BP COO Doug Suttles flew into Pensacola yesterday. He visited Ft. Pickens to watch workers clean up a relatively light mess on the beach there. He went to the Santa Rosa Island Authority offices for a talk on worker safety and then he visited a claim center on Navy Blvd. Suttles wrapped up his visit with a closed-door meeting with the Pensacola News Journal, which has been running daily his company’s full-page ads.
Suttles has been the other point man for BP on the Deepwater Horizon explosion and the subsequent environmental disaster. He was been a part of the Joint Command Center from the very beginning. Suttles was on the scene before Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen. He is the one who originally said the well was only leaking between 1,000 and 5,000 barrels a day (see BBC article). He also was a part of the many failed attempts to cap the well.
He is not a BP Barbie and has the background to answer some of the most technical and complicated questions about this catastrophe. Suttles was with Exxon in Oklahoma and Texas, prior to joining BP. He was the Vice President for Northern North Sea operations, and later appointed President of BP’s Trinidadian oil business. Suttles then was named President of BP Sakhalin Inc. (later merged with TNK-BP), where he was responsible for BP’s activities in Sakhalin, Russia, and its joint venture with Russian oil company Rosneft. He was named COO of BP America in January 2009.
PNJ had a golden opportunity to ask the hard questions about this environmental disaster.
Instead Suttles was asked about tar balls, his flights over oil plumes and claims…and the answers weren’t much different than the press releases we already have received.
What would have happened if Mr. Suttles had come to offices of the Independent News?
Here are a few of my questions:
– How deep did you dig the Deepwater Horizon well?
– Why didn’t you have a disaster response plan in place?
– Why wasn’t the rig inspected?
– Did you ever test the blowout preventer?
– Did you have the proper equipment installed?
– Was there an acoustic switch installed?
– Did you have a dead man switch installed in the case of a catastrophe?
– What was the basis of your original 1,000 barrel estimate?
– Did BP put money before safety?
– How much money did you save by cutting corners?
– Did you provide adequate oversight of your contractors?
– When you say that you’ll pay all legitimate claim, what constitutes as “legitimate?”
– What went on behind closed doors with Dick Cheney back in 2001? Did you make any deals with him during these
– How many former MMS employees and Bush Administration employees currently work for BP?
– Why didn’t BP order more skimmers immediately for the Gulf of Mexico? Why weren’t super tankers brought in to help?
– What other oil companies have offered to help with this disaster? Why did or didn’t you accept their help?
– Why didn’t you tell the public about how difficult the “Top Hat” and “Top Kill” attempts were? Why weren’t the relief wells started sooner?
– BP asked at the early town hall meetings for our ideas on the clean-up. Why aren’t they being used?
– BP told us that they had the best and brightest minds working on this. Who are these people and why have they failed?
What are the questions you would have asked?