View Full Version : Gulf Oil Spill, April 2010 -- ???

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May 30th, 2010, 09:14 AM
I'm surprised no one has raised this topic yet. I suppose it's just too damned depressing.

Latest news: "Top Kill" has failed (http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/kill+fails+plug+Gulf+spill/3088769/story.html).

Regular updates here (http://www.2010gulfoilspill.com/).

May 30th, 2010, 06:44 PM
Exactly -- way too depressing.

Chernobyl comes to mind.

May 30th, 2010, 07:57 PM

You hit the nail right on the head.

As a nature lover, when I see this:

it tears me to shreds... Damn BP to hell! :mad:

May 30th, 2010, 08:15 PM
America has known for nearly 40 years that this way of life has to change. Think of what could have been done to move us to a new energy model over those decades if the money had been spent well, rather on some of the stupid things where our treasure has been tossed.

May 30th, 2010, 10:53 PM
Energy is but one use for oil. We wear it, type on it, sit on it, walk on it, ride our bicycles on it, wrap our food in it, drink from it, paint with it, talk through it, watch it, roll our mouse on it, sleep on it, ...... well you probably get my point.
Imagine our day to day life without it.

May 30th, 2010, 11:28 PM
Easy to imagine, but not so easy to implement (the folks that reap huge profits from Petro Industry sure aren't going to let it happen without a fight). There are other materials that could be used, and that don't have the negative impact.

As GWB said, we're Oil-aholics. We either figure out another way or leave a world spoiled by oil drilling, strip mining and air pollution for those to come.

May 31st, 2010, 05:55 AM
@195Broadway -- I get that we are all implicated, but BP and Trans-Ocean ignored safety protocols (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/05/26/bp-reveals-crucial-mistake-oil/) and continued drilling after the first sign appeared that something was wrong.

The estimate for capping the well has been pushed back to August.

Oil spill goes from bad to worst

May 31st, 2010, 07:46 AM
I always thought crude oil was black, in the newsclips it appears like a brownish/red sludge. Maybe the appearance of oil is different from locale to locale?

May 31st, 2010, 10:16 AM
The brown crud is due to the dispersant, Corexit 9500 (http://www.epa.gov/oem/content/ncp/products/corex950.htm), which could be a nightmare in itself:

Swimming Through the Spill ...

NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/30/opinion/30shaw.html?ref=opinion)
May 28, 2010

Blue Hill, Me.

FOR the last few days, attention has understandably been directed at the shores of the Gulf Coast as oil has started to wash up on beaches and in marshes. But last week I had the chance to see the effects of the spill from another perspective — when I dived into the oil slick a few miles off the Pass a Loutre wetlands in southern Louisiana. What I witnessed was a surreal, sickening scene beyond anything I could have imagined.

As the boat entered the slick, I had to cover my nose to block the fumes. There were patches of oil on the gulf’s surface. In some places, the oil has mixed with an orange-brown pudding-like material, some of the 700,000 gallons of a chemical dispersant called Corexit 9500 that BP has sprayed on the spreading oil. Near Rig No. 313, technically a restricted zone, the boat stopped and I (wearing a wetsuit, with Vaseline covering exposed skin) jumped in.

Only a few meters down, the nutrient-rich water became murky, but it was possible to make out tiny wisps of phytoplankton, zooplankton and shrimp enveloped in dark oily droplets. These are essential food sources for fish like the herring I could see feeding with gaping mouths on the oil and dispersant. Dispersants break up the oil into smaller pieces that then sink in the water, forming poisonous droplets — which fish can easily mistake for food.

Though all dispersants are potentially dangerous when applied in such volumes, Corexit is particularly toxic. It contains petroleum solvents and a chemical that, when ingested, ruptures red blood cells and causes internal bleeding. It is also bioaccumulative, meaning its concentration intensifies as it moves up the food chain.

The timing for exposure to these chemicals could not be worse. Herring and other small fish hatch in the spring, and the larvae are especially vulnerable. As they die, disaster looms for the larger predator fish, as well as dolphins and whales.

