As well as facing a lawsuit from its shareholders, it has emerged that BP now faces three Congressional hearings into its problems at Prudhoe Bay. Republican Don Young, has scheduled a hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, for Sept. 13.

Senator Pete Domenici, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said he will also hold a hearing. “I am particularly worried about what the loss of this oil will mean if the nation faces another difficult hurricane season or a harsh winter,” said Domenici. Finally, Senator Ted Stevens, has indicated that the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will also examine the issue.

Other oil companies have now been dragged into the legal mess too. Alaskan state officials have now served BP and its four partner oil companies at Prudhoe Bay – Exxon Mobil, Conoco Phillips, Chevron and Forest Oil – with subpoenas for decades of pipeline maintenance records as well as records to do with two spills earlier this year.

BP is said to be cooperating fully with state and federal investigators. Given the extent of its problems, I am not surprised.