Thứ Tư, 8 tháng 9, 2010

'Many failures' caused BP spill

8 September 2010 Last updated at 13:22 GMT

Eleven people were killed and 17 people were injured in the explosion

A "sequence of failures involving a number of different parties" was to blame for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, BP says.
An investigation carried out by BP said it was responsible in part for the disaster, but it also blamed other companies working on the well.
BP faces billions of dollars-worth of legal claims for compensation over the spill, the worst in recent US history.
An estimated 4.9m barrels of oil leaked into the Gulf after the blast.
The well was capped on 15 July, and an operation to permanently seal it is due to take place in the next few weeks.
In the 193-page internal report released on its website, BP said that decisions made by "multiple companies and work teams" contributed to the accident, which it said arose from "a complex and interlinked series of mechanical failures, human judgements, engineering design, operational implementation and team interfaces".
BP was leasing the Deepwater Horizon rig from Transocean, and its cement contractor was Halliburton.
'Bad cement'
The report, conducted by BP's head of safety, Mark Bly, highlighted eight key failures that, in combination, led to the explosion.
BP said that both BP and Transocean staff incorrectly interpreted a safety test which should have flagged up risks of a blowout.

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It is in BP's recommendations for change that many will see the real story”
"Over a 40-minute period, the Transocean rig crew failed to recognise and act on the influx of hydrocarbons into the well" which eventually caused the explosion.
BP criticised the cementing of the well - carried out by Halliburton - and repeated previous criticism of the blowout preventer.
"To put it simply, there was a bad cement job and a failure of the shoe track barrier at the bottom of the well, which let hydrocarbons from the reservoir into the production casing," said outgoing chief executive Tony Hayward.
"The negative pressure test was accepted when it should not have been, there were failures in well control procedures and in the blowout preventer; and the rig's fire and gas system did not prevent ignition," he said.

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Engineering expert Professor Geoffrey Maitland on the implications of BP's report
The blowout preventer that failed was recovered from the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday and transported to a Nasa facility near New Orleans where it will be placed in the custody of the US Justice Department and examined.
Transocean and Halliburton have not yet commented on the report.
'Lessons for future'
BP's incoming chief executive Bob Dudley said the report proved that the explosion was "a shared responsibility among many entities".
The company said it had accepted all the recommendations in the report, and would implement them worldwide.

"We are determined to learn the lessons for the future and we will be undertaking a broad-scale review to further improve the safety of our operations... to ensure that a tragedy like this can never happen again," Mr Dudley said in a statement.
BP's shares rose after the report was published at 1100 GMT (1200 BST).
BP says dealing with the aftermath of the spill has cost $8bn (£5.2bn), and it has already paid out about $399m in claims to people affected by the spill.
The leak caused widespread disruption to jobs in the fishing and tourism industries along the US Gulf Coast.
A national commission is expected to submit a report to President Barack Obama by mid-January next year. A Congressional joint investigation will submit a report later than month.
The US Justice Department is also investigating the disaster, but its investigations will only conclude when lawyers and investigators have found evidence, or not, of criminal wrongdoing.

Tommy Smith's switch from Portsmouth to QPR in doubt

Tommy Smith
Smith made 22 appearances for Portsmouth
The Football League have rejected the permanent transfer of Tommy Smith from Portsmouth to QPR because of an alleged administrative problem.
QPR agreed a deal with the 30-year-old forward on transfer deadline day, but it is believed the paperwork was submitted after the 1800 BST cut off.
Both club's are now working on a loan deal to send Smith to Loftus Road ahead of a permanent transfer in January.
The three-year deal was reportedly worth around £1.5m.
Portsmouth's administrator Andrew Andronikou told Portsmouth Today: "The authorities reckon the Tommy Smith deal to QPR was completed at 1802 BST or something like that.
"This puts more work on us but we are determined to see it through, even if we have to get the player on loan instead."
This is the second deal Portsmouth have had rejected by the Football League in as many days, with Liam Lawrence's switch from Stoke to Fratton Park being upheld after the same administrative problems occurred.