As I swam back to the surface, some big fish came up to the boat — cobia, amberjacks weighing up to 60 pounds — looking for a handout. These are the fish that have made the Gulf a famously productive fishing area. But they rely on the forage fish that are now being devastated by the combined effects of oil and chemical dispersants. In a short time, the predator fish will either starve or sicken and die from eating highly contaminated forage fish.

Yes, the dispersants have made for cleaner beaches. But they’re not worth the destruction they cause at sea, far out of sight. It would be better to halt their use and just siphon and skim as much of the oil off the surface as we can. The Deepwater Horizon spill has done enough damage, without our adding to it.

Susan D. Shaw is a marine toxicologist and the director of the Marine Environmental Research Institute, a nonprofit scientific research and educational organization.

Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company

May 31st, 2010, 10:31 AM
This is a tragedy beyond measure. The legacy of Chernobyl lives on to this day with cancer, water pollution, toxic land etc.

Whole generations and ways of life are going to be swept away in the Gulf. No time table on recovery - a decade after this thing is stopped? - now they are talking August.

Heard the comment on cable somewhere that this is not Obama's Katrina but his Iranian Hostage Crisis which lasted 444 days and broke Carter and made him a one termer.

The term being used these days for banks etc. is Too Big To Fail. I really believe that the inability of big corporations like BP or even the national government to deal or prepare for these disasters fits more appropriately into the phrase TOO BIG TO MANAGE.

May 31st, 2010, 12:46 PM
Gulf Oil Spill: The Technology Oil Executives Don't Want to Talk About

The Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/craig-medred/gulf-oil-spill-the-techno_b_594532.html)
By Craig Medred
Reporter, Alaska Dispatch (http://alaskadispatch.com/index.php)
May 29, 2010

Long before the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, caught fire, sank and loosed a gusher of oil that would flow into the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history, the oil industry knew that -- in the now famous words of the Apollo 13 astronauts -- "Houston, we have a problem."

As oil drilling in the new millennium moved increasingly into deep waters off the North American and European coasts, oilfield workers recognized they were operating with less and less of a safety net. Shear ram technology needed to make blowout preventers into failsafe devices capable of preventing catastrophic blowouts was, they knew, lagging behind the rest of oilfield technology.

A U.S. Minerals Management Service study had demonstrated as much in 2002. A more thorough study in 2004 had only served to underline the weaknesses. By 2005, Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy Corp. (http://www.devonenergy.com/Pages/devon_energy_home.aspx), then a force in offshore drilling, had begun working with Houston-based Cameron (http://www.c-a-m.com/), the major producer of blowout preventers, to develop new and better shear and seal technology for wells.

Why the technology never made it into the oil patch is unclear. Nobody in the industry wants to talk about it at this juncture, though development reportedly is continuing. What would come to be called the alternative well kill system -- or AWKS -- is now being spearheaded by Chevron in partnership with Cameron. Devon began phasing out of offshore drilling earlier this year.

Ironically, it signed a $7 billion deal in March to sell its offshore assets in Brazil, Azerbaijan and the Gulf of Mexico to BP. Only about a month later BP was in charge of the Deepwater Horizon rig that blew up in the Gulf. London-based BP, the major player in the Alaska oil business, has ever since been battling to shut off an undersea volcano spewing beneath the sunken rig and deal with an oil slick that has grown to more than two times the size of the Exxon Valdez spill in Prince William Sound.

Cleanup and containment costs, at last report from BP, were approaching $1 billion and are expected to grow to orders of magnitude beyond that. This might all have been avoided if there had been a working, failsafe blowout preventer a mile deep on the ocean beneath the Horizon. There was a blowout preventer. Why it didn't work hasn't been fully determined, but the reasons why it might not work were known well before the Horizon accident.

Chevron noted in a presentation to the Norway Arctic Workshop in Tromso in January 2009 that existing BOPs have weaknesses. The company said in a PowerPoint presentation that it was working with Cameron on the AWKS to develop "simultaneous shear and seal capability on a broad range of tubulars -- unlike current shear rams." Everyone in attendance at the meeting knew what that last phrase meant.

