Documents Show BP Hired Construction Crew Outside Home Depot
Washington, DC - House Energy and Commerce Committee Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) has released BP internal documents revealing that the company hired the bulk of its construction crew for its doomed Deepwater Horizon rig from a day laborer shelter outside the Lafayette, Louisiana Home Depot.
Under grueling and often outraged questioning from Waxman and other committee members, BP CEO Tony Hayward admitted that “some cost-cutting measures were necessary to get the project up and running within budget.” According to internal documents, BP’s hiring of the workers was “common practice” in their business. “We’ve had great experience with this work pool,” Hayward said. “And given the number of unemployed people in Louisiana, you’d think the U.S. would be a bit more grateful for our use of their workforce.”
Waxman’s report revealed that the decision saved BP $7 million to $10 million; the original cost estimate for the well was about $96 million. "In preparing for a cementing job to close up the well, BP rejected the Halliburton company’s recommendation to use 21 "centralizers" to make sure the casing ran down the center of the well bore. Instead, BP used six centralizers,” Waxman said. “Four of which were purchased in the plumbing department of the very Home Depot where the workers were hired.”
“Isn’t drilling an oil well a highly dangerous procedure, requiring a high degree of experience in engineering and physics?” Waxman said at one point, “and weren’t these largely unskilled laborers?
“Certainly not,” Hayward insisted. “We asked them straightaway about their qualifications, and found many of them were not only experienced deep water drilling engineers but also painters, dry wall hangers, landscapers, desalinization experts, and even one gentleman who said he could do lasik surgery. There was certainly no lack of skill there. We did our due diligence. And Home Depot has given us a full refund on the centralizers, as they did on many of the parts we used on the rig.” None of the workers was available for comment, and Home Depot’s spokesman had not returned phone calls at press time.
Meanwhile, Waxman has subpoenaed documents that he says will show that BP also put up numerous ads under an alias to acquire parts from Craigslist.