgow-managed, French-chartered, Russian-crewed, and Liberian-flagged Sea Empress struck the Milford Channel Rock in Milford Haven harbour, Wales en route to the Texaco oil refinery near Pembroke and disgorged 72,000 tonnes of crude oil into the sea. How incensed were the US politicians then and how much did these US companies contribute towards the clean up which, in the case of the Sea Empress, was in excess of £120M. Just how much money has been contributed by US firms whose ships have discharged crude oil over every ocean and sea on the planet. Hopefully the precedent set by President Obama will remain true for all oil spills including those from US owned, managed, licensed, flagged etc. tankers and if not, then I suggest the yanks suck it up and BP can contribute the cost to the British economy to contribute for all the US oil we have cleaned off our beaches and shorelines in the past.

  • Larry from St. Louis


    That’s just silly nationalism. Ultimately, both the UK and US do have processes to address these issues – i.e., their respective legal systems. In terms of allocating this sort of liability, I don’t think there’s a huge difference between the UK and the US. In other words, I doubt that any American company in the examples you cited contributed to the harm and got away scot-free.

    And don’t tell me that BP is doing anything out of the kindness of its heart. It’s the big-daddy deep-pockets instigator of the mess, and it knew or should have known blah blah blah duty breach causation damages blah blah blah …

    In any event, I would encourage you to disabuse yourself from zero-sum “us against them” silly 19th Century nationalism. It’s just not how the world works anymore.

    (And, btw, it completely excuses Americans for maintaining that we saved your asses in the war)

  • Chris M

    @Clark. I beg to differ,

    From http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/us_and_canada/10248409.stm

    ‘Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show, Mr Hayward said: “As we speak, the containment cap is producing around 10,000 barrels of oil a day to the surface.”

    Asked what amount of the estimate that represented, the BP chief executive said it was expected to be “the majority, probably the vast majority” of the oil gushing out.’

    He said “the majority, probably the vast majority” which implies far more than half.

  • Alfred

    Re: BP’s spill size estimate

    Some of the “many experts who suggested otherwise” were claiming the spill amounted to 70, 90 or even 100 thousand barrels per day. So BP were in fact closer to the truth in their initial estimates of one to five thousand barrels per day than many of those so-called experts.

    In any case, the size of the spill was impossible to measure with accuracy since the ratio of oil to gas was unknown, which means that the amount of oil could not be accurately gauged from the dimensions of the oil plume, its rate of motion, etc.

    In fact the BP representative I saw challenged with the possibility that the leak was in the region of 90,000 barrels per day simply stated that “it couldn’t be that much.”

    Much of what has been stated publicly about the spill is likely lies to manipulate the market, influence the outcome of insurance claims or to cover corruption in US Government regulation of the oil industry. More uninformed blather on the subject is not useful.

    When the effort to contain the spill and clean up the mess no longer requires the full attention of the people involved in the effort, there should be a competent inquiry to see what went wrong, why it went wrong and what needs to be done to insure that the chance of such an accident in the future is reduced. Until then, attempting to finger the liars seems a foolish occupation.

  • Anonymous

    BP Telling lies eh Craig?

    I’ve mentioned before I use to work in the Mechant Navy on oil tankers guess who with?

    We once got a telex saying wash the tanks and dump the stuff before we got to port. Another instruction was never pump the bilge in South African waters as they could trace it back to us. At the same time there was something on TV saying how wonderful the were. IMHO they are nearly as bad as Shell!!!

    If they said night followed day I’d check it before I went to bed.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Thanks for spotting this and posting it Craig.

    Their spoksepeople are certainly lying much of the time between this, the ‘mild environmental impact’ and the illness of clean up workers being put down to “food poisoning” rather than to oil or chemical disperants by BP.

    I hope the US EPA will fine them for using environmentally harmful dispersants and tell them the fine will increase each time they use them.

  • Alfred

    BP report capturing 10,000 barrels of oil and 22 million cubic feet of gas (at NTP) on June 5.

    Ten thousand barrels of oil has a volume 1,600 cubic meters, whereas 22 million cubic feet of gas (at NTP) has a volume at an ocean depth of 5000 feet of 4000 cubic meters. Thus what is leaking from the wellhead comprises a mixture of oil, methane and methane hydrate.