A mini-study done for the MMS in 2002 and a lengthy "Shear Ram Capabilities Study" completed two years later had concluded that some of the new higher-grade steel being used in drill pipe couldn't be cut and sealed by existing rams (http://alaskadispatch.com/projects/gulf-spill/5435-blowout-preventer-problems-were-known-as-early-as-2002). The study also noted the inability of existing rams to cut and seal pipe if there were tools inside, or slice through welded joints where sections of pipe were joined.

These inherent weaknesses in existing BOPs were the reason many Arctic nations -- although not the U.S. -- required oil companies to keep a second drill rig on location when drilling in case a relief well was needed to seal a blowout. BP, it should be noted, did not have a second rig on site in the Gulf of Mexico. BP has one there now, drilling a relief well. Everyone involved with the Gulf spill says a relief well is the only sure way to cap BP's undersea gusher. The relief well is expected to be completed in August. There is no telling how much crude could be washing around in the Gulf of Mexico by then -- or making its way into the Gulf Stream with potential oil spill consequences for Florida and the entire U.S. East Coast.

The reason BP failed to have a second drill rig standing by in the Gulf when the Deepwater Horizon was drilling is simple -- money. A drill rig costs about a half million dollars per day, according to oil industry officials. These costs are the reason that, although Shell planned to drill in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off Alaska this summer, none of the oil companies holding leases off the Arctic coast of Canada planned any drilling.

Read more at Alaska Dispatch (http://alaskadispatch.com/projects/gulf-spill/5498-gulf-oil-spill-the-technology-oil-executives-dont-want-to-talk-about).

Copyright © 2010 HuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

May 31st, 2010, 08:49 PM
It sounds sad, but I hope this gets worse.

The ONLY way to get a bunch of comfy cozy people in our country to take notice is if it directly effects our own pocketbook or someone we are related to.

May 31st, 2010, 10:26 PM
^^^ or...... we can send this guy, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peU6syeEzwg) to the BP HQ.

June 1st, 2010, 11:43 AM
it all about this little fellow:9606
see other photos of gulf of mexico life: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=1216109&l=bf273ae7cb&id=1008833355

^^^ or...... we can send this guy, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peU6syeEzwg) to the BP HQ.

June 1st, 2010, 12:26 PM
Slick Operators

The Mudflats (http://www.themudflats.net/2010/06/01/slick-operators/)
June 1, 2010

On January 20, 1990 a Channel 4 documentary series called Scottish Eye aired Slick Operators. The documentary tells the story of BP’s role in the Exxon Valdez oil spill and their lies in the aftermath of the spill. Sadly it is still very relevant today. BP is the largest owner of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and was responsible for many of the failures that led to the catastrophe in Prince William Sound. They claimed that many of the safety measures they were supposed to have in place would have been impossible, yet they were using them at an oil terminal in Scotland.

Greg Palast (http://www.truthout.org/slick-operator-the-bp-ive-known-too-well59178) and I have talked about BP’s responsibility dodged during the Exxon Valdez Spill. Sadly, the BP Gulf catastrophe was was too predictable.

Please take the time to watch this film. It’s not just a history, it’s our present and our future.

First of four Slick Operators vids (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLu-Hp9--RU):


Hat tip to Atom Spiegel (http://atomspiegel.wordpress.com/) – who is brilliant!

The Mudflats © 2008 All Rights Reserved.

June 1st, 2010, 02:27 PM
As this catastrophe unfolded, there were not many photo-ops that generate extensive news coverage. It was far offshore and a mile deep.

But now that an oil slick that I heard is the size of South Carolina is reaching shores, the images of black waves crashing beaches and birds covered in goo will make people realize the scope.

Just in time for hurricane season.

June 1st, 2010, 03:03 PM

And the thing won't be fixed untill at least August. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/31/gulf-oil-spill-relief-wells-august_n_595459.html) It is safe the say, the Gulf wouldn't be the same for decades.

