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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Good cop, bad cop

Is it me or is there an interesting dynamic developing within the coalition government in which Nick Clegg says what he is really thinking, whilst Cameron takes the more diplomatic route?

This seems to be perfectly illustrated by today's Telegraph in which they report that although the Prime Minister is being criticised by some business leaders (and newspapers it has to be said) for his failure to demand that Mr Obama tone down his antagonistic statements, his Deputy is being a lot more forthright:

Asked about Mr Obama’s suggestion that he would like to be able to sack Mr Hayward, Mr Clegg said: “I don’t frankly think we will reach a solution to stopping release of oil into the ocean any quicker by allowing this to spiral into a tit for tat political diplomatic spat.

“I’m not going to start intervening in a debate which clearly risks descending into megaphone diplomacy.” His words, during an official visit to Madrid, highlighted the continuing reticence of Mr Cameron over what has come to be seen as the first test of the “special relationship” of the Coalition.

Rather than heralding a split such a contrast in the style of the two men can actually prove helpful to the Government in their approach to such issues and in sending the right messages to foreign governments. In this case, Cameron can tell Obama that he feels his pain and understands the President's position, but that not everybody in his coalition government feels the same way so could he please back off just a little bit and give BP some room to sort this mess out.

Meanwhile, I don't think I am the only Liberal Democrat who is enjoying Clegg's European tour, where his familiarity with language has left the Foreign Secretary floundering a bit. We may be in government with Euro-sceptics but it is becoming increasingly obvious that a Liberal Democrat presence may well give the Government more influence in Europe than it deserves.
This can't be serious! Cameron is agreeing with President Obama, who quite correctly sees that BP has an awful safety record (their cost-cutting measures led to the deaths of employees as their Texas City refinery for example) and needs to get their act together, but Clegg goes around the world apologising for one of the most unethical corporations on our planet? A corporation that was born out of British imperialism in the Persian gulf, no less.

I know you guys have completely dropped the 'progressive' thing but I thought Cameron was the Tory and Clegg was meant to be the 'Obama' figure.
"....We may be in government with Euro-sceptics but it is becoming increasingly obvious that a Liberal Democrat presence may well give the Government more influence in Europe than it deserves."

You've got to be in it to win it!
This post is just pollyanna nonsense from another Lib Dem overdosing on the Koolaid that makes them think somehow this coalition is a good idea.

Clegg was clearly, loyally, defending Cameron. He wasn't blaming Obama or saying what he thinks, he was merely saying the press shouldn't give his mate Dave a hard time for not fighting back.

I give it three years until Clegg, Laws, Alexander and a couple of others join the Tories outright, and Simon Hughes leads the remnants hungover from their delusional belief that this is somehow going to be a progressive government.

And don't underestimate Hague. He's not going to be shown up by anyone. He's unpleasant, but not stupid.
"... some room to sort this mess out" ... what? BP has had over 50 days to sort out the leak - they are next to incompetent. Their safety record in the USA is plain awful. As Welsh Ramblings points out, BP caused deaths in the Texas refinery fire.

I sounded the alarm about BP on Glyn's blog, but I held back. BP may face disbarment in US - they may be forced to sell their US assets to other oil companies.

BP has been grossly negligent and grossly incompetent - they have also been insular, arrogant and have insulted just about everyone with their lies concerning the magnitude of the leak - they were also warned NOT to cut the riser pipe immediately above the BOP (blowout preventer) because doing so would INCREASE the outflow of oil into the Gulf - and BP said no, that would not happen.

BP said the leak was no more than 5,000 barrels per day, but later claimed they were collecting about 15,000 barrels per day. There basic math does not add up. They have lied, lied and lied.

I spoke to the Energy attaché at the British Embassy (BE), Washington and begged him to communicate to BP that they should not cut the riser pipe - but hey, no joy - I was told that there is very little contact ("nominal contact") between the British Embassy and BP. I urged him to introduce me to a senior BP engineer or anyone of substance in their Washington DC office - that I had a solution to the leak spouting out the fractured end of the riser pipe on the seabed, but it would not work if the riser pipe was cut above the BOP. I got the brush off. I suggested that it would be a good idea if Cameron was briefed on the situation and came to DC and to see President Obama about the problem - I got a negative response about that, but as it turned out a press release a day or so later indicated that Cameron would be meeting with Obama, and Cameron was getting briefed on the situation by the head of BP's security (on information and belief is a former deputy head of MI6), and Cameron is in Washington, DC this weekend to speak to Obama (I’m not saying this happened because of my direct conversation with the British Energy attaché – but I did email him back saying it was good news and to apologize for being so direct with him (no Obama type foul language), but I was pretty direct about the need not to cut the riser pipe and the need for an introduction to meet with a BP engineer).

I wanted the BE to convince BP to meet me and/or tell BP not to cut the riser pipe above the BOP/seabed well because this would cause a huge increase flow rate of oil into the Gulf - which is exactly what has happened, latest estimates rate the spill at 40k barrels per day. I could do a presentation in which I could sketch the drawings of the kit and explain how it would work. – how it would, if fabricated and deployed, stop the oil leaking out of the fractured end of the riser pipe on the seabed - 'time was of the essence' because BP had announced they planned to cut the riser pipe immediately above the BOP and from that time point onward my kit would not work.

My kit was an order of magnitude (at least) more efficient in its design and operation over the containment box with a top outlet pipe that BP had tried to lower over the fractured end of the leaking pipe - it also dealt with the methane-hydrate-> gas problem that caused their 90+ ton device to bob at 5,000 feet just above the oil/methane gas leak.

