U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) today sent a letter to BP America Chairman and President, Lamar McKay telling them to make good on their agreement to help the Gulf Coast and Louisiana because of their failings with the Deepwater Horizon disaster. They are currently considering options for a project off of Louisiana's coast, and Vitter is encouraging them to choose a Louisiana company. So far, all of their contracts have gone to European companies.
"Former BP CEO Tony Hayward emphasized he would "make this right' for Louisiana following the tragic oil spill, and they need to seriously consider taking all actions possible to increase private sector opportunities for Louisiana's talented workforce," Vitter said. "Apparently, they're very keen on "making this right' . . . in Europe."
A copy of Vitter's letter is below.
December 13, 2012
Mr. Lamar McKay
Chairman and President BP America, Inc
501 Westlake Park Boulevard
Houston, TX 77079
Dear Mr. McKay:
In 2010, BP spent $50 million on advertisements. They included BP CEO Tony Hayward stating specifically, "The Gulf is home for thousands of BP employees and we all feel the impact," and further stating, "To all the volunteers and for the strong support of the government, thank you. We know it is our responsibility to keep you informed and do everything we can so this never happens again. We will get this done. We will make this right." (Emphasis added.)
As you continue to consider options to "make this right" for Louisiana following the tragic Deepwater Horizon disaster, I ask that you seriously consider taking all actions possible to increase private sector opportunities for Louisiana's talented workforce. To date, much of BP's focus has been on restoration and compensation from the disaster, which doesn't necessarily translate into direct or major private sector employment. As well, Secretary Salazar's failure to take serious the economic impacts of slowed leasing and permitting has hurt our workforce enormously.
BP is currently bidding out work related to the "Mad Dog Phase II" project that will lead to work for significant numbers of blue collar fabrication employees. The project involves the expansion of a BP production platform off Louisiana's coast, with all the related coastal impacts and threats that involves.
To date, BP has contracted for the hull to be built in Finland. You have contracted for transportation of the hull to be performed by a Dutch firm. And you have contracted for the topsides to be installed by a Dutch firm. BP has awarded the lucrative engineering contract to a British firm. Apparently, you're very keen on "making this right" . . . in Europe.
The remainder of project, being bid on now, has the potential to be the largest fabrication project in Louisiana in ten years. Potential private sector employment could include 2,000 craft and professional jobs for coastal Louisiana with a major local economic multiplier effect well beyond that.
Accordingly, if BP truly wants to "make this right," I ask very specifically that an existing Louisiana contractor be given priority consideration for this project. Louisiana's workforce is amongst the finest in the world. This work could easily be performed in Louisiana at the highest level of quality and at an extremely competitive price. And this work would be a true step in the right direction as BP continues efforts to rebuild its reputation in the state.
As a final point in this context, I would note that my fellow Louisianians also have been inundated with BP's commercials celebrating the $1 billion agreement to fund early Natural Resources Damage restoration projects. However, the reality on the ground is so far a different story. The promise made months ago has translated into only a fraction of those dollars actually being committed to work. In fact, the lion share of that $1 billion has yet to put a single shovel in the ground.
Please make this right. Thank you.