BP took risky shortcuts that "increased the danger of a catastrophic well failure," two US politicians have said. Henry Waxman and Bart Stupak, the top Democrats on the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, gave a damning account of key decisions made by BP drilling officials in the days before the catastrophic explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 workers and triggered the worst ever US oil spill. The oil giant opted for a well design with few barriers to impede the "kick" of methane gas that surged up the drilling pipe and set off a series of explosions in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20. The letter, portrays BP engineers as under pressure and in a hurry to wrap up drilling operations, which were running more than 40 days late, costing BP an extra $21 million in leasing fees. On April 15, five days before the explosion, BP drilling engineer Brian Morel wrote in an email to a BP colleague: "This has been (a) nightmare."