The Conversation: Oil Spill Blame Game

Professor Satish Nagarajaiah talks to Diane Sawyer about who's responsible.

May 12, 2010— -- As oil and natural gas continue to spew into the Gulf of Mexico for a 23rd consecutive day, the blame game is in full swing on Capitol Hill. Executives from BP, Halliburton and Transocean will return to Capitol Hill today to testify about their companies' roles in the oil disaster.

Halliburton executives passed the buck to BP in Senate hearings Tuesday.

"Halliburton [is] contractually obligated to comply with owners' wishes," said Tim Probert, the company's chief health, safety and environmental adviser.

BP America's president and chairman, Lamar McKay, did offer, "Liability. Blame. Fault. Put it over here."

BP has promised to pay for legitimate cleanup costs, although the company has denied responsibility for the explosion that lead to the leak.

The three corporations were all connected to the site of the sunken Deepwater Horizon drilling platform: BP, which licensed the rig, Transocean, which owned it, and Halliburton, which was helping with construction.

So who is responsible? And is offshore drilling still worth the risk? Professor Satish Nagarajaiah of Rice University in Houston talked with Diane Sawyer about those questions in Today's Conversation.