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BP had 760 safety violations in the past five years and paid $373 million in fines, Sullivan said. By contrast, Sunoco and ConocoPhillips each had eight safety violations and ExxonMobil just one, Sullivan said.
"How in the heck do you explain that?" he asked Hayward. Hayward said most of those violations predated his tenure as CEO. "We have made major changes in the company over the last three to four years," he said.
An estimated 73.5 million to 126 million gallons of oil has come out of the breached wellhead, whether into the water or captured.
The reservoir that feeds the well still holds about 2 billion gallons of oil, according to the first public estimate Hayward has given of the size of the undersea oil field.
That means the reservoir is believed to still hold 94 percent to 97 percent of its oil. At the current flow rate, it would take from two years to nearly four years for all the oil to be drained from it.
In addition, tsunamis of 20 to 80 feet could inundate the Gulf of Mexico coast when enough oil has flowed out of the reservoir to normalize the pressure. At that point, it is believed, sea water will be sucked in to the cavity by the ocean pressure. The water will evaporate to steam at the temperatures of 400 degrees centigrade, which are found in the deep sea rock. The steam will expand in volume and could generate enough pressure to blow the Gulf of Mexico sea bed apart, tiggering gigantic tsumani waves that could reach up to 200 miles inland.