Hmm, Should I Ask Engineers or Look it Up on Wikipedia?It is now alleged in a Louisiana court filing that, after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, senior BP executive David Rainey, a man who had never worked on estimating oil leaks before, looked up the size of the spill on Wikipedia rather than ask experts for their professional opinions and review scientific reports. And this wasn't even just a moment of panic that was soon corrected. No. The BP representative stuck to his guns!
"According to allegations filed in a Louisiana court Thursday, Mr. Rainey used information gleaned from the online encyclopedia to estimate that the Deepwater rig was leaking 5,000 barrels of oil a day. And he stuck to that figure, defending his calculation vigorously in public and before the U.S. Congress despite calls from many others, including some BP engineers, that it was far too low." (source)
Incompetence or Malice? Maybe Both?Meanwhile, internal BP emails show that BP engineers had models that showed that the flow could be of up to 100,000 barrels of oil per day, 20X more than the number claimed by Mr. Rainey. We're certainly not talking of an academic difference within the margin of error...
Later, independent analysis has shown that the leaking well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico had been leaking up to 62,000 barrels of oil per day at first, and around 53,000 by the time it was sealed much later in July, 2010.
Mr. Rainey now faces "up to five years in prison for lying to Congress".
While it was announced yesterday that BP would pay the largest criminal fine in US history, this story isn't over yet for all those involved...