BP’s Tony Hayward to be grilled by MPs next week

Prepare for a media scrum next Wednesday. Tony Hayward, BP’s outgoing chief executive, will be grilled by the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee next week as part of its inquiry into the risks of deepwater drilling in the UK following the company’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

It will be Mr Hayward’s first appearance in public for several weeks and will no doubt be watched closely not just by the rest of the oil industry but also by lawmakers in the US. Mr Hayward’s was grilled mercilessly by a House of Representatives committee in Washington, DC in June over the accident on April 20 which killed 11 workers.

Expect next week’s evidence session to be somewhat less antagonistic: not only is Mr Hayward being replaced by Bob Dudley in October but since that time BP has also capped the Macondo well and is in the process of finally sealing it completely.

The UK oil group’s report into the accident of April 20, published yesterday, found that a sequence of events, rather than one single incident, was to blame for the disaster. BP has taken some of the blame but also said its contractors, notably Transocean, the company that owned and operated the Deepwater Horizon rig, as well as Halliburton, the company responsible for the cement, should shoulder a large part of the responsibility.

Mr Hayward will be joined at the session by Mark Bly, BP’s head of safety and author of the company’s report on the accident, and Bernard Looney, who heads up BP’s north sea operations.

MPs are investigating the perils of deepwater drilling in the UK. Unlike the US, the UK has not imposed a moratorium, arguing that its safety regime is robust.

You can watch the session live online. It starts at 1515 GMT on September 15.

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