April 30th, 2010
06:21 PM ET

In ironic twist, BP finalist for pollution prevention award

Call it a tragic irony.

BP, now under federal scrutiny because of its role in the deadly Gulf of Mexico explosion and oil spill, is one of three finalists for a federal award honoring offshore oil companies for "outstanding safety and pollution prevention."

The winner of the award - chosen before the April 20 oil rig incident - was to be announced this coming Monday at a luncheon in Houston. But the U.S. Department of Interior this week postponed the awards ceremony, saying it needs to devote its resources to the ongoing situation resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and fire.

Eleven workers are presumed dead and an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil are leaking every day from the well. The cause of the explosion is still unknown.

A spokeswoman for the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service said she did not know which of the three finalists for the non-monetary award had been selected, nor did she say whether the current circumstances could influence the decision if BP was the winner. Winners of the award are kept secret until the ceremony, she said.

The floating Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded and eventually sank 130 miles southeast of New Orleans is owned by Transocean Ltd., a Swiss company, but was under contract with BP. The U.S. Coast Guard has termed BP the "responsible party." In U.S. Coast Guard parlance, "responsible party" typically means the entity that owns the vessel that caused the spill and is responsible for responding to an incident.

It does not imply criminal negligence.

According to a Department of Interior's website, BP Exploration & Production Inc. is one of three finalists for a Safety Award for Excellence, which honors companies for "outstanding safety and pollution prevention performance by the offshore oil and gas industry." The other nominees are ExxonMobil Corp. and Eni US Operating Co. BP specifically was nominated in the High OCS Activity Operator category, for companies engaged in operations on the outer continental shelf.

The Minerals Management Service was to name the winner of the award at the 2010 Offshore Technology Conference in Houston next week. The annual award is an engraved plaque and a letter of citation, both signed by a Department of Interior official.

The awards program is intended to elevate awareness of safety and pollution and prevention, encourage voluntary compliance, educate the public and encourage excellence in safety and pollution prevention, the department says.

The program began in 1999, and is for a company's performance the previous year. British Petroleum has won the award once before, in 1992.

soundoff (153 Responses)
  1. Bob Wolf


    April 30, 2010 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff

    This is not a time for "who should and shouldn't be responsible." The mess has to be contained immediately! There's only one Gulf of Mexico! The blame game can come later. Save those marshes!

    May 1, 2010 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  3. OP

    Boycott BP!! Everywhere! BP is the big oil corp and greed in its worst form!

    May 1, 2010 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
  4. karl

    i blame the soccer moms and there SUV's lol

    May 1, 2010 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
  5. rich

    well, i hope this will stop some of the DRILL BABY DRILL mantra that has been going on. This is going to be the single worst man made environmental accident in the history of the northern hemisphere. too bad it could not have happened off the coast of florida.

    May 1, 2010 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. Skeat-er

    Why the -- should we Boycott BP? its our addiction to oil thats part to blame for this mess. We all get angry when s-it like this happens but its the price you have to pay for the luxury of transportation and goods made from petroleum based chemicals. If your so mad maybe yall should drive your cars and trucks down to the gulf of mexico and help clean up, instead of sitting in front of your computers and venting. Im not going to boycott or support the boycott of any company and tomorrow morning im going to put gas in my truck and i predict you will also fuel up the next time your tank nears empty. Dont force boycott's force change towards alternative renewable fuels.

    May 1, 2010 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. Gee Iman

    SAVE THE...Oh Ok everybody go home.

    May 1, 2010 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
  8. Eddie. B.

    "Drill, Baby, Drill!" I will never forget that GOP chant led by Sarah Palin and McCain supporting more offshore drilling. Now do you see what is at stake?!?!?

    May 1, 2010 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
  9. SanDiegan

    BP is responsible for this Human created disaster. It is pure CORPORATE GREED. It is time that the federal government TAX these companies into non-existence. Corporate greed is the problem. This is an example of when corporate profits overtake morality. This company should have its management jailed and its assets taken by the federal government as payment for its crime against humanity and the environment. In addition, all oil wells at sea should be retired and removed from service.