June 1st, 2010, 04:53 PM
Twitter (http://twitter.com/BPGlobalPR) offers "short, timely messages from BP Public Relations" ...

Just had our first meeting with our new boss. She made us watch a video of an autopsy...as a team-building exercise.

8 minutes ago via Twitterrific

We've hired Dick Cheney's former publicist to head up our PR dept. Hopefully she can make us as lovable as Dick Cheney.

about 2 hours ago via Twitterrific

As part of our continued re-branding effort, we are now referring to the spill as "Shell Oil's Gulf Coast Disaster". #bpcares

about 5 hours ago via web

June 1st, 2010, 06:00 PM
Drill Baby Drill. Spill Baby Spill ... (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShxhzwNNlBs&)


June 1st, 2010, 08:27 PM
BP station on Houston and Lafayette (photo from the V.voice)

June 1st, 2010, 08:49 PM
So big it can be seen from space!
NASA's Terra Satellites Sees Spill on May 24
for more pics: http://www.latimes.com/sns-nasa-oil-spill-pictures,0,4204803.photogallery


June 1st, 2010, 09:31 PM
BP will likely survive spill, but worth much less

As Gulf oil spill grows, so does BP's liability;
$75 billion in market value already wiped out

Chris Kahn, AP Energy Writer, On Tuesday June 1, 2010, 8:01 pm EDT

NEW YORK (AP) -- BP is probably sturdy enough to survive the worst oil spill in U.S. history. But investors are shaving billions of dollars off its value with every day that crude gushes into the Gulf of Mexico.

On Tuesday alone, the first trading day since BP's latest attempt at a fix failed, and the day the government announced it had opened a criminal probe into the disaster, its stock took a hit of 15 percent.

The British oil giant is worth $75 billion less on the open market than it was when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded six weeks ago. Other companies involved in the spill -- Transocean, Halliburton and Cameron -- have all lost at least 30 percent in value.

And as oil seeps unchecked into the Gulf, nearby states, businesses, environmental regulators and injured workers and cleanup crews are eyeing damages that could total billions more.

"This will be the mother of all liability claims," said Fred Kuffler, a Philadelphia maritime lawyer who has handled oil-spill lawsuits.

The stakes were raised Tuesday as Attorney General Eric Holder said federal authorities had opened criminal and civil investigations into the spill. He did not specify which companies or individuals might be targets.

BP says it has spent $1 billion so far on fighting and cleaning the spill. Its liabilities and potential fines are growing by the day, and it could be August before the company gets control of the situation by completing two relief wells.

The company has already agreed to pick up the government's cleanup tab and any "legitimate" damage claims. BP said Tuesday it has paid out about $40 million to cover about half of the 30,000 claims it has received.

At least 130 lawsuits have been filed seeking damages for business lost from the spill. Most are from seafood processing plants, charter boat captains, hotels, restaurants and others who make their living from the sea or from coastal tourism.

Based on federal law, BP and partners Anadarko Petroleum and Mitsui & Co. also face a minimum fine of $1,000 per barrel of oil spilled, said Eric Schaeffer, who led the Environmental Protection Agency's enforcement office from 1997 to 2002. Schaeffer is now the director of the Environmental Integrity Project.

The government estimates 20 million to 43 million gallons of crude have gushed into the Gulf over the past six weeks. If the spill were contained today, the fines would add up to between $480 million and $1 billion.

Already, the Gulf disaster has eclipsed the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, which, after two decades of lawsuits, cost Exxon Mobil $4.5 billion. That's roughly $654 per gallon in today's dollars, according to Blake Fernandez, an analyst with Howard Weil, an energy investment firm with headquarters in New Orleans.

Experts are increasingly looking at the Valdez disaster as a conservative model because the Gulf Coast is home to far more people and businesses than Alaska, where the Valdez ran aground.

In addition to cleanup costs, the government will probably also ask BP to pay for restoring an oil-soaked coastline -- including repairs to sensitive marshlands, oyster beds and fisheries, Kuffler said.

