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. blueridge

    Oil floats on water, suck it up into another tanker. Free oil and you can charge for the cleaning service.

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

    The most sensible suggestion was written by poster 26.
    Let us have this mess cleaned up, then decision for who is to be blamed can be decided.
    IMO very likely it will not be solely BP that is responsible, but at least they have stepped up to the plate with regards to paying clean up costs.
    It is all very well bemoaning the fact that offshore drilling off USA shores should not be continued to be permitted.
    Until an alternative fuel is freely available, oil will continue to be the fuel of choice.
    Electric vehicles are all very well, but how does one produce the necessary additional electrical power, Hydrogen has been touted as an alternative fuel, but until an infrastructure has been built this is merely at the moment a dream.
    Nuclear power is a method of providing electrical power for electrical vehicles, however with the best will in the world it will take about 8 years to build a nuclear power station.
    Then everyone will be saying 'NOT IN MY BACKYARD' for storage of spent nuclear fuel.
    So folks, dirty though it is, it looks like we have to have Oil for a good few more years yet.

    May 3, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bob

    check out this link about a media blackout and sabotage to the oil rig.........


    May 3, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ponderosaTX

    I live in Houston and know many high level engineers in the energy industry. It is an open secret that BP has the WORST safety record in the industry. I grimace every time I see one their green ads. BP has a huge PR budget but cares little about safety. Their deplorable record regarding accidents, which goes back for decades, speaks for itself. These guys make Arthur Andersen look like choir boys.

    For an article providing a glimpse of BP corporate culture, see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/6470162/BP-fined-record-87m-for-life-threatening-safety-failings.html.

    I have bee boycotting BP (notably Castrol) for years. Now perhaps a few others will join me.

    May 3, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mollie

    If you own a car and don't want gas prices to go up to $5/gallon so that school busses can't afford to run, please don't consider "boycotting" oil companies! Just what if this were "planned" and not an "accident" to give Obama an "excuse" to limit offshore drilling to keep us "dependant" on Saudi Oil and have government regulate (take over) oil companies? We need to seek alternative fuel sources, but in the mean time, I don't understand why we are not drilling for oil that is in our own country! (Supposedly, there is lots of oil under the Rocky Mountains, but "environmentalists" don't want us to drill.) I've heard that Obama shut down the drilling efforts (that Bush started) just after the inauguration. Why? Someone please tell me! Do other countries want access to that oil? China? Russia? Don't you think Saudis are worried that if we drill for oil here we might not buy so much of their oil? Do you think they might do something to make us buy more oil from them? Yes, there are countries that don't want to see America be a "major power " anymore and oil prices are one of the main ways to do this! Just imagine what would happen if oil prices "soared" to where people couldn't drive their cars- is that what you want? (Perhaps they would have only one car instead of several cars per family like now.) Oil prices impact many things in this country, particularly food costs and freight costs! Most of the refineries are in Texas and Louisiana, so find a way to "take these over" and you could in essence control the country! Is that what you want to happen? I certainly don't! Those of you that believe capitalism is "bad" need to visit socialist countries or countries with dictatorships! (Chances are good you only get your ass off your couch to go to the mailbox to collect your welfare checks!)Those who work need a way got get there!
    Too many today have money for alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, or tattoos, but not enough money for gas because working is not one of their "priorities"!

    May 3, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. kc kenski

    drill baby drill – but not for oil – for natural gas the clean fuel that actually works. The windmills that the rich snobs Hamptonites are saying not in my backyard but your yard is OK , the rubber band electric wind up toys are still all myths put on American voters to elect good lookin, no nothin politacal hack. But instead lets have Americans that need jobs that maybe enjoy fishing in the gulf do the drilling with American Engineers. And NO volunter crap when it comes to compliance. But hey that is the government way. 10 government employees do paper compliance. Lets have real Americans working on incentives to find non-compliant and site the non-compliant companies with criminal sanctions. For now all those of you wanting to stop drilling turn your keys into the nearest government center along with congress and staff using this diaster just to get elected. No you just want us peeons to be ceasing using oil and buy the cars for 50K that use up to six times the cost of gas in electric charges. And oh yea mind numb robots, the electic plants are mostly coalfired so with eliminating that after the latest mining disaster leaves us with nuclear second. Wait until that disaster spill occurs. A little oil on the water wont mean didly. Stop letting these weasles on the press make your decisions and think a little on your own

    May 3, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cindy Merrill

    Gosh, the Obama Administration was right on the ball, right?
    If their nuclear policy is equally as "sharp" we'd better get busy on digging fallout shelters.

    May 3, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JAB

    I entered na post supporting BP and criticizing Obama. It was not posted....big surpise.
    Censorship by CNN.

    May 3, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Blamin Who

    Who's to blame is the normal game. We always go after big pockets which in turn can be cutting our own throuts. We want, want, want, more but in everybody else we see greed, greed, greed, and make them pay, pay, pay! You can only look to yourself and your actions. Make your own changes and others will see and judge if you are honest or a hypocrite. The truth shall set you free. And you shall be free indeed and at peace!!

    May 3, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bamacharm

    I think some of these comments are irresponsible. It was a freaking accident people. Things went wrong. Failure, while regrettable, is a great teacher. Man's knowledge of how to prevent reoccurences wil increase. BP has agreed to take full financial responsibility for the cleanup.

    How many of you folks griping about drilling in the Gulf drove anywhere today? We are still going to use oil whether or not we drill our own resources. If we refuse to accpt any environmental risks, it simply means someone else somwhere will have to accept those risks.

    May 3, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dan

    I'll recycle and be more "green" when the people doing the real damage, ie corporations, are truly called on the carpet for their actions.

    May 3, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Blamin Who

    I suppose if you could make a lawsuit against God, you would charge Him with all the Volcanic eruptions on earth. Have Him pay!. Won't that make you feel better. Oh yeah, You don't believe in Him. To Bad. Guess you'll get to trust in yourself and mankind! Oh wow that isn't workin out so well. What to do?

    May 3, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
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