Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Not Taking Responsibility

That’s certainly been a theme lately. We had a great example of that when all those wonderful financial geniuses from Goldman Sachs testified on the Hill a couple of weeks ago. Essentially they said we did nothing wrong and what we did do didn’t cause the financial melt down. Another example of tin ear.

It reminded me of when the big three auto executives came to town in their private jets asking to be bailed out. The second time they came hat in hand they drove.

It just makes you wonder who advises these people. Or do they really and truly not care what the public thinks.

The latest example of this is the testimony on the oil rig disaster being played out in the Gulf.

Everyone was suffering from finger pointing syndrome. Someone else was at fault but not my company.

BP blamed the failure of Transocean’s blowout preventer and raised a new question about whether Transocean disregarded “anomalous pressure test readings” just hours before the explosion. Transocean blamed decisions made by BP and cited possible flaws in the cementing job done by Halliburton. And Halliburton said that it had faithfully followed BP’s instructions and that Transocean had started replacing a heavy drilling mud with seawater before the well was sealed with a cement plug.

From Transocean chief executive Steven Newman:

He said it was BP that directed that drilling mud used to counter pressure from the well be replaced by seawater. And he added that the blowout preventers might have failed because of damage inflicted by debris made of cement and steel blown upward from the well.

Then on to Halliburton:

Halliburton’s Tim Probert also tried to deflect blame, saying, “We understand that the drilling contractor . . . proceeded to displace the riser with seawater prior to the planned placement of the final cement plug.” That plug was designed to keep the oil and gas in the well, one of the last steps before pulling the drilling rig away from the well. Probert said that the cement plug, which he said would have been “a final barrier,” was never set.

At some point in time, you have to wonder why these hearings are held at all. From reading the news reports nothing was learned about what happened. And certainly no one was stepping up and taking responsibility for what happened. But then I realize these are Congressional hearings and this is a great photo op for the Senators. Those who opposed drilling get to say I told you so. Those in favor of drilling well they get to wring their hands and try and figure out how to get out of this PR disaster.

In the end, the hearings could have been canceled. The money saved could have been sent to help out people in the Gulf who’s livelihood is directly threatened by the oil spill.

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