    Assuming that the formation of solid methane hydrate does not occur instantaneously, the implication is that the bulk of the volume of what can be seen spewing from the well is due to the inclusion of methane in gaseous form. Unless, that is, the solubility of methane in oil at a pressure of 15 MPa and a temperature of around 10 C exceeds 400 volumes per volume, in which case the methane will be in solution.

    I cannot find the solubility data. Does anyone have it?

  • Alfred

    Right now, if you look at BP’s live video feed showing oil leaking from the Deep Horizon well, you can see patches on the surface of the billowing mass turn from black to white, indicating the formation of methane clathrate or hydrate, confirming the presence of gaseous methane.


    The solid clathrate reverts to water and gas in the ratio of 1 to 164 at standard temperature and pressure, i.e., at the ocean surface.

  • Alfred


    On what basis do you think BP should be fined for using Corexit? According to the news reports, BP is using this dispersant with the agreement of the US Environmental Protection Agency. See this article:


    Corexit has been used for decades (it was used to disperse oil from the much larger Gulf of Mexico spill in 1979, when the blowout of Pemex’s Ixtoc well spewed thirty thousand barrels of oil per day for nine months), so if it is highly toxic one might expect that this would be known and documented by now. Yet there seems no conclusive evidence that it is more toxic than any other dispersant that might be used.

  • Redders

    “That’s just silly nationalism. Ultimately, both the UK and US do have processes to address these issues”

    Right, so that’s why Obama’s jumping up and down on international television ‘demanding’ BP pay for the clean up instead of calmly telling everyone that there are agreements already in place to deal with this?

    Kindly acquaint yourself with 21st Century politics before expecting me to “disabuse” myself “from zero-sum “us against them” silly 19th Century nationalism.”

    “(And, btw, it completely excuses Americans for maintaining that we saved your asses in the war)”

    I don’t have a problem with the Yanks having bailed us out of WW2 but don’t imagine it was for Altruistic reasons they did it, how about having a growing Nazi Europe for you guys to deal with. As soon as they were ready they would have attacked the US as well so I have no allegiance to you guys for helping us.

  • Alfred

    The bizarre thing about Obama’s reaction to the spill is the way he is attacking the people with responsibility for fixing the problem.

    Is he trying to divert attention from incompetence or corruption in his own government’s regulation of the oil industry or is he working for the shorts and vultures hoping for the destruction of BP? Either way, he seems to be acting like a scoundrel.

    When the leak is fixed it will be time enough to conduct an inquiry, find out what mistakes were made and allocate blame where blame is due.

  • Bilko

    News on certain sites say Mr Hayward sold a third of his holding in BP weeks before the explosion, Goldman Sachs sold £266 million stocks, now what if the well broke weeks before and BP kept a lid on it, while those in the know dumped stocks? and then blew up the rig killing those on board that knew.

    I prefer to call it a conspiracy analysis! 🙂

  • Alfred

    GS are advisers to BP, which raises the interesting question of whether Tony Haywood was following GS’s advice or GS was following Haywood’s advice or if it was just a remarkable coincidence that both unloaded a large chunk of their BP stock at the same time.

    That there was advance warning of the well’s failure seems highly plausible. But then why did they not begin drilling a relief well immediately. Scope here for endless investigation.

  • Jack

    From the initial explosion to the present, BP has lied about everything for their own self interest. They absolutely don’t care about anything but their bottom line. Also the website they have put up to represent that they are interested in other people’s ideas to help is a total fasad. I have tried to contact BP, by calling, e mailing and also contacting congressmen to let someone know of my idea to actually STOP the leak. Can some one help me find someone who will listen and take a minute to see my idea, I only want to help. Why is it so hard to help!!!!! someone e mail me with Thad Allen’s phone number or someone with some clout so we can stop this leak.

  • Alfred

    Jack, You say, “BP has lied about everything for their own self interest.” Well if they lied, it probably was out of self interest. But I think you may be overstating the case in saying they lied about everything.

    What does seem remarkable, though, is how often BP has made promises that they have failed to fulfill. This seems highly damaging to the company’s credibility.

    For example, according to both Haywood and Suttles, the leak should have been reduced to essentially nothing by now, whereas, in fact, most of the oil is still going directly into the Gulf. I take it that such false promises reflect incompetence, not deliberate misrepresentation.

    As for your solution to the leak, why don’t you post it on the Oil Drum discussion, which is said to be read both by government and company people. Here’s the URL of the current page.


    Alternatively, post it here?

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