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Obama summons Svanberg over oil spill

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 11 Jun 2010, 09:36

Published: 11 Jun 2010 09:36 GMT+02:00

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Carl-Henric Svanberg, who took over as BP chairman only in January, has been asked to attend a meeting on June 16th over what has been described as "America's worst environmental disaster".

"Our administration is not going to rest or be satisfied until the leak is stopped at the source, the oil in the Gulf is contained and cleaned up, and the people of the Gulf are able to go back to their lives and their livelihoods," Thad Allen, a Coast Guard admiral who is heading the US government response, in his letter to Svanberg.

Svanberg has come into criticism in the media for his silence over the developing oil spill. The former Ericsson CEO's response has been that the management of the crisis in a operations issue and thus the responsibility of CEO Tony Howard, who has not been invited to the meeting.

President Obama last week said if Howard had worked for him he would have been fired.

The Deepwater Horizon leak is reported to have been spewing as much as 40,000 barrels per day into the Mexican Gulf, according ot he US Geological Survey cited by the BBC, before a cap was put on the leak on June 3rd.

Story continues below…

"The potential devastation to the Gulf Coast, its economy, and its people require relentless efforts to stop the leak and contain the damage," Allen said, adding that BP is responsible for the full costs of the spill.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron is due to meet with President Obama on the weekend to discuss the spill amid assurances that US-UK ties will not be affected by the crisis.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:03 June 11, 2010 by rufus.t.firefly
This seems appropriate. It will be interesting to see what comes of it.
10:41 June 11, 2010 by J Jack
Svanberg's silence is so typ Svesk. He has probably been either on semester, a red day or litta stressad. Perhaps the US had tried to call after 10pm, or during a meal, that could also explain it
11:59 June 11, 2010 by Audrian
What the White House is doing is red herring. President Obama when he was campaigning had promised that the deep sea was off-limit for oil drilling. He broke his campaign promise in favor of some Republican votes for his health reform bill. BP did not change its color over night to cause spill. The risk of spill is well known for all those who care to know, particularly the government with specialized agency to supervise drilling.

40% of BP is owned by investors in the US. For the majority of rich class the environment is side issues and US governments are accomplices.
12:59 June 11, 2010 by rufus.t.firefly

Not a red herring. But what you are saying is true. Whatever O's motives are, it is still an appropriate. Sometimes public outrage can move politicos in a positive direction.

Investors, perhaps, should be more careful where they invest. This goes doubly for those with fiduciary responsibilities for the large investments of unions, public entities, etc.
13:20 June 11, 2010 by dbeynch
Audrian is wrong! A victim of leftist propaganda. "Rich classes", "republican votes", "environment is side issue". I don't think Audrian is even believing himself when he parrots invective fetched from the Daily Koos, George Soros' blog. What is evident in this whole sordid environmental mess, is the utter lack of leadership demonstrated by that useless alien in the White House. Fact is Obambo already knows he is one-term prez, and has no interest in doing anything. He has already left his socialization mark on the American society in the form of the disastrous health care plan he rammed down our throats, and applying the Greek financial model on the American society. I'm guessing he can't wait to get get out. By summoning Svanberg to the White House he is engaging in meaningless window dressing. It will lead to nothing. In the meantime he can say he is "doing something", while releasing verbal platitudes. Let's all have a nice cup of Tea!
14:50 June 11, 2010 by wolverine2k
Well.. atleast now people know who made Ericsson a success. No, it was not Svanberg, it were the hard-working people who were indiscriminately fired while this Svanberg got more then 300 million SEK!
15:12 June 11, 2010 by Luke35711
Can't comment on this particular situation, but in general the culture clash between Anglo-Saxon and Germanic leadership cultures might make for a great study. I know this is gross generalization, but it took years of learning the hard way. It can take months to go through the usual delay tactics, double-backstabbing, triple office politics somersaults, PR-offensive, PC-defensive, psychological conditioning, baits and red-herrings and all the other usual tricks from the toolbox of an expert Germanic-big-business-jungle-culture survivalists. And at the end of the day, there could be just laziness and incompetence of a person who is genetically predisposed to feelings of self-importance and wishful thinking, and who could only rise in an organization which was shaped by postwar expansion and good times credit boom.
16:58 June 11, 2010 by alwaysafloat
Poor old Carl.. its tough at the top, but what a thing to happen in the first 6 months on the job. I hope Svanberg has thought this presidential "summons" meeting through... It could be a USA ploy to have him arrested the moment he sets foot in the country. Obama is showing up a very immature face, but its only what hes been told to do. If you are in the oil exploration business then you have expect that one day there will be an accident like this one and learn from the mistakes.. lets hope the damage is not as bad as some scientific minds are proposing.
17:16 June 11, 2010 by csence
THis disaster is being propagated by the comm unist di c t ator in the whitehouse whos of the mind: "Every disaster is an opportunity" and "The end, justifies the means". = he doesn't care who he hurts as long as America goes mar xist. There are plenty of solutions to the oil disaster that he has not "Approved" of.......being administered already. if anyone out there still doubts this tyrants real agenda, just see this you tube link: you tube. com/watch?v=6GrCHctYyWA&feature=related

