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The Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming addressed our nation's energy, economic and national security challenges during the 110th and 111th Congresses.

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Markey Asks BP for Details, Video of Cap Accident

Chairman Also Seeks Safety Protection Information, Timeline for New Cap Installation, Updated Performance of Current Cap

(June 24, 2010) – Following an accident yesterday that caused the containment cap over the BP oil spill to be removed, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today asked for video and details from the accident. Rep. Markey, who first pushed for BP to make public the video of the undersea operations, also asked for information regarding the safety protections built into the current cap and the timeline for the swapping of containment caps in the coming weeks.

“The end result of this mishap is that thousands more barrels of oil flowed into the sea during the duration of the event. We cannot afford such errors and we need to understand clearly the facts behind it, ” writes Rep. Markey to BP America President Lamar McKay. “We also need to better understand BP’s plans for coping with such a contingency and for moving as quickly as possible to completely shut off the flow from the well.”

In the letter, (click HERE for PDF) Rep. Markey, who chairs the Energy and Environment Subcommittee in the Energy and Commerce Committee, asked the following questions:

1. What was the cause of the vent closing?  Was it bumped by an ROV?  If so, please provide video footage of the bumping incident. If high-definition footage is available, please provide the video in that format.

2. What safety protections are provided with regard to the collection system?  Is it possible for gas to rise through the collection system and create another explosion?  What systems, if any, prevent such a possibility?

3. In terms of oil collection, is the cap, after being replaced, functioning as well as it previously did? Is it performing better?  Or did the incident cause the performance of the cap to worsen?

4. When will the next cap be put in place and what is its current state of readiness?  What are the factors that prevent placement of the cap immediately?  Is the cap already fabricated and in transit or onsite?  Are there additional components of the collection system that require fabrication or transport to the site?  Or is placement of the cap being delayed solely due to the lack of sufficient surface handling capacity?

5. What safety measures devices will be installed on this new cap to prevent accidents, explosions or damage to the well bore?

6. Please summarize the factors that could impact the timing or success of the new cap including, but not limited to the need for fabrication of devices or new tools, arrival of supplies, arrival of processing, handling and storage capacity, and the need for any additional equipment or materials.

7. Please provide copies of all documents in your possession created since April 20, 2010 that relate to plans for efforts to place caps or oil collection systems on the well.  Please provide copies of all such documents that are in your personal possession by close of business on Tuesday June 29th.   Please provide copies of all such documents in the possession of or addressed to, Mr. Tony Hayward, Mr. Doug Suttles, Mr. Bob Dudley and Mr. Kent Wells within one week of receipt of this letter.      


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PLEASE NOTE: The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming was created to explore American clean energy solutions that end our reliance on foreign oil and reduce carbon pollution.

The Select Committee was active during the 110th and 111th Congresses. This is an archived version of the website, to ensure that the public has ongoing access to the Select Committee record. This website, including external links, will not be updated after Jan. 3rd, 2010.

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