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BP COO, Doug Suttles Says Oil Spill Flow Rate Not Relavent
Doug Suttles Contradicts BP's Internal Documents About Importance Of Accurate Oil Flow Rate (video interview)
BP executives have a habit of saying remarkable things. Case in point Doug Suttles BP's COO in an interview with the New Orleans Times-Picayune said estimating the oil spill flow rates is not an important factor in the fight to contain or stop the oil spill.
The flow rate has never impacted the response," said BP America's chief operating officer, Doug Suttles, in an interview with The Times-Picayune. He went on to say that the process of estimating how much oil was flowing into the Gulf -- a task he said BP does not involve itself with -- is "extraordinarily imprecise and we took a view very early on that we didn't think you could do it and we didn't think it was relevant either."
The amount of oil the ruptured well head is actually leaking has been a source of controversy, with the numbers steadily climbing from 1,000 barrels a day, to 5,000, to 60,000 and now 100,000 barrels per day.
BP COO, Dough Suttles says the focus for BP is actually stopping and containing the leak and not putting effort into how much oil is actually flowing into the Gulf of Mexico.
In its 582-page Oil Spill Response Plan for the Gulf of Mexico region, BP noted that in the case of an oil spill, determining its size and volume were “critical to initiating and sustaining an effective response.”
“When a spill has been verified and located, the priority issue will be to estimate and report the volume and measurements of the spill as soon as possible,” Page 6 of the document reads.
BP may not be interested in the flow rate of the oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico but the federal government certainly is.
Among other reasons, the oil flow rate is important because of how the Clean Water Act allows damages to be calculated. If a company is found to have shown gross negligence or willful misconduct in polluting U.S. waters, it can be ordered to pay $4,300 for every barrel of oil spilled.
Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen was blunt in mid-June: "That's the $100,000 question -- we need a flow rate. And we're never going to know exactly what it is until we have a tight seal on that and we can actually measure production."
Watch New Orleans Times-Picayune With BP COO Dough Suttles
|Oil spill video: BP's Doug Suttles talks to The Times-Picayune|