If America doesn't kick out Congress, we are all toast. With all theseleftist people in the white house and around him constantly speaking of "Global Governance" via Cap and Trade, and unions and being caught on tape in the last few years, (I've seen it) saying they want population control of 2 kids per person, control the internet, control free speech, the media, let all illegals in, let out all drug offenders, is in the pocket with terror ists groups, and want to "Kill all the rich people" this video will show how they would want to kill 25 million Americans they think they can't "convert" once they've "taken over" America. This is Germany in the 30 's all over again.
18:11 June 11, 2010 by mjennin2
I think that holding Tony Hayward/Carl/Obama ("TCO") responsible for this environmental atrocity is ridiculous. It is more symbolic than it is rational. Is it conceivable to think that TCO has the scientific & engineering capacities (not to mention the time) to visit EVERY SINGLE oil rig, inspect EVERY SINGLE facet of them, & be able to address EVERY SINGLE problem prior to it happening? NO. Instead, they hire people to oversee these tasks: BO's cabinet members (who get swayed by lobbyists & promote their own agendas) & BP's scientists et al that supervise/oversee these operations (who are/obtain lobbyists to promote their cause to the cabinet members).

I have no doubt that the oil rig workers knew something was wrong, & they reported it a billion times to their overseers. I also have no doubt that they did NOT get on the phone & notify TCO personally. So, while TCO should be held accountable *somewhat* for this tragedy (mostly for the after-the-fact containment of the spill), the real people who should have heat up there arses are the BP employees & cabinet members who were responsible for not inspecting the rigs carefully & making necessary improvements.

@Audrian: are you truly surprised? How many times did I have to scream at liberals back in Nov. that Obama isn't a magical unicorn who can say "HAVE HOPE!" & suddenly the world's problems disappear!?? How foolish of people to think that "hope" produces results. He is an inexperienced politician & it's showing. He said "No drilling", but then he instituted drilling to win healthcare reform votes for a plan NOBODY WANTED. He told environmentalists he would stop illegal whaling in int'l waters, & now he is supporting a bill to allow Japan, Iceland & Norway to hunt endangered species in these waters. He said he would make our borders a priority, & instead sent that complete MORON Michael Posnor over to China to tell them PREEMPIVELY that AZ's immigration law is somehow a violation of human rights. He is telling college graduates to stay away from media b/c somehow people sharing ideas with one another (ie, people who criticise Obama) is NOT a form of emancipation. He told his cabinet members to avoid media (highly critical to his agenda) when he was trying to force the healthcare bill down their throats -- a 1,000 page bill that was printed one night & passed the next afternoon. No one reads bills in congress anymore. Great idea, guys!

& for some reason, it is not gratifying anymore when people tell me that they regret electing Obama (not that McPalin was any better, though!). It isn't satisfying to see that light go off in people's eyes when the veil of their own hypnotic illusion that Obama was some superhuman being is lifted. I hope this oil spill is a tragic wake-up call to Americans that they need to stop thinking politicians can fix things, and start taking power and control back into their own hands.

/end rant
19:45 June 11, 2010 by TomJones27

Funny. you use labels like leftist propaganda to force neo con propaganda on others and to avoid actual debate. You accuse this person of parroting Daily KOS and the George Soros conspiracy theories when in fact you are doing the same except it's Rush and Glenn Beck who you are parroting. If you had it your way we would be a wholly owned subisidiary of BP; not that big business doesn't own the US government anyway. You'll bow down to the oligarch masters, because you have a delusion that you'll be in the big club someday. You're just a serf to them. We all are in the US.

