Matthew Simmons, CEO, Simmons & Company International
CRUMPTON: Which makes what you're telling me even a little bit more ironic?
CRUMPTON: Alright, Mr. Simmons, we're going to ask you to stay with us through the break, because we have a few more questions about you.
Matt Simmons, he's the chairman emeritus of Simmons and Company International. More on what's been going on as the recovery and containment efforts continue in the Gulf Coast following the massive spill.
And of course we're going to continue to monitor hearings on Capitol Hill as executives testify about what caused the disaster, and how to avoid another devastating environmental event.
We'll continue to follow all of this as we come back.
CRUMPTON: Welcome back to Bloomberg News. I'm Mark Crumpton. Thank you so much for staying with us. Continuing our conversation now about the fallout from the BP oil spill with Matt Simmons, founder and chairman emeritus of Simmons and Company International. Thank you so much for staying with us through the break.
SIMMONS: You're very welcome.
CRUMPTON: We were talking about drilling and the depths of drilling. When the industry started to drill deeper and deeper, did it fully consider the probabilities of what might happen?
SIMMONS: You know, there was such a difference between going deeper and deeper water dips. And the perfect safety record we had. And then two or three years ago, the oil companies - it wasn't the drilling companies - the oil companies decided there's just not a lot left to drill for until we go to ultra-deep formations.
And I think maybe they didn't put two and two together and realize -
CRUMPTON: Define ultra-deep formations.
SIMMONS: Well, deep water is 1,000 feet. Ultra-deep is 3,000 feet. This was a mile underwater. And we'd been successfully down to two miles underwater.
That still wasn't that big a risk as long as you stayed at shallow to intermediate pressures. But when you started going down in these very deep vertical depths, we really got ahead of ourselves. And they say that the bottom hull pressure, there might have been as high as 30,000 to 40,000 pounds per square inch, and the sub-sea blowout (ph) preventer is - at best is rated for 15.
CRUMPTON: Which means you're in dangerous territory.
SIMMONS: Yes, yes, if you got a kick, the odds were very low that anything could have been done.
CRUMPTON: Mr. Simmons, what are you expecting to come out of these Congressional hearings? Are we going to get to the bottom of this? Is the truth going to come out?
SIMMONS: Well, I would think that through it all, we'll learn a lot more. We hopefully will learn how safe that the industry -
CRUMPTON: Which is not to suggest - and I don't mean to interrupt when I say the truth coming out. Not to suggest, by any means, that anybody has been disingenuous or not telling the truth now.
But it seems that there's a gray area where some things just aren't being acknowledged right now.
SIMMONS: I think we went so far so fast with no failures that we really didn't realize that once you start going down - it's like basically going from the Concord to all of a sudden we're going to take the Concord to the moon.