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. william bonney

    I've now read through all of these comnents, and I've reached the following conclusions: (1) many of you have not got the faintest clue what you are talking about; (2) many of you say "corporate greed" as if your tiny brains were programmed by Barack Obama himself; (3) fix the problem first, then worry about who is to blame. If you drive a car or use electricity in your home, please STFU about how BP is just out there being greedy. BP feeds your greed.

    May 3, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sandra

    I realize that they stopped burning because the wind shifted toward the coast. But, I believe that Mother Nature can restore a burn-off much quicker that an oil soaking!

    May 3, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. michael

    unless you are commenting to this article with a crank powered computer in your tent, made by crank powered factories, you are part of the problem. stop pointing fingers. btw, this was an accident. tragic, as it was, it was an accident.

    May 3, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bryan abbott


    How could Obama allow this situation to go out of control like this? This makes the Exxon Valdez spill look like a picnic. I just can't believe the Obama Administration would wait until this became an uncontrollable environmental disaster before they left the golf course to take a look at things.

    It's really disgusting... Obama has destroyed the gulf of Mexico

    May 3, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. G. Ranck

    Let's get to the real issue here – who really WAS responsible for the explosion on that platform rig?? Odd how these things don't happen more often (assuming that "big oil" is satan's unruly handmaiden as we're all led to believe) – and odder still that our Russian, Chinese, etc... comrades haven't deemed this enough of a reason to "shift gears" in the Gulf of Mexico if these "disasters" are so likely to happen at a moment's notice? Doubtful that the swat team investigation's evidence will be released to the public in its entirety (if at all). Does make one wonder what's really going on here through all of the smoke and mirrors – afterall, wouldn't want to put a good crisis to waste – Kudos to David Axlerod – he sure is earning his paycheck with such words of wisdom!

    May 3, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lightduty

    Terry Gill wrote:
    You would think we would have learned our lesson after the Exxon spill....but no...we still drill for oil. If we had put our minds to it, we could power our cars on clean energy sources and save our beautiful planet.

    Like what? Electricity pulled from coal? So far, no nation has been able to generate enough power from alternative energy sources other than nuclear. Are you in favor of more nuclear plants in the U.S.?

    The truth is that people forget that all the things we use come from the earth, and that the extraction/creation of those things is an uncertain and sometimes dangerous undertaking.

    May 3, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Greg

    This article could have been in the Onion if it weren't true. Wow, just pathetic

    May 3, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ragnard D.

    Hey Terry Gill,

    Why don't you put your mind to it, stop using ANY oil product, or stop whining. What I think you implied was "if we put your money to it"... always a team effort, your brilliant ideas and somebody else money. Better yet, go back to bed and let the grownups continue to take care of you.

    May 3, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. viper

    I find it ironic that BP was even in the running for a safety and excellence award. In my opinion, BP has ignored safety and excellence throughout their entire history.
    Their plant in Texas blew up and killed people and they had been sited for safety violations prior to this incident.
    Their pump station, BP 1 on the Alaskan pipeline was a travesty! Sounds to me like some one was paid off, but that is our government for you. Either corrupt or total morons!

    May 3, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jay

    While we're cleaning up and capping this spill we should be moving in a replacement drilling platform. In fact, we should be drilling more wells, too. Ours is an oil-based economy and my giant gas pig on four wheels needs its weekly fill of cheap gasoline.

    Chop chop!

    May 3, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. capexcitemnt

    BP is gushing over their pollution prevention award. and the first runner up exxon mobil, another fine example of ...

    May 3, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
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