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Deepwater manager heard yelling "I told you this was gonna happen".


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If even half of this stuff can be proven then it could ruin BP.

"The rig's on fire! I told you this was gonna happen!"

— By Josh Harkinson

| Mon Jun. 7, 2010 3:00 AM PDT

— US Coast Guard/ZUMApress.com

A prominent Houston attorney with a long record of winning settlements from oil companies says he has new evidence suggesting that the Deepwater Horizon's top managers knew of problems with the rig before it exploded last month, causing the worst oil spill in US history. Tony Buzbee, a lawyer representing 15 rig workers and dozens of shrimpers, seafood restaurants, and dock workers, says he has obtained a three-page signed statement from a crew member on the boat that rescued the burning rig's workers. The sailor, who Buzbee refuses to name for fear of costing him his job, was on the ship's bridge when Deepwater Horizon installation manager Jimmy Harrell, a top employee of rig owner Transocean, was speaking with someone in Houston via satellite phone. Buzbee told Mother Jones that, according to this witness account, Harrell was screaming, "Are you ******* happy? Are you ******* happy? The rig's on fire! I told you this was gonna happen."

Whoever was on the other end of the line was apparently trying to calm Harrell down. "I am ******* calm," he went on, according to Buzbee. "You realize the rig is burning?"

At that point, the boat's captain asked Harrell to leave the bridge. It wasn't clear whether Harrell had been talking to Transocean, BP, or someone else.

On Friday a spokesman for Transocean said he couldn't confirm or deny whether the conversation took place. He was unable to make Harrell available for an interview.

During hearings held late last month by the Coast Guard and the Minerals Management Service, Harrell denied any conflicts with his BP or Transocean bosses. He said that he did not feel pressured to rush the completion of the well, even though the rig had fallen behind schedule.

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Yet Buzbee's claims add weight to other statements that contradict Harrell's version of events. Testifying before the Coast Guard and MMS panel last month, Douglas Brown, the chief mechanic on the Deepwater Horizon, said that on the morning of the day that the rig exploded Harrell had a "skirmish" over drilling procedures during a meeting with BP's "company man," well site leader Robert Kaluza. "I remember the company man saying this is how it's going to be," Brown told the panel. As Harrell was leaving the meeting, according to Brown, "He pretty much grumbled, 'I guess that's what we have those pincers for,'" referring to the blowout preventer on the sea floor that is supposed to be the last resort to prevent a leak in the event of an emergency. The blowout preventer failed following the explosion on the rig, causing the massive spill. (Transocean's chief electronics technician, Mike Williams, also recalled the argument but named a different BP "company man," BP's top official on the rig, Donald Vidrine).

In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, Transocean appeared to back the claims that Harrell had feuded with BP: "The testimony certainly seems to suggest that [Harrell] disagreed with the operator's instructions, but what those were and why he disagreed are matters that will ultimately be determined during the course of investigations."

Other rig workers have also claimed that they were pressured by BP and their supervisors to cut corners. Transocean roustabout Truitt Crawford told the Coast Guard that he overheard senior management saying that BP was "taking shortcuts" by replacing drilling mud in the well with saltwater, which would have provided less weight to contain the well's surging pressure. Transocean's Williams told 60 Minutes that a supervisor had dismissed evidence that the well's blowout preventer had been damaged. And workers with Halliburton, the well's cementing contractor, had complained that BP's use of cement "was against our best practices" and told the oil company that it would likely have "a SEVERE gas flow problem" unless the well's casings were centered more carefully.

Buzbee told Mother Jones that the sailor's version of Harrell's phone conversation following the explosion was corroborated by a statement from a second crew member who says he also overheard the call. Both statements were taken in-person by Buzbee's investigator and safety consultant, who has interviewed some 60 people involved in the disaster, and signed by the witnesses, he said. Buzbee declined to make the full statements available to Mother Jones because, he said, "it is work product, meaning that it is something that I do not have to produce or disclose in litigation but that can be used at the right time in the litigation." He added that he intends to take a deposition from the crew members at a later time.

Buzbee's case against the operators of the Deepwater Horizon is hardly his first foray into suing major oil companies. After a BP refinery in Texas City exploded in 2005, killing 15 workers and injuring dozens more, he won $100 million in punitive damages from the company. In the wake of the 2002 shipwreck of the Prestige oil tanker, which devastated the coast of Galicia, he won a $70 million settlement for Spain's Basque government from the American Bureau of Shipping, which had inspected and approved the vessel. And he's also nabbed $15 million from Transocean and $6.2 million from Halliburton for injured offshore oil workers.

Yet Buzbee is convinced that the Gulf oil spill lawsuit will be his biggest ever. "It's the grandaddy of all cases," he said. "This is going to define BP and whether BP survives. This is going to be the biggest case in the history of the United States, no doubt about it."

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It's almost like you get up in the morning, grab your coffee and then sit down at the computer searching for this stuff. We get it! You don't like BP or any other corporation. :rolleyes:

I read the news, and this is what's in the news. And you're blind if you can't see the implication of this article and the possibility that BP might have knowingly cut corners that led to this disaster.

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I read the news, and this is what's in the news. And you're blind if you can't see the implication of this article and the possibility that BP might have knowingly cut corners that led to this disaster.

I think everyone pretty much already knows BP cut corners.

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It is obvious that BP cut corners that caused this to happen. It is also obvious that our government had a big part to play in the cause of all of this. Although pointing the finger isnt going to accomplish a **** thing rite now.

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I read the news, and this is what's in the news. And you're blind if you can't see the implication of this article and the possibility that BP might have knowingly cut corners that led to this disaster.

