“BP is leaving me like roadkill as it slinks out of town.”

“BP is leaving me like roadkill as it slinks out of town.”

Steven Levi

As British Petroleum pulls up stakes to leave Alaska, one Alaskan has no problem referring to the company as “scum of the earth.” His name is Chris McIntyre and BP is leaving him broke after stealing his idea, an idea that has saved BP billions in damages — and saved the coast of the Gulf of Mexico from environmental extinction. “BP used my idea, saved the company from ruin and didn’t pay me a dime. Now the company is slinking out of Alaska and leaving me like roadkill with not so much as a glance behind.”

McIntyre has reason to be bitter.

Millions of dollars bitter.

It all started on April 20, 2010, when, to quote directly from Wikipedia, an “ultra-deepwater, dynamically positioned, semi-submersible offshore drilling rig” generated an explosion which killed “11 crewmen and ignited a fireball visible from 40 miles.” Suddenly the largest oil spill in United States history was spewing tens of thousands of barrels of oi s day from a petroleum geyser 5,000 feet down.

And British Petroleum, the “responsible party,” did not know what to do.

So they tried everything.

And nothing worked.

Then, when nothing in its bag of scientific tricks worked, on May 4, 2010, BP went public and made an appeal for “Alternative Response Technology.”

Enter now Alaskan Christopher McIntyre.

Though McIntyre was a trucker, he had a firm grasp of the basics of engineering. He had been working on and off the North Slope for more than 30 years so he understood the nuts-and-bolts of drilling. When BP went public, McIntyre called BP and asked a basic question: “Why

are you working at the end of the broken riser which is a great distance from the BOP (Blowout Preventer) when you should be working where it connects to the stack?” This question clearly befuddled the professionals at BP. The Hotline response was: “What do we do there?”

In fact, McIntyre had better than a good answer. He had a solution. After two more days of back-and-forth with the BP, the Hotline personnel suddenly said, “We are not authorized to talk anymore. We have to see what you have in mind.”

This was odd because the spill was increasing in intensity. By June 15th it was estimated the oil was blasting into the Gulf of Mexico at the rate of about 20,000 barrels a day and would reach between 35 and 60 thousand barrels a day before the leak was plugged.

Legalities came first and McIntyre was told forms would be emailed to fill out. After the initial answer from BP’s personnel, conversations continued for two days. Then he was asked to send his ideas as a PDF file to an email address given to him by BP for the team.

He did.

On May 14, at 3:48 a.m. Alaska Time.

Cutting through the technicalities, he told BP what they were planning on doing would be catastrophic. What McIntyre proposed was a ventable valve mounted on top of the BP stack.

BP rejected the idea on May 17th as “too challenging.”

And the oil kept on blasting into the Gulf of Mexico.

Clearly nothing else was working so, on May 26, BP was back in touch with McIntyre.

Supposedly “a similar approach [was being] planned for possible implementation.” But, BP had actually built his suggested apparatus. McIntyre had pondered what might be “challenging” for BP, and sent more drawing and instructions on May 28 addressing what he assumed might be their challenges. BP did not respond again until late June.

But by then, McIntyre got bad news. In spite of the fact BP had told him his concept was not workable, it had adopted this unique method. Not only had BP snagged his patentable idea, it has shown it as a ready and available option in the May 23 Deepwater horizon Review to the United States government. It had presented McIntyre’s idea as its own!

Worse, after building the prototype, BP proceeded to deploy a larger version of the same design utilizing the same novel method.

It worked.

When McIntyre discovered what BP had done, he went to the FBI and followed the Phase Two Trial in New Orleans. In McIntyre’s words, “I reviewed all of the documents in the Phase Two Trial and found all the facts, proof, falsifications and BP’s own testimony to reveal the truth.”

BP’s response was the equivalent of “Who’s Chris McIntyre?”

So McIntyre went to Federal court in Anchorage. And he lost. Why? Because, according to the court, the invention “even if plaintiff did inspire BP’s ultimate capping it did not confer a benefit upon BP.”

This was an error, McIntyre states. “My invention controlled the well blowout and adverted greater fines. It will also be a new ‘tool in the toolbox’ for oil and gas exploration companies to ensure safety in drilling, not to mention BP’s attempt to patent the design with any and all versions of the same design. That will be a significant benefit to BP which the court chose not to acknowledge.”

To date, McIntyre has not received a dime for his concept.

The entire oil and gas industry has McIntyre’s patentable IP (Intellectual Property) at the ready should another Deepwater Horizon-style disaster.

And the cost of having that patentable concept available for drilling rigs is reasonably an expense which BP, as any responsible business does, will pass along the cost to the consumer. McIntyre’s patentable concept clearly did and currently does “confer a benefit upon BP.”

But BP is a very big company.

And Chris McIntyre is an individual in a state BP is abandoning.

And at this point, all McIntyre can say is “BP is leaving me like roadkill as it slinks out of town.”

[Steve Levi is a freelance writer in Anchorage. His mystery books can be found at https://authormasterminds.com/steve-levi. His books on the Alaska Gold Rush can be found on Kindle.]

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