First rule of business, kids: cut costs where you can. For example, if you can buy a cheaper cement for the casing pipe in your oil well, and the only risk is that it might fail to seal, let gas leak in, and lead to a massive explosion, you should definitely do it. Just ask BP. It deliberately selected the cheaper type of casing, fully aware that, in the event of a leak, it provided only a single seal as barrier, according to a document provided to Congress and the New York Times; the more expensive option would have provided two.
In the document, the company notes the risk, but refers to it as the “best economic case.” Another cost cutting measure apparently caused a fight aboard the rig shortly before the explosion. The chief Deepwater Horizon mechanic testified yesterday that he witnessed a “skirmish” between the BP site leader and TransOcean's crew members over BP's decision to replace the heavy drilling fluid in the pipe with seawater. “Well, this is how it's going to be,” the site leader declared. (Read more British Petroleum stories.)