Now I'm waiting for the fallout at the Department of the Interior since we've both acknowledged they have to shoulder the blame too for not doing their jobs...

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Now I'm waiting for the fallout at the Department of the Interior since we've both acknowledged they have to shoulder the blame too for not doing their jobs...

The head of the MMS is gone, which is a good start. I'm all in favor of completely restaffing the MMS and restructuring Interior, along with ending the cozy relationship between the industry and the regulators and implementing extremely tough new safety regulations on offshore drilling. That's why they stopped all deepwater drilling for six months.

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It is obvious that BP cut corners that caused this to happen. It is also obvious that our government had a big part to play in the cause of all of this. Although pointing the finger isnt going to accomplish a **** thing rite now.

The point is that the investigations and lawsuits could destroy BP.

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I didn't read the article because quite frankly, the constant cut and paste is getting old. We know who is culpable for the spill and who will be responsible for cleaning it up and we all know that in the future more safety precautions will be taken. This is just another "Hey! Lets point more fingers to pinpoint the blame." article.

My point was that you seem to be beating a dead horse, IMO. I am more worried about stopping the leak and cleaning it up. That seems to be the bigger issue at hand right now.

Actually, I'm not fully convinced that BP's decisions directly led to the spill. I'm strongly suspicious, but still holding off judgment until more facts and evidence comes to light. This article provides some pretty damning evidence against BP, which you would know if you bothered to read it before making a snarky response.

Of course, you're not here to discuss this. You're here to make childish little digs. We get it.

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The head of the MMS is gone, which is a good start. I'm all in favor of completely restaffing the MMS and restructuring Interior, along with ending the cozy relationship between the industry and the regulators and implementing extremely tough new safety regulations on offshore drilling. That's why they stopped all deepwater drilling for six months.

And I'd rather the government set the standards and practices businesses should follow and contract an independent examiner for enforcement followed by fines and uncapped liability to those not in compliance but that's where we differ...

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I'd rather them be destroyed by having to clean it up, not line some lawyers pockets.

11 people are dead. If their deaths were caused by corporate profit driving safety concerns then people should go to jail and the company should pay out its a** in punitive damages. Lawyers SHOULD be involved in this as well as the Justice Department to see if there is a criminal/civil liability involved.

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But an even better idea is to forbid these govt regulators ot family members from being able to work for the industry for at least 8 years or letting former oil executives or family members become govt. regulators for the same length too. This is just like with Madoff and the Wall Street mess the industry and govt. people are all the same.

This is a point I've been making for a week now--this is indicative of a larger problem that goes beyond BP and the oil spill.

They used to teach a concept called the "iron triangle" in government classes, and it's something the country needs to reconsider. You have a very tight relationship between congressional committees who fund executive agencies, the bureaucrats in the agency who are tight with the industry, and the industry who donates to committee members and cozy up to the regulators in the agency. We need to figure out a way to break up these tight relationships or we're going to keep having these problems (finance sector collapse, housing collapse, oil spill, etc).

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Just to be contrary, I wonder how many people would be somewhat apologetic to BP if it turned out that this Harrell person sabotaged the rig & the pincers because he was pissed off after that meeting. Of course not meaning to cause the deaths & size of the leak that have happened since, just that he wanted enough of something to happen to prove his point. BP probably still took shortcuts that prolonged this disaster, but if they were not the root cause, would that affect how people felt about BP or would it be ignored?

Not saying I believe that to be the case, just throwing it out there. Something about this whole incident has seemed fishy to me ever since it happened, like there is more to the story than we know right now.

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Cause. Reaction. Solution.

We are in the Reaction phase now...just waiting for the outrage when this stuff hits the beaches of Destin & Panama City Beach.

Not sure what the solution phase will be. Most likely Government seizes control over oil companies or promotes more dirty technologies such as nuclear. Who knows...

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Cause. Reaction. Solution.

We are in the Reaction phase now...just waiting for the outrage when this stuff hits the beaches of Destin & Panama City Beach.

Not sure what the solution phase will be. Most likely Government seizes control over oil companies or promotes more dirty technologies such as nuclear. Who knows...

Nuclear...the least dirty of all large scale energy possibilities. It's not perfect, but the irony of the current status quo is that it isn't being pursued domestically because fear mongers have said it's dirty, while not allowing it to be clean. They could easily reuse spent fuel rods, but that would give them less weapons grade uranium to process.

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I think everyone pretty much already knows BP cut corners.

BP got 783 OSHA violations and the biggest in history in 2005, when their plant exploded and they didn't fix it they got fined again. The best, Exxon they got one, guess they learned fron the Valdez.

Its a known thing that BP did cut corners and rush people. I hope some people go to jail from all this. They shouldn't be called BP they should change their name to GREED. :P

I work around Engineers all day where I work, and there are some really smart ones and also there are some really dumb ones too. BP gots the motherload of that. :P

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BP got 783 OSHA violations and the biggest in history in 2005, when their plant exploded and they didn't fix it they got fined again. The best, Exxon they got one, guess they learned fron the Valdez.

Its a known thing that BP did cut corners and rush people. I hope some people go to jail from all this. They shouldn't be called BP they should change their name to GREED. :P

I work around Engineers all day where I work, and there are some really smart ones and also there are some really dumb ones too. BP gots the motherload of that. :P

Cowboys in hard hats. Git-r-dun. Shut and and drill that hole boy, we`ll tell you when to stop. Companies like this have to go down in flames to show the others what will happen to you if you act this way.

This is BP, this is what they do, these are their core values, this is how they roll.

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