Fabio Capello pleased with Wayne Rooney display

Rooney (right) repaid Capello's faith with the first goal against Switzerland
England manager Fabio Capello praised Wayne Rooney's display in the Euro 2012 qualifying win over Switzerland.
Rooney, who is the subject of newspaper allegations about his private life, scored the first England goal in a 3-1 win in Basle on Tuesday night.
"The pressure was on Rooney but he played very well," said Capello.
"The players want to play without other things on their minds. They can focus on the game alone. He did that. He and the others were happy at the end."
Rooney scored the opener after 10 minutes, a lead that England held until half-time, with Capello describing it as the best first-half performance of his time in charge of the national side.
Adam Johnson made it 2-0 and, despite Xherdan Shaqiri pulling one back for the Swiss, Darren Bent's late effort wrapped up the win.
Rooney was taken off in the 79th minute but had done enough to justify his selection after a difficult few days off the pitch.
The News of the World and the Sunday Mirror newspapers alleged Rooney slept with a prostitute while his wife Coleen was pregnant with their son.
Capello played Rooney just behind striker Jermain Defoe in the 4-0 win over Bulgaria last Friday and used him in the same position against Switzerland.
"He played in a position that he played against Bulgaria, in the hole," added Capello after England went top of Group C with a 100% record after two games.
"This position is good for him. It's easy for him to get into positions to shoot at goal."
Rooney's performance and attitude - following on from the striker's positive showing in the 4-0 win over Bulgaria last Friday - also received a seal of approval from captain Steven Gerrard.
"All the talk in the build-up was about Wayne but we showed a great togetherness and the early goal for Wayne did him the world of good," said Gerrard. "Over the two games he's been fantastic for us.
"People said the Swiss players might try to wind him up but I wouldn't say that was the case.
"I think they are an honest team and they have a good record, especially at home.
"People were talking about them being difficult to play against, hard to score against and hard to break down.
"But I thought we tore them apart at times and Wayne played a big part in that."
Impressive Manchester City winger Johnson, who replaced Theo Walcott after the Arsenal forward injured his ankle in the build-up to the opening goal, also praised Rooney for his professionalism.
"He's a football player and when he's out on the pitch everything gets forgotten about," stated Johnson.
"He is there to do a job for his country and he showed that by coming back and scoring a vital goal for us."
Bent, who scored England's third goal two minutes from time after replacing Defoe in attack, claimed Rooney's display in Switzerland - and the win over Bulgaria - showed that the striker is "back to his best".
"He is a fantastic player and one that England need out on the pitch firing like he was today," said Bent.
"We've come to expect that kind of performance from him so when he's not 100% people notice it.
"But tonight he was rip-roaring and the other night he played really well."
Capello was delighted with his team's performance in the first half as they dominated the Swiss and could have gone in more than one goal up at half-time.
Wayne Rooney (left) and Adam Johnson (right)
Rooney (left) congratulates Johnson (right) on his goal
"The performance of the team in the first half was one of the best of the last two years," commented the Italian.
"To play here against Switzerland is not easy. The fans, the stadium, the pitch, everything makes it very difficult to play here.
"But we played very well and with confidence and that is very important."
England eased off after the break but their showing was still in stark contrast to a string of poor performances in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Asked about the difference, Capello responded: "You know my answer. We are really good in this period because we are fresh.
"All the players can run, their minds are free. Everything they try to do comes off."
And captain Gerrard believes the two recent displays are positive early steps in the process of rebuilding confidence following the disappointing showing in South Africa.
"I think all the players realised that over in South Africa it wasn't good enough so we needed to re-group," claimed the Liverpool midfielder.
"We need to stick together and try and raise the performance levels. I think over the last two games we have certainly done that.
"I just think we've re-grouped. Everyone was hurt and disappointed by letting the nation down over in South Africa.
"We know we have to put it right but it's important not to get carried away by these two results.
"It's going to be a long time and a long process before we're really back."(

U.S. arms makers adjust to new realities

(Reuters) - The Pentagon's leading suppliers face a dangerous world on a tightening budget.

Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) and Boeing Co (BA.N) are culling their executive ranks and scouting acquisitions to plug gaps in the face of a U.S. defense budget that is growing far slower than in years past, company executives said.

"We are absolutely convinced in our company that we're looking at a new reality that will change the strategic operational and financial landscape of our business for the foreseeable future," Lockheed Chief Executive Robert Stevens told the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit in Washington, which continues on Wednesday.

For a graphic on Defense Dept procurement

Stevens said hundreds of executives could take buyouts at Lockheed. Boeing's head of defense, Dennis Muilenburg, said Boeing would trim management staff 10 percent at its military aircraft business, which makes fighter jets, cargo planes and refueling aircraft among others.

Another summit guest, the head of the U.S. unit of Australia's Austal (ASB.AX), Joseph Rella, skipped the usual car service for his appearance at Reuters' offices. He arrived in a rental car.

"We're watching our overhead," he said.

Rella isn't the only one watching overhead. In June, Defense Secretary Robert Gates launched a drive to squeeze $100 billion from Pentagon overhead over five years.

The Pentagon said it expects growth of 1 percent after inflation in President Barack Obama's fiscal 2012 budget request, despite cuts expected in other government accounts.

The outlook may spur more mergers and acquisitions, particularly among businesses specializing in cybersecurity, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and unmanned vehicles.

For example, Boeing is "actively" looking at potential acquisitions and will not rule out a merger with another large defense contractor, Muilenburg said on Tuesday.

Both Lockheed and Boeing, the Pentagon's No. 1 and 2 suppliers respectively, hailed newly announced export control reforms, as well as new plans to extend and expand tax credits for research and development.

Lockheed said the loosening of export controls would help boost its international sales from the current 14 percent of overall revenue to a goal of about 20 percent over "the next few years."

"I think our customers are demanding newer levels of productivity and efficiency," Boeing's Muilenburg said. "We're fully supporting that initiative."

(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman and Kyle Peterson)(

China needs political reforms for future growth

Thirty years ago, a small fishing village called Shenzhen led China’s economic miracle. Now, it has a more challenging mission. President Hu Jintao said Shenzhen should test political reforms. Although changes may be disruptive in the short run, more checks and balances and rule of law are key for sustainable growth.
China’s authoritarian system has shown its merit during the global financial crisis. When Western banks stopped lending, China’s state-owned banks kept pumping credit into the system. The centrally planned economy was also good at funnelling cheap capital and resources to industries. That has helped China to continue its transition from a poor rural economy into a global manufacturing powerhouse.
Yet the shortcomings of the system have also become more evident. A centralised government overwhelms the power of the market. New policies aimed at rebalancing this face resistance from various interest groups. One of China’s biggest challenges is to get its people to spend. But as long as the state controls the bulk of the wealth and power, ordinary people can’t afford to consume more.
More balanced growth requires political reforms. Beijing needs to let the market play a bigger role in setting input prices, if it is serious about promoting energy efficiency and technological advances. Citizens need to have more voting power in order to create checks and balances in the system. Rule of law is needed for economic and political stability.
Those changes may be painful in the short term. Market-based input prices will make Chinese goods more expensive. Local government and powerful interest groups will resist changes. Democracy can’t be learned in a day.
Yet China can’t afford not to change. To reduce wasteful investment, China needs to reduce the concentration of resources at the state level and give people more wealth. As ordinary Chinese get richer, they will demand more political rights.
Thirty years of economic success has made the Communist Party popular and powerful. China’s future hinges on whether some of that power and wealth is shared more evenly with its people.(

Japan's intervention hints fail to halt yen

(Reuters) - Japan's finance minister acknowledged currency intervention is an option for the first time since the yen's 14 percent rise since May, and a candidate to become prime minister sanctioned solo intervention as the yen jumped to a 15-year high versus the dollar.

Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda sharpened his rhetoric on foreign exchange on Wednesday as a rise in the yen underlined concerns that the currency's strength could hurt exports, heighten deflationary pressures and therefore derail a fragile economic recovery.

Political powerbroker Ichiro Ozawa, who is challenging Prime Minister Naoto Kan in a close-fought ruling party leadership race, later said Japan should take all possible steps to counter the rising currency including market intervention, even if solo action is ineffective.

Investors initially ignored Noda's comments and pushed the yen to a 15-year high of 83.34 yen per dollar, doubting that Japan would risk going solo and all but ruling out coordinated intervention with other Group of Seven countries.

The yen later gave back some of its gains.

A report showing Japanese machinery orders rose by the most in seven months in July did little to ease concern that a surging yen could undermine the country's important export sector, seen as critical to the recovery from the global economic crisis.

The Bank of Japan has indicated it is willing to ease monetary policy to help the economy, but is likely to bide its time until the ruling party settles a routine leadership contest with a vote on September 14.

As the yen surged, the Nikkei average fell 2.2 percent to its lowest close in a week on worries about the potential hit to export earnings.

Japanese officials have been trying to talk down the yen but so far their comments have had little effect as it keeps rising due to concerns about a slowdown in the global economy and the health of the European banking system.

"Basically, it is important to closely communicate with the international community, and we are currently making efforts on this," Finance Minister Noda told lawmakers in parliament.

"In the end, we will take decisive measures including intervention when needed."

The remarks indicated a shift in Noda's language. Previously he has repeatedly declined to comment on intervention when asked about it by the media.

The government will make necessary preparations for intervention, which should be conducted in the most effective way possible, Parliamentary Secretary of Finance Hiroshi Ogushi said.

Meanwhile Ozawa told reporters Japan should intervene and sell the yen even if solo action was likely to be ineffective. He had said last week Japan should be prepared to act on currencies.

"They are trying to talk as much as they can, but we think actual intervention is unlikely because other G7 countries wouldn't cooperate," said Thomas Harr, head of Asian foreign exchange strategy at Standard Chartered in Singapore.

"The most likely outcome is more easing from the BOJ, which may be some measures to lower short-term interest rates."

Kan has vowed to take firm measures against currencies when needed in a plan to boost jobs and the economy.

Japan has not intervened in the currency market since March 2004, after spending 35 trillion yen ($420 billion) over a 15-month period to support an economic recovery.


Japan's core private-sector machinery orders, a highly volatile data series seen as a leading indicator of capital spending, rose 8.8 percent in July, a Cabinet Office report showed.

That was the biggest gain since a 15.4 percent rise in December and above the median market forecast for a 1.8 percent increase.

But economists say strong gains in corporate spending are unlikely to last because of the damage a rising yen can do to corporate sentiment.

"Given the yen's rise and a slowdown in overseas economies, corporate investment will likely remain sluggish even if it picks up from low levels," said Junko Nishioka, chief economist for Japan at RBS Securities in Tokyo.

"As markets focus on the yen's strength, the government should take steps to help financing of small firms. The BOJ, meanwhile, should strengthen its monetary easing stance even if it risks being criticized for bowing to government pressure."

Ozawa said there was limited room for the BOJ to tackle the rising yen via policy steps even as he urged aggressive action on other fronts, including considering further debt issuance if necessary to fund steps to bolster a faltering economy.

The BOJ stood pat on monetary policy on Tuesday but vowed timely action when needed, setting the stage for possible easing next month.

By then, the leader of the ruling Democratic Party will be known and the central bank will have a clearer idea about what damage the yen is doing to Japan's exports.

BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa reiterated on Wednesday his reluctance to return to quantitative easing to support the flagging recovery but indicated he was weighing the options.

(Editing by Michael Watson & Kazunori Takada)