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. jakedog


    May 2, 2010 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dani

    Are you kidding me? Do these people realize how many lives and jobs BP has just ruined? I feel like there has been no responsibilty taken, or even an apology, BP does not deserve this at all. Thanks for ruining the heart and soul of the southeast. What are going to do to make it right? If you can explain that, then maybe you should be nominated.

    May 2, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Alaskan

    Hmmm I guess their spills at Prudhoe Bay don't count against them

    May 3, 2010 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. A. Anderson

    This is a terrible travesty. My perspective is that BP should have done a thorough investigation or examination of the oil rig before drilling. This is where BP is negligent in safety of operation. However, we are face with this tremendous challenge. While the [Beams] is one way of trying to stop the oil from reaching shoreline, BP need to expedite the manufacturing of those HUG tank containers that are being manufactured as we speak. These tanks needs to be launch down need the oil well to retreive that oil which is guchiing out into the ocean. They will need high-technology to use in this operation. Military and coastgards, experienced marine sea diver, robot submarines as well as underground submarines to carry the recovery team and engineers who are experienced in such operation. This operation will take all of these resources in order to contain the oil spill. The BLAME game can wait. We need to do these things which I have suggested as quickly as possible.

    May 3, 2010 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  5. A. Anderson

    Who will be responsible for this? BP should because they ignored the safety measures. One of the previous posts listed all of BPs violations of OIL Safety Guidelines. Apparently, they still have problems with this. However, an award nomination or winning one would seem ironic after this incident.

    May 3, 2010 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  6. classicalbk

    Is there any chance that this was not an "accident"? It's interesting to me that this happened days after the President allowed Virginia to drill off-shore. There are many enemies of the US who would be pleased to keep oil prices up and keep the US dependent on foreign oil. I am not a conspiracy person, at all, but the timing of these events are so remarkable....

    May 3, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  7. buckrol

    It's true. The timing of this explosion is amazing. It makes you wonder. http://www.funnyconservatives.com

    May 3, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. JMW

    Chemicals have already been dispersed to break up the oil before it reaches the surface. BP is trying to drilling a relief well and dome the leak as well as trying to trigger the BOP which didn't engage. Environmental engineers study for years to come up with plans to alleviate disasters such as this as well as prevent them. They had also planned on doing a burn which would have been the fastest and safest remediation. Unfortunately, many of the things that can be done have been hampered by high winds and rough seas, which means hands are tied. Coast Guard, BP and even private fishermen have been trying to set booms in place as well as various other things, but they are prohibited by the 6-8' swells.

    If the wind had blown the other way, as it was originally, things would have been easier. Sadly, no on knows how to extend their hand and calm the winds and the seas. Workers have to deal with what is happening, not what would happen in a perfect world.

    The people who were on the rig were professionals. None of them would have done anything intentionally to skip a safety measure. Everyone who works in the oilfield understands the dangers. They aren't going to willingly put their lives at risk to save the company a dollar.

    May 3, 2010 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jim

    It will come out that the North Koreans torpedoed the platform, and then sunk it 2 days later on earth day. The platform was built and financed by the South Korean corp, Hyundai. BP is not at fault, nor is Transocean. Why do you think they could not shut off the well from the platform? All the platforms survived Katrina. Go figure. Wake up people.

    May 3, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  10. CO2isLIFE

    Post by: CNN's Mike M. Ahlers
    Filed under: Gulf Coast Oil Spill:

    "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."

    Great, and this CNN poster could be in charge of Oblahmba PR! For the not so observant: how does BP win an award seven years prior to it's existence? Too bad, but this dismisses the entire post.

    Nuclear energy must be energized as the only major future energy candidate that affords sustainable, high volume, decentralized electricity for many thousands of years – worldwide, All other sources must be utilized and no subsidies for wind/solar as these are inefficient, undependable, realty wasteful and excessively expensive to be depended upon as any kind of major energy source..

    for the future

    May 3, 2010 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  11. Barry Bin Inhalin

    No one is too concerned or even wondering about the source of the explosion? Anyone remember one of these disasters in the past (and explosion on a rig where the rig sinks and ALL failsafes are defeated)? No? How about on/about Earth Day? Coincidence?

    Don't be naive. This has nothing to do with BP. If the libtards weren't as their name implies, we'd be drilling on nice dry land. The gulf is a great source for oil but you reap as you sow.

    May 3, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  12. HTuttle

    They have just as much claim to that as Obama has to the Nobel Peace Prize.

    May 3, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  13. rimmini

    The price of our oil based society

    May 3, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  14. Oldsurfer

    Three redundant blow out preventers didn't work, submersible robots didn't work, burning oil didn't work, 80% of deployed booms are already failing (booms don't work in rough water like in the Gulf), now they are attempting to put down a huge concrete and steel funnel thing that they hope will capture some of the oil (but because it is so deep I'm betting it won't work either). It looks like it might take up to 3 months to drill another well to relieve pressure (by that time the whole Gulf will be full of oil) That leaves us with dawn liquid detergent, shovels and prayer. Somehow I'm losing hope.

    May 3, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
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