Doug Inkley, a senior scientist for the National Wildlife Federation who monitored the Gulf spill from a boat, said the damage is nearly impossible to fix.

Crews could try to burn marshlands to get rid of the oil, or they could send people in with rags to try to mop it up by hand. But both solutions could do more damage than help, Inkley said.

What's especially troublesome to many scientists is BP's use of chemicals to disperse the crude plumes. They argue that the dispersants could harm fish larvae and other creatures living below the surface.

BP also will face claims from commercial fishermen, hotels, party boat operators, and other businesses that depend on the Gulf Coast.

"Think of everything you find at a beach front resort like jet skis and trip planners. The contractors involved, they will all have claims," Kuffler said.

Altogether, the impact on tourism, fishing, property values and other damages could reach $10 billion to $15 billion, said Ahmad Ijaz, an economist for the center for business and economic research at the University of Alabama.

In Florida, the $60 billion tourism industry can probably withstand the impact, but other industries like commercial fishing probably cannot, said Amy Baker, the state's top economist. Fishing has already been heavily restricted along the Gulf.

Commercial fisheries in Louisiana bring more than $275 million of seafood annually to Louisiana docks, and recreational fishing generates an estimated $1 billion in retail sales. State officials say up to 12,000 jobs may be lost from the spill.

"From just a sociological standpoint ... pretty much every crab and oyster processor is shut down," state Rep. Spencer Collier said. "So even outside the numbers, just looking at the reality of it, it's significant."

Then there are contract workers helping with the cleanup who say they have suffered respiratory problems because of exposure to the oil.

BP is self-insured, and analysts say it has enough money to pay for the growing calamity without putting the company at risk of bankruptcy.

Most of its legal costs will be spread out over years, if not decades, as suits wind their way through the courts. The company can also borrow up to $15 billion from various credit lines to pay for cleanup and other costs without overextending debt beyond company targets.

BP also will benefit from what has become an extremely lucrative oil production business. As long as oil prices stay above $60 a barrel, BP's other oil rigs will make enough money to maintain company operations and pay shareholders the expected $10 billion in dividends, Fernandez said.

"They could use the rest to pay down debt or whatever," he said.

Associated Press Writers Jane Wardell in London, Travis Reed and Curt Anderson in Miami, Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Sheila Hardwell in Jackson, Miss., and John Zenor in Montgomery, Ala., contributed to this report.


Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press.

June 2nd, 2010, 02:27 AM
This story is a couple of weeks old but the threat of the oil reaching the Loop Current is still a major concern:

Loop Current poses oil-spill threat to Atlantic (http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/dcblog/2010/05/loop_current_poses_oilspill_th.html)
> Posted by William Gibson on May 17, 2010 11:35 AM

Now that the giant oil slick in the Gulf appears to be entering a Loop Current likely to carry polluted water to the Atlantic, the world has learned that offshore spills pose widespread threats far beyond a damaged well.
The consequences could shape future decisions on whether to expand drilling into new areas of the Gulf and other waters.
http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/dcblog/map%20of%20loop%20current%20%20JPL%20imagery%20via %20Roffs.jpg
(JPL imagery)
The current spill near Louisiana poses a danger to the Florida Keys, the southeast coast from Miami to West Palm Beach and as far north as coastal North Carolina. That’s because the powerful Loop Current – which turns into the Gulf Stream – routinely carries debris of all kinds from the Gulf to the Atlantic Coast.
Politicians in Washington have tried to resolve disputes over offshore drilling by accommodating various affected states.
That’s why energy deals in Congress over the years have designated offshore areas that can be drilled while leaving a buffer zone around parts of Florida, California and some other coastal states.
The Obama administration seems to be groping for a compromise policy that would allow drilling near states that want it, such as Louisiana and Virginia, while sheltering Florida, whose economy is built not on oil but on the natural environment.
But the currents do not follow geographic boundaries. It would be impossible to isolate the effects of a spill off the coast of Alabama while also protecting the pristine beaches of the Florida Panhandle just down the coast.
The Loop Current extends this potential problem along much of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.
One question is whether the oil-slick’s long pathway – which will be followed closely by news accounts for days or weeks – will discourage the administration and Congress from pursuing energy exploration into new waters.

