Congress Grills Oil Executives on Preparation for Major Spill

Associated Press + More

McKay said "those were not BP's estimates" but those of the government's "unified command" dealing with the response. "We are sorry for everything the Gulf coast is going through," McKay finally said.

So far, 114 million gallons of oil have poured into the Gulf under the worst-case scenario described by scientists — a rate of more than 2 million gallons a day. BP has collected 5.6 million gallons of oil through its latest containment cap on top of the well, or about 630,000 gallons per day.

Waxman's committee released documents that showed BP made a series of money-saving shortcuts and blunders that dramatically increased the danger of a destructive spill from a well that an engineer ominously described as a "nightmare" just six days before the April blowout.

Investigators found that BP was badly behind schedule on the project and losing hundreds of thousands of dollars with each passing day, and responded by cutting corners in the well design, cementing and drilling efforts and the installation of key safety devices.

"Time after time, it appears that BP made decisions that increased the risk of a blowout to save the company time or expense," Waxman and Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., chairman of the committee's investigations panel, wrote in a letter.

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