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BP Responds to CBS News Stories

Release Date: 13 December 2012

Today’s CBS News stories on the Macondo well are misleading. We have requested that CBS correct the record based on the facts below and that any subsequent reporting on this subject online and on the air also reflect these facts.

First, the U.S. Coast Guard has been clear that the Macondo well and associated relief wells are secure and the wells are not leaking.  The integrity of the wells has been confirmed three times since 2010.  That confirmation came through three ROV inspections, each under Coast Guard supervision, and was communicated to the public in press releases from BP and the Coast Guard. The joint BP/Transocean inspection presently underway, which was also announced via Coast Guard press release and is also being conducted at the direction of the Coast Guard is intended to determine whether there is residual oil trapped under wreckage on the sea floor that may be leaking.

Second, the Coast Guard has said that the observed sheens are not recoverable and pose no risk to the shoreline.  That essential fact was omitted from the story that aired on CBS This Morning. Contrary to the assertions in subsequent CBS stories online, the Coast Guard, not BP, made that statement in a press release dated October 10, 2012.

Third, the vague description of the containment dome likely led many in the CBS audience to believe incorrectly that this piece of equipment was used to seal the Macondo well. While the containment dome was used during the response efforts to contain the oil, it was removed when it failed to work. The containment dome, or cofferdam, is an 86-ton, steel container that was lowered over a leaking drill pipe during the Deepwater Horizon response in 2010 in an attempt to capture the oil and funnel it to the surface. It now sits on the sea floor over 1500 feet away from the Macondo well. After oil droplets were seen emanating from the containment dome ROV’s capped the dome and plugged those openings in October.

Fourth, CBS’ characterization that this is a “little-known subsea mission,” which suggests that this work is being carried out in secret, coupled with language such as “CBS News has learned,” is misleading and sensationalizes facts that are widely available to the public. The Coast Guard announced the current investigation in a press release dated November 23, 2012.  Similarly, the Coast Guard and BP announced prior ROV surveys and their results in multiple press releases.  The reality is that numerous media outlets have been following the story since mid-September, when BP first reported the sheen to the National Response Center.

Finally, in addition to its press releases, the Coast Guard has posted video clips of subsea surveys at These clips come from hundreds of hours of video provided to the Coast Guard by BP.

Geoff Morrell

VP, Head of US Communications

Further Information:
Name: BP US Press Office
Phone: (281) 366-4463
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