    May 1, 2010 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  10. carl Johnson

    There's a reason why mother nature has oil so far under the surface, but humans and thier greed fail to see the obvious everyday. We truly are our own demise.

    May 1, 2010 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. Shane

    Oh quit with the boycott the Oil Companies attitude folks. This is a horrible accident and its that simple. The unfortunate truth is that we need the energy resource. I would take this accident and its clean up costs as compared to giving more of our money to OPEC.

    Coming from a family that has been in the Oil Buisiness for the better part of this century, I can tell you all that these things happen. Its rare that they do, but they do happen. In my estimation, I would say that all of you bashing the oil companies have not really done your homework. The oil companies do their best to take every precaution to prevent these situations, (in most cases). Could this ineeded be a case of negligence, yes it could. I am not going to argue that point.

    But for all of the billions of gallons that are pumped, shipped, processed, delivered, and used, and accident like this is small issue to how well they actually do handle the commidty.

    At this point its actually too early to tell what is actually going to take place. My bet is that BP will get the leak under control in short order, and get the mess cleaned up as best as possible, with the least amount of damage as possible.

    Instead of jumping on the radical tree hugger band-wagon, how about giving them a chance to be responsible and get it fixed.

    As for the folks up here who think the Deep Sea Drilling should be discontinued, if that is the case then you folks had better come up with an alternate idea. Because I have a feeling you folks are the same ones who gripe about using Nuclear Power as a resource too. Wind and Solar are not the answer to our energy needs, and they never will be. Those are only a small portion to a bigger energy solution.

    Whether any of us like or not, Fossil Fuels are going to be part of the energy equasion for the forseeable future, until the technology is available in a cost efficent, and practical package.

    Nuclear Power is an answer because it is the doorway to Hydrogen Fuel Technology. Like it or not that is the way it is.

    So quit crying about this unfortunate accident, and let BP get it cleaned up.

    May 1, 2010 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
  12. Diane smith

    This catastrophe has shown that all of us are responsible. Our planet is being ruined by these oil and gas companies and other big business and governments, true. But,as others have said, all of us, are guilty. Are you willing to stop driving your car? To make use of public transportation? Maybe to walk? No we are not. Sadly what we chose to be selfish, not giving a thought to to all the people in other countries who have had nothing to do with this. We are a people with no conscious.

    May 1, 2010 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
  13. roy

    "would take this accident and its clean up costs as compared to giving more of our money to OPEC...."

    wow, shane you are sick, what a terrible stupid thing to say – part of the cleanup cost are 11 dead men and a fragile one of a kind ecosystem which we here in louisiana depend on to survive – WE RESPECT OUR ENVIRONMENT HERE, WE APPRECIATE AND UNDERSTAND IT – its the OUTSIDERS who swoop in and steal our resources!!!. Congrats for being in the oil business, i hope you are very proud of yourself and your family...

    May 1, 2010 at 2:58 am | Report abuse |
  14. Sam

    This award is a joke and a publicity stunt. BP has more accidents and fatalities in the past 5 years than any other company.

    2005 Texas City, TX refinery blast killing 15 workers and injuring 170 others
    BP fined fined more than $50 million

    2006 Prudhoe Bay, AK Pipeline leak 4,800 barrels of oil had spread into the Alaskan snow. Had been warned to check the pipeline in 2002
    BP fined $12 million misdemeanor violation of the federal Water Pollution Control Act.

    BP charged with manipulating the market price of propane
    BP fined $300 million

    2009 OSHA Fine – OSHA announces it is issuing $87,430,000 in proposed penalties to BP

    2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Explosion and fire claimed 11 lives and critically injured seven workers. Rig sinks into the Louisiana Gulf Coast. Resulting oil spill could be the worst environmental disaster ever.

    May 1, 2010 at 3:44 am | Report abuse |
  15. roy_B

    We can do the name blame later on and really find out what happened, but this really should be a wakeup call to the US and the rest of the world that its time has come to really invest in wind power and solar. Enough of the republican drill baby drill!
    We all need to give time and money to help the wild life in the gulf!!!

    May 1, 2010 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
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