The US is far from a Socialist state. It's more facist than anything. And it's ironic your spouting this rhetoric on a Swedish website, where the country is Socially Democratic and has a higher standard of living. I'm glad they don't listen to the bogus "free" market rhetoric that US Conservatives seem to tout. It's more like rigged market capatilism. How's that deregulation working out? Enron, Halliburton, and BP love your support.
21:19 June 11, 2010 by mjennin2
@Tom, you are oblivious if you think anyone is unscathed in this global economic crisis we are in. If Sweden had an economy as large as America, it would be fraught with scandal as well...whether it be due to regulation or deregulation. Sweden's standard of living is all fine and dandy if you can keep people employed and paying into the system. If you can't, the model is unsustainable. How can the government continue to keep this stadard of living so high as more and more people become dependant on the state and fewer are actually paying into it to keep it afloat? Reminds me of American social security...a sort of government-backed pyramid scheme. Socialism is a fantastic and fair model when the majority doesn't rely so heavily on it. But that's besides the point. Free market and capitalism have the ability to bring the best and worst out of people, but in the end it forces everyone (via survival of the fittest, essentially) to be self-sufficient and educated. The government doesn't wipe our behinds for us, we have to learn to do it on our own. And if we don't learn, or we get a painful rash cuz we do it wrong, then learn, adapt, and carry on. American free markets were fantastic when politicians weren't the coniving crooks they are now, who are out to seek their own agendas. Free markets work perfectly fine when people have honor and integrity. And if you think governmental regulation will reinstill honor and integrity, you're wrong. Politicans are worse than big business these days, and the state of the world expressely exemplifies that. The Bernie Madoff scandal/Enron/etc never should have happened, partly because red flags should have shot up in people's minds far early than it actually did. It was due to complacency on the part of the consumer, on the part of executive officals of the business, and on the part of pre-existing regulators, that no one saw what was going on. People are getting lazy, and we all got burned. But that's the greatest thing about learning a lesson the hard way - you can bet your boots we won't be as complacent in the future!

The oil spill no doubt has something to do with plenty of administrations prior to Obama's. I'm sure Clinton got his hands dirty in it a tiny bit, Bush got his hands dirty in it, and Obama got his hands dirty in it. Why? America is so reliant on oil. Plain and simple. Oil companies have us by the balls, and it has NOTHING to do with free markets or socialism. It is so much more political, it's about money and power and supply and demand.
22:34 June 11, 2010 by TomJones27

I don't disagree. Both sides R & D's are in it pretty deep and the citizens forgot the lessons of the past. They both have their hands deep in the cookie jar. And, yes, there has to be a balance. There's a difference between a hand up and a hand out. We should be able to trust those to what they were voted to do. But, as they say, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It's just history repeating.

However, do you want the things we use in common like water, air, roads, land, etc. bought and ran by large multi nationals? Is it ethical to profit off the sick and the dying in the case of health insurers? You only have to look at what happened to a country like Bolivia when they privatized their water system.


I guess the question is, who are going to be the referees to keep the business and special interests honest and a level playing field? I don't really know the answer because each human being is susceptible to greed, vice or just pure selfishness. Do we want a two class system we have now where less then .1% of the US population own 40% of all the wealth? The haves taking more of the pie leaving scraps for everyone else. Greed is an addiction like anything else.

I don't agree on the idea of self-sufficiency from the stand point that we depend on each other more than people realize. We didn't just pop out of the womb as fully functioning adults and that shirt on your back didn't get there by itself. We're in this together more then we realize.

America definitely dropped the ball on getting off oil. We stopped innovating, partly due to big oil lobbying, and partly due to the fact that we rely so heavily on it for industry. But, as you say, you sometimes have to learn the hard way. The school of hard knocks.
23:15 June 11, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Obama doesn't know the first thing about governing, so by default, he points fingers, shovels off resposibility and goes into a blind rage of ignornace. Only fitting that he in one day say "I take responsibilty" he goes off and said "I wanna know who's arse to kick". Whipping out the threat of criminal investigation and tooling with drilling bans is reactionary and threatening the only force that can stop the oil: BP. But, Obama comes from the school of "Goverment knows best, and can do everything", so no wonder he is going into a tirade when reality is actually the opposite.
23:31 June 11, 2010 by TomJones27

And BP knows better? Who would you prefer in the WH? Why don't you run for office, since your the expert. BP is just as guilty of non-accountability and cover up. Obama does have some responsibility for on his management of the situation, but to give a free pass to the irresponsibility of BP is ludicrous. Your buddy Bush in bed with these big oil cronies and hired the regulators who overlooked the safety violations that led to this disaster. How about instead of being right, we do what is right. Stop trying to place blame because the person in the WH doesn't play for the team you want to win and get this problem resolved for the benefit of all.
23:51 June 11, 2010 by wxman
The regulators are political appointees. All the ones there currently are appointees of this administration, therefore they are accountable. And as to a much earlier poster, no Republicans voted for health reform, so there was no quid pro quo.
00:13 June 12, 2010 by TomJones27

wrong again...

How long does it take for political appointees to finally get voted in by a bipartisan committee? I think you'll find your filibuster friends have been pretty successful in holding up many of these nominees for some time, because they are not R's and not their kind of idealogues. So, no, not all regulators are currently of this administration as some them are holdovers from the last 8 years. This is a problem dating farther back than just one year ago. Try 30+.