June 2nd, 2010, 02:49 AM
That would take it right into Americas largest natural coral reef- already under tremendous pressure.
It would probably be enough to push it over the edge, and wipe it right out!

June 2nd, 2010, 02:54 AM
My heart aches, my head spins.

Matt Simmons, oil executive and Bush administration adviser, claims BP's underwater vids & focus on sealing a leak at that spot are a minor problem. He claims the real leak is six or seven miles away and that a nuclear explosion is needed to close the well.

From Bloomberg TV, 28 May:


June 2nd, 2010, 03:08 AM
Could a moderator please change the thread title to "Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, April, 2010 -- ???". It occurs to me that the world's largest oil spill is that following the war in the Persian Gulf in 1991,


Both courtesy of Halliburton and friends....

June 2nd, 2010, 08:29 AM
Has anybody heard some of the latest?

I actually heard from a co-worker that they are starting to say that one of the reasons for this spill is because it is in such deep water, if they were in shallower water, they would have had it sealed by now.....

Hmm, really? Are you (they) saying that if they drilled closer to the mainland there would be less risk and cost?

While I believe it would be easier to fix, less cash would be spent on safety measures just because of that (risk assessment and projected cost of cleanup versus chance of occurrence). It also would have taken MUCH less time to hit the shores, and much less water to be dispersed in (not that that is necessarily a good thing, all things considered...)

As for hurricane season... I am just wondering when this spill is going to get "accidentally" lit and have a storm hit it. The first hellish Maelstrom on record......

/me keeps watch for the 4 riders.....

June 2nd, 2010, 10:00 AM
I only know what I read on the news. The 1979 Ixtoc off-shore blowout (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ixtoc_I_oil_spill) occurred at about 180 feet and took nine months to cap. This one is at about 5,000 feet. I don't believe any predictions anymore. I don't think we know what is going on. I have no idea if anyone involved in capping this leak has all the relevant facts. I don't believe anything BP tells us. If BP execs were unreliable on April 20th, they have no reason to tell us the truth now that they are facing the real possibility that their company will not survive this crisis.

June 2nd, 2010, 11:09 AM
Effort to contain Gulf oil stalls with stuck saw

The Associated Press
Wednesday, June 2, 2010; 10:24 AM

PORT FOURCHON, La. -- The risky effort to contain the Gulf oil gusher hit a snag Wednesday when a saw became stuck in a thick pipe on a blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said the goal was to free the saw and finish the cut later in the day. This is the latest attempt to contain - not plug - the nation's worst oil spill. The best chance at stopping the leak is still at least two months away.

With the new effort, however, BP PLC hoped to siphon to the surface the majority of the oil spewing into the Gulf.

"I don't think the issue is whether or not we can make the second cut. It's about how fine we can make it, how smooth we can make it," Allen said.

Engineers may have to bring in a second saw if the delay continues. Allen said once the cut is made, crews will inspect it and place a cap over the spill, which could happen as early as Wednesday.

The effort underwater was going on as oil drifted close to the Florida Panhandle's white sand beaches for the first time and investors ran from BP's stock for a second day, reacting to the company's failure to plug the leak by shooting mud and cement into the well, known as the top kill.

The Justice Department also has announced it started criminal and civil probes into the spill, although the department did not name specific targets for prosecution.

Shares in British-based BP PLC were down 3 percent Wednesday morning in London trading after a 13 percent fall the day before. BP has lost $75 billion in market value since the spill started with an April 20 oil rig explosion and analysts expect damage claims to total billions more.

In Florida, officials confirmed an oil sheen Tuesday about nine miles from Pensacola beach, where the summer tourism season was just getting started.

Winds were forecast to blow from the south and west, pushing the slick closer to western Panhandle beaches.

Emergency crews began scouring the beaches for oil and shoring up miles of boom. County officials will use it to block oil from reaching inland waterways but plan to leave beaches unprotected because they are too difficult to protect and easier to clean up.

