BP chief executive Tony Hayward (in a stiff British accent): “Members of congress, I come here not to apologize but to express my irritation at being here in the first place. BP is a foreign company, and we operated Deepwater in the Gulf of Mexico as an offshore facility regulated as a ship (not a drilling well) under US law. Everything we did was acceptable under US law. We cut corners and costs, in order to produce the oil demanded by your people. Our suppliers such as Halliburton and Transocean are American companies so this is all your fault really. You bought our oil for all this time, and made our shareholders rich, so thank you for that.
“Accidents happen, and I am afraid you will have to live with the consequences of this one. Look at the positive side of things. If no oil had leaked, we would have simply sold all of it to your SUV drivers and the resulting carbon dioxide – or C02 – emissions would have polluted the whole world. Instead, all that leaking oil only pollutes the waters off the southern USA, a relatively small part of the world.
“If you don’t like my answer, I have one word for you: Bhopal.”
A fictitious exchange between BP and the US Congress, in a parallel universe.
Watching Hayward being mauled in front of congress on Thursday, the thoughts in the back of my mind related not so much to sympathy for the American point of view but rather for the CEO. Instead of agreeing with the generally held opinion that BP is to blame for all the problems in the Gulf of Mexico – a view that has been cemented by an apparent history of cost-cutting that led to the mishap – my feelings are now tending towards the Karmic perspective, that is, that what BP is doing to America is pretty much what American companies have done and are doing to the rest of the world.