I suspect the decision to use surfactants on the accumulating oil was based on the assumption that they would be quickly successful in closing the well. That turned out to be a bad assumption, and now we are stuck with no good options for mitigating the mess.
The surfactants preclude the compact accumulation of dense petroleum at the surface. and therefore eliminate the possibility of skimming large quantiites of oil on the surface into tankers where it could be accumulated, separated from the water and actually used. Now we have a well that's likely to remain open for some time and a greatly reduced potential for skimming up a large fraction of it on the surface.
I watched to an hour or so of the BP drilling engineer's testimony on TV. He appeared to have been rehearsed by the lawyers and was very cagey in his answers. However, the impression he left was that this deep well wasn't any different from an ordiunary one in shallower water (a remarkable assumption). I was very struck by his almost casual responses to questions pointing out that if the inserted cement didn't set properly there was no backup way to prevent the gas intrusion that actually occurred, killing 11 men and creating this disaster. He carefully evaded giving a clear answer to the obvious question why, given that risk, they proceeded without final confirmation that the cement has set properly, instead he obsfucatied by referring to "other possibilities".
BP has invested a great deal of money in reimaging themselves as a "Green Company", "beyond petroleum" ..... my ass.