Wednesday AM June 2nd, 2010

The BP oil leak in the gulf has been front-page news for several weeks. What’s it like for a retired oil executive to watch this story unfold? Ed Mayberry talked with former Shell Oil CEO John Hofmeister, who’s been on demand by news organizations since the rig explosion.

John HofmeisterThe retired Shell Oil CEO now heads Citizens for Affordable Energy, a non-profit group that tries to educate people about non-partisan affordable energy solutions. John Hofmeister says he watched in horror as the story of the BP explosion and leak began to unfold.

“There’s too much evidence of too many things going wrong in just a very short period of time. That takes me not to equipment failures, but human failures. And whether it was misjudgments, miscommunications, inexperience, let’s identify what it was. I think shutting down all the rigs as though they were Deepwater Horizons waiting to happen is a mistake.”

Hofmeister says we must first find out why the explosion and leak occurred.

“We have to find out what happened to the blowout protector because 35,000 wells have been drilled successfully over 40 years. We’ve never had this before.”

Ed: “And you know, that alone is terrifying to a lot of people that there are 35,000 wells, and it could happen again and again and again.”

“But it doesn’t. Because if this was something systemically wrong in the process of deepwater drilling, we’ve have blowouts by the month.”

Hofmeister says it appears BP may have been taking steps that were economizing the cost of the well and rushing the process. But that will come out in all the investigations, and years of lawsuits.

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