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Lamar McKay, head of BP America, plans to blame the spill on the failure of a Transocean blowout preventer - a series of valves designed to stop oil from escaping, report US media.
But Transocean chief executive Steven Newman is expected to say the spill was caused by the failure of a cement wall built by a BP contractor, Halliburton.
Halliburton executive Tim Probert is expected to argue his firm followed all rules and guidelines.
The hearings of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Environmental and Public Health Committee, will be the first opportunity lawmakers have had to publicly question those involved.
Like BP, both Transocean, which owned the rig, and
Halliburton, a contractor, also pumped money into the campaign
war chests of senators who sit on the Energy and Natural
Resources Committee and the Environment and Public Works
Halliburton has given a total of $3.2 million to federal
candidates since 1990. Transocean and its pre-merger corporate
predecessors -- Sonat Offshore and Sedco Forex -- have
Following is a list of campaign contributions to committee
members by the two companies' political action committees and
Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) started his inquiry into the Deepwater Horizon oil spill Wednesday with sharp words for BP, the well owner; Transocean, which owned the drilling rig; and Halliburton, which cemented the well:
"This catastrophe appears to have been caused by a calamitous series of equipment and operational failures. If the largest oil and oil services companies in the world had been more careful, 11 lives might have been saved and our coastlines protected."
But Waxman immediately focused on Halliburton's cementing job as the first in a complex chain of events that ended with an explosion and fire April 20 that left 11 men missing and presumed dead and started a spill of 5,000 barrels per day that now threatens the coastlines of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
“Before, during or after the cement job, an undetected influx of hydrocarbons entered the wellbore,” Waxman said. "What this means is that there was a breach somewhere in well integrity that allowed methane gas and possibly other hydrocarbons to enter the well."
Oilman, billionaire investor T Boone Pickens reported his first quarter portfolio. These are the details of buys and sells. T Boone Pickens buys Halliburton Company, Dawson Geophysical Company, Baker Hughes Inc., Consol Energy Inc., sells Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., Devon Energy Corp., Fluor Corp., Forest Oil Corp., Foster Wheeler Ag., Gastar Exploration Ltd, Questar Corp. during the 3-months ended 03/31/2010, according to the most recent filings of his investment company, BP Capital. T Boone Pickens owns 15 stocks with a total value of $163 million.
These are the top 5 holdings of T Boone Pickens
Transocean Inc. (RIG) - 345,980 shares, 18.36% of the total portfolio.
McMoRan Exploration Co. (MMR) - 1,186,425 shares, 10.66% of the total portfolio. Shares added by 20.28%
WEATHERFORD INTERNATIONAL, LTD. (SWITZERLAND) (WFT) - 903,781 shares, 8.81% of the total portfolio. Shares added by 46.06%
SANDRIDGE ENERGY INC (SD) - 1,799,860 shares, 8.52% of the total portfolio. Shares added by 14.8%
Smith International Inc. (SII) - 312,285 shares, 8.22% of the total portfolio. Shares added by 58.29%
New Purchase: Halliburton Company (HAL)
T Boone Pickens initiated holdings in Halliburton Company. His purchase prices were between $28.1 and $34.6, with an estimated average price of $31.07. The impact to his portfolio due to this purchase was 4.96%. His holdings were 268,000 shares as of 03/31/2010.
Halliburton Company provides a variety of services, equipment, maintenance, and engineering and construction to energy, industrial and governmental customers. Halliburton Company has a market cap of $25.02 billion; its shares were traded at around $27.64 with a P/E ratio of 23.6 and P/S ratio of 1.7. The dividend yield of Halliburton Company stocks is 1.3%.
BP PLC, owner of the damaged well, predicts it will take 70 to 90 days — perhaps into August — to stab through more than 3 miles of seawater and earth and puncture the vertical pipe that is channeling a torrent of oil and gas to the surface of the Gulf near the Louisiana coast.
"So how the hell are you going to hit something that's 6 inches wide?" said Bill Abel, founder of Abel Engineering & Well Control Co. and someone who has helped do just that about 30 times.
The short answer: decades of practice combined with increasingly precise technology.
According to a history compiled by John Wright, senior vice president for technology at Boots & Coots, one of two primary companies designing relief-well strategies for the BP blowout, the basic concepts in use today were put to work as far back as 1933, on a prolific blowout in Texas.