It's funny how you're all about accountability when it's someone not on "your" team. But God forbid if it's a Republican, it's a "liberal" media consipiracy. I'm sorry you can't wash your hands of the issue just because you're not the party in power anymore.

Also, the Republicans didn't vote for health reform bill, which was basically the same thing that Mitt Romney proposed before hand, because it was a democrat proposing it. They could also give a care less that there are people going into bankruptcy because they have cancer and are denied coverage for treatment. Or they lose their job and lose coverage and then get sick. Count your blessings that you're lucky enough not to be in those circumstances.
02:19 June 12, 2010 by markusd
"President Obama last week said if Howard had worked for him he would have been fired."

Firing a guy who's only been there since January seems a bit extreme. Svanberg hasn't been there long enough to have had any responsibility for the cause of the spill and since this is a petroleum-related engineering problem while he's a telecommunications company guy, he probably doesn't have the skill set to provide any technical solutions.

However, if, from the beginning, he told everyone that he had been working on the problem but was instead going on vacation, playing numerous rounds of golf, attending political fundraisers (instead of attending a memorial service of the workers killed in the accident held at the same time), having multiple musical concerts at his residence while visiting the site of the disaster as little as possible (once or twice maybe?) and failing to meet with relevant people involved in the situation until weeks into the disaster, well, then I'd probably have to fire him.
05:50 June 12, 2010 by sissygirl
OK while ya'll argue over who was right and who was wrong, Louisiana is on pins and needles. 25% of the US's oil comes from the Gulf. What about all the shrimp and oysters and fish that can't be caught for our markets? I'm about to be really poor.
19:52 June 12, 2010 by builder7
I see that people are just as confused in Europe as they are in the US. This oil spill is wrong and it is the oil companies fault - the ones involved. It is not Obama's or any other politicians fault, except for the ones who have made regulation less for the offshore oil rigs in the US. But even regulation won't work if a company tries to not make a critical repair when it is needed, I guess to save money.

The US might be like Germany was in the 1930's, but it is the right that is gyrating this thing. This is what they want. They think that they will get a result like the 30's, as if that will help. That is why Obama was elected, because many of us are able to see this. The Republican party is now doing everything in its power to stop Obama from accomplishing anything, to the detriment of America.

Whoever said that the US is corrupt now is close to correct. I think that the powers that be's plan is to first, destroy the unions, then the worker. Then destroy the government and take over. Then take over the world. Obama is a victim of this group of power mad people who want it all. They do not want him to succeed in anything that he tries because that would derail them.

The oil spill that BP has done is an abomination to mankind, not just to the US and probably many smaller countries surrounding that gulf of water. They were trying to save a few bucks by not doing a job right. Now, they could squeeze that pipe shut (if they can cut it off with shears) and stop the leak, but they would lose the gusher. They don't care about the gulf or the people of the US either, or people anywhere. This group of people that have large multi-national companies, are so greedy that they have become insane with power now, and it is probably too late to do much. The time to stop them was the 60's and I thought that all of this crap was stopped, but nothing changed in the 60's as nothing will change now - unless we the people stop it everywhere!
22:42 June 13, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Tom: I just may run for office, after this country is gripped by full blown socialism in 2012, they'd embrace my wild mix of socially liberal and fiscally conservative ideas!

BTW, It's not fair to point fingers and make blame to the Obama WH, just as it's not fair to point finger and make blame to the Bush WH during Katrina (assume you are only a few degrees away from believing that Bush had some sort of hurricane making machine/global warming conspiracy with Cheney/Halliburton/BigOil to wage war on minorities). I'm just pointing out the fact that for Obama and his followers, despite what they are let to believe, government ISN'T the answer to every ailment, as they are learning as this crisis that no goverment can control is unfolding.

I suspect the next all-the-rage from the lefties will be for the "culling of heads" of BP and "temporary federalization"... reminicent of Chavez's Venezuela's "nationalization" of state asset Citgo. It's only the next logical thing in demented liberal thinking. Lets wait and see.

BP is one of the ONLY oil well service companies in the world that can pull off such a thing, and much of what they are doing has never been done before. And, those facts ARE NOT a free pass of responsibility...BP will pay dearly, and rightfully so, but the all to predictable and unpresidential Obamaesque temper tantrums won't help the situation.
09:53 June 14, 2010 by d_s
Wow again! Not such a big surprise that this article triggered a display of pre-programmed political debate a la america, complete with fantastic concepts of socialism and liberalism (which do not seem to bear any resemblance to the age-old ideals with same names lying at the foundation of much of the modern European societal model).

I think I remember that during the cold war there was a lot of fuss about manchurian canditates and whatnot, but retrospectively it seems that the old sovvies were complete amateurs.
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