Must see: Frontline’s “The Spill”

A new hour-long documentary produced by PBS and ProPublica really pissed me off. It’s called The Spill, and it documents the habitual misdemeanors of BP since their rise from a small oil refinery in the 80s to the fourth largest company in the world.

The standout revelations for me:

  • March, 2005: An explosion in a Texas refinery killed 15 workers; 170 were injured. The refinery was part of an acquisition of Amoco, and both companies were aware of the antiquated blowdown drums yet decided to “bank” the $150,000 instead of fixing it.
  • Another incident in 2002 involved a worker who was seriously injured after an oil well he was inspecting blew up. He settled with BP for an undisclosed sum and agreed to never talk to the media about it for the rest of his life.
  • In July 2005, Hurricane Dennis swirled over the Gulf of Mexico; in its path was Thunder Horse, BP’s showcase platform, which towered 43 stories above the water… ProPublica reporter Abrahm Lustgarten explains: ‘It turns out that BP engineers had incorrectly installed a number of valves that are meant to control the flow of water in the supports that keep the rig afloat. And the rig, as a result, took on water instead of shedding it.'”


For more, check out the PBS documentary and ProPublica’s report.