As I am sure you can imagine, I have an enormous amount of work to do transitioning into this role and am very focused on ensuring the right decisions are made for the future of the company and the safety of our workforce, Dudley wrote Markey according to the The Hill's E-2 Wire blog.The letter has the undeniable stench of disdain. And Dudley may very well be suffering from overconfidence that will come back to haunt him later. But pushing aside the vitriolic tone for a moment, Dudley has good reason to avoid Congress.
Therefore, I regret that I must decline your invitation at this, but I look forward to sharing our progress with you on these important changes once they have been further developed and implemented.
Dudley needs to both fix BP and appear as in control as possible for its employees, shareholders and even folks in the Gulf region who are filing compensation claims. For Dudley, testifying before Congress achieves nothing and likely weakens his position. He'll be slammed by lawmakers, as his predecessor Tony Hayward was, which will be widely reported for public consumption. Dudley needs to avoid this until he can get his ship in order. He shouldn't brush off Congress forever. He'd be wise to avoid it during the mid-term election season and until he has one quarter under his belt as CEO.
Dudley's disdainful I-have-more-important-things-to-do tone touches on one of my bigger pet peeves: endless congressional hearings. Listen, hearings are often necessary. There also overused and abused by lawmakers who want a soapbox, such as lambasting BP without getting real answers or issuing an apology to Hayward. The PBS YouTube interview with Dudley in July was more fruitful. The questions weren't political, but probing and the answers contained actual information. And in case, you're not convinced here is a list of congressional and federal agency hearings on the Gulf oil spill.
- May 11 -- Senate Energy Committee holds its first hearing to review offshore oil and gas development and the Gulf of Mexico disaster. Chiefs from BP, Transocean (RIG) and Halliburton (HAL) testify.
- May 18 -- Senate Energy Committee hearing on Gulf of Mexico spill. Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar testifies.
- May 25 -- Senate Energy Committee hearing on liability and financial responsibility related to offshore oil production and the Gulf spill.
- June 9 -- Senate Energy Committee hearing on oil spill and the Interior Department's report on increased safety measures.
- June 10 -- House subcommittee on Energy and Environment holds hearing on BP oil spill to examine impacts to humans and the environment.
- June 15 -- House subcommittee on Energy and Environment holds its "Drilling Down on America's Energy Future" hearing which included testimony from Exxon (XOM), Chevron (CVX), ConocoPhillips (COP), BP and Shell (RDS).
- June 16 -- House's subcommittee on Health held a hearing on health effects of the BP oil spill.
- June 16 -- Senate subcommittee on Federal Financial Management held a hearing on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to ensure a financially responsible recovery. Execs from BP and Transocean testified.
- June 17 -- House subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing to examine the role of BP in the oil spill. Former BP CEO Tony Hayward testified.
- July 22 -- Senate subcommittee on Federal Financial Management held its second hearing on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to ensure a financially responsible recovery. Oil spill claims czar Ken Feinberg and Anadarko CEO James Hackett and MOEX Offshore president Naoki Ishii testified.
- Aug. 23- Aug. 27 -- The U.S. Coast Guard and Interior Department held a series of joint hearings in Houston where several BP employees exercised their fifth amendment rights and didn't testify.
- The National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill has held a series of four meetings in July, August, September and October.
For complete coverage, see All Things BNET on BP's Gulf of Mexico Spill