I have a PhD in chemistry and a good background in inter-disciplinary science/engineering arts, have drafted over 100 patent applications including some in the hydrocarbon extraction arts. I knew the BP box would fail, knew that the top-down kill would fail, and I knew splicing the riser pipe would turn the wellhead/BOP into the equivalent of an upside down vertical rocket of over 30,000 hp and thereby make the leak far worse.
Please excuse the typos - I am just so angry with the BP oil fiasco - e.g., "upside down vertical rocket of ... " should have read: "upside down vertical rocket motor of ..."

BP has dropped the ball - the level of their incompetence knows no limits. BP is going to be fried over-easy on a corn-cob. America is heading into national elections – Obama is losing in the polls over the BP fiasco. Americans are watching the pictures of pelicans covered in thick oil – Georgians are seeing there state symbol (the Pelican is the state symbol for Georgia) in pathetic conditions – they are in the coastal marshes covered in oil.

I can not express to you how Americans are growing VERY ANGRY with BP.

Local BP stations (which are not owned by BP) are being defaced – this is wrong and unfair – the owners are typically small businesses – local families run those garages. Some of them are mum and pop operations with fathers working 90+ hours to keep their forecourts open on holidays and late into the night, but almost overnight these small BP franchise businesses have lost 30% of their turnover. Local TV and radio are pointing out that these BP stations are in fact franchise run by small businesses – BP got out of managing their American forecourts some years ago.

Didn't anyone in the Conservative Party pick up on the seriousness of what was going on beneath the Gulf???? Why did it take so long for the ex-MI6 guy heading up BP’s security take so long to brief Cameron?

What should have been fixed within 21 days is now gushing 40,000 barrels plus per day. Whole fishing industries (shrimp, oysters, crabs) along the Gulf coastline have been devastated. Thousands of Gulf state fishing boats are banned from fishing.

This is the worst oil disaster in the Americas - north and south. It is unbelievable that Cameron was not briefed earlier - that the BE in Washington, DC adopted a hands-off approach (as did Cameron) is most peculiar – this is going to cost the UK Treasury (and I mean that in its broadest sense) billions if not tens of billions in taxes, pensions, dividends to stock holders etc. The public school stiff-upper lip and lack of engineering/science appreciation at government level has exacerbated the situation beyond measure. The consequences of not stopping the oil leak at the fractured end within a couple of weeks or so are immeasurable. BP spends billions on technology to extract oil at depth, but have spent next to nothing on fixing leaks at depth.

This pipe snaked across the seabed, kinked with bends which acted like a resistor – a GOOD resistor - keeping the leak to 20k barrels per day (still more than BP's initial estimates of 1k then 3k to 5k barrels per day). My kit had it been fabricated and deployed would have cut the leak by 90% and then close to 100% after some cementing around 'the edges" and not caused dynamic back pressure in the pipe (and hence otherwise risking further damage to the wellhead/BOP) - and would have produced around 20k barrels of oil per day until the relief bores were drilled (not expected to be completed until August) to stop the oil flowing into the fractured riser pipe.

Can anyone imagine what is going to happen between now and August? The oil in the Gulf is moving into the Gulf current - it will swing around Florida, hit the FL beaches on the east side and head up to the mid-Atlantic state hitting just about every beach on the way. It is going to be devastating to the tourist trade – e.g., the Carolinas rely heavily on Americans visiting their beaches. BILLIONS of losses are going to fall on BP. BP will be lucky to survive. The US government is going to INSIST that BP fully compensates all of the businesses along the Gulf coast and on the eastern seaboard harmed by BP’s oil gusher.

BP may well lose 90% of its market value and go under.
The BP oil “spill” (more like a gusher) in the Gulf has entered into a new phase – there appears to be a conspiracy. How could BP get its sums so badly wrong? It first admits to a spill of less than 5k barrels (I think the report was 1k barrels, then 3 to 5k and so on – but always on the VERY low side of the actual spill). Over the weekend BP did something it didn’t want to do (and then invented a story about how difficult it was to do – but no explanation as to why BP had not done it sooner).

What on earth am I talking about?

Sensors – the positioning of sensors to determine flow rate – to measure how many thousands of barrels are actually gushing from the BP wellhead into the Gulf.

Why has it taken so long?

You might think the delay was for technical reasons.
You might think the delay was to hide the quantity of oil gushing into the Gulf for PR reasons – to hide the truth to save BP’s reputation.

No on both accounts.

The reason is very simple: BP did not want the U.S. government to know how much oil was spewing into the Gulf.

What was the motivation to hide this information from the U.S. government?


The bigger the leak that BP reports, the more they pay to the U.S. government – so BP had in its mind a ‘good’ reason to under-report the flow rate.

This conspiracy has HUGE implications – think about it. BP deliberately set out to keep President Obama, the Congress, and the American people in the dark.

The Senate hearings must ask BP why they did that.

It’s quite obvious why – but BP must now tell the truth after weeks of BP lies.

How high up did this conspiracy of silence go? To the top of BP? In my humble opinion BP’s chief executive Tony Hayward either knew the reason for this underreporting of the flow rate or should have known. There is something VERY fishy here.

There’s a price for not listening to a certain warning not to cut the riser pipe immediately above the BOP/seabed wellhead combination.

The Senate should set up hearings to investigate this conspiracy of silence on the part of BP – and if criminal deception was involved then criminal prosecutions should follow.
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