BP E-mail: Doomed Rig a "Nightmare Well"

BP hoped to drill the well in 51 days for $96 million. But things ran way behind schedule and over budget, reports CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson.

Leasing the Deepwater Horizon cost BP a million dollars every two days. The day of the explosion, the rig was already 43 days late for its next job.

Investigators say that may be why BP took so many risks. Like choosing a cheaper well casing over a safer option that would have cost $7 to $10 million more.

One BP colleague emailed another: "This has been [a] nightmare well which has everyone all over the place."

BP Engineer Called Doomed Rig a "Nightmare Well"

On going the cheaper route, internal BP emails read: "saves a lot of time … saves a good deal of time/money."

BP also rejected advice from Halliburton, the contractor hired to finish out the well. Halliburton recommended using 21 so-called "centralizers" to keep the well casing centered.

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A BP official, John Guide, worried that would "take 10 hours ... I do not like this."

Instead of 21, BP decided to use just six. Halliburton warned that would mean a well with "a severe gas flow problem."

Of the risk, one BP Engineer, Brett Cocales, wrote: "who cares, it's done, end of story, will probably be fine."

BP had no response today, but the letter from Congress makes it clear that the CEO will have to address all those issues when he testifies Thursday.

More coverage:
Gulf Coast Oil Spill: Cleaning Up the Catastrophe
Obama: I Promise Gulf Coast Will Recover
BP's Survival Guide: Past Crises Offer Lessons
Oil Spill Underwater Sensors to Gauge Flow

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    Sharyl Attkisson is a CBS News investigative correspondent based in Washington.