"It's inevitable that we will see it on the beaches," said Keith Wilkins, deputy chief of neighborhood and community services for Escambia County.

The oil has been spreading in the Gulf since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded six weeks ago, killing 11 workers and eventually sinking. The rig was being operated for BP, the largest oil and gas producer in the Gulf.

Crude has already been reported along barrier islands in Alabama and Mississippi, and it has polluted some 125 miles of Louisiana coastline.

More federal fishing waters were closed, too, another setback for one of the region's most important industries. More than one-third of federal waters were off-limits for fishing, along with hundreds of square miles of state waters.

Fisherman Hong Le, who came to the U.S. from Vietnam, had rebuilt his home and business after Hurricane Katrina wiped him out. Now he's facing a similar situation.

"I'm going to be bankrupt very soon," Le, 53, said as he attended a meeting for fishermen hoping for help. "Everything is financed, how can I pay? No fishing, no welding. I weld on commercial fishing boats and they aren't going out now, so nothing breaks."

Le, like other of the fishermen, received $5,000 from BP PLC, but it was quickly gone.

"I call that 'Shut your mouth money,'" said Murray Volk, 46, of Empire, who's been fishing for nearly 30 years. "That won't pay the insurance on my boat and house. They say there'll be more later, but do you think the electric company will wait for that?"

BP may have bigger problems, though.

Attorney General Eric Holder, who visited the Gulf on Tuesday, would not say who might be targeted in the probes into the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

"We will closely examine the actions of those involved in the spill. If we find evidence of illegal behavior, we will be extremely forceful in our response," Holder said in New Orleans.

The federal government also ramped up its response to the spill with President Barack Obama ordering the co-chairmen of an independent commission investigating the spill to thoroughly examine the disaster, "to follow the facts wherever they lead, without fear or favor."

The president said that if laws are insufficient, they'll be changed. He said that if government oversight wasn't tough enough, that will change, too.

BP has tried and failed repeatedly to halt the flow of the oil, and the latest attempt like others has never been tried before a mile beneath the ocean. Experts warned it could be even riskier than the others because slicing open the 20-inch riser could unleash more oil if there was a kink in the pipe that restricted some of the flow.

"It is an engineer's nightmare," said Ed Overton, a Louisiana State University professor of environmental sciences. "They're trying to fit a 21-inch cap over a 20-inch pipe a mile away. That's just horrendously hard to do. It's not like you and I standing on the ground pushing - they're using little robots to do this."

Engineers have put underwater robots and equipment in place this week after a bold attempt to plug the well by force-feeding it heavy mud and cement - called a "top kill" - was aborted over the weekend. Crews pumped thousands of gallons of the mud into the well but were unable to overcome the pressure of the oil.

The company said if the small dome is successful it could capture and siphon a majority of the gushing oil to the surface. But the cut and cap will not halt the oil flow, just capture some of it and funnel it to vessels waiting at the surface.

BP's best chance to permanently plug the leak rests with a pair of relief wells but those won't likely be completed until August.


Bluestein reported from Covington, La. Associated Press writers Darlene Superville and Pete Yost from Washington, Curt Anderson from Miami, Brian Skoloff from Port Fourchon, Mary Foster in Boothville, and Michael Kunzelman also contributed to this report.

© 2010 The Associated Press

June 2nd, 2010, 12:36 PM
Why is there not a Coast Guard contingent, guns drawn, aboard the ship with a broken saw? And a second Coast Guard contingent, guns drawn, at BP Headquarters, ready to arrest everybody at the top and take over the operation in the National Interest?

Hasn't Obama shown himself to be every bit as owned by the Gigantic Corporations as his predecessor?

Especially galling is that it's a British corporation. How much did they contribute to his election?

June 2nd, 2010, 12:50 PM
How would standing on the boat with guns make anything work better/faster?

I do not like this any more than you abl, but I fail to see where MILITARY action should be taken in a case like this. This is Civil with national implications. If the military cannot help, why waste the money in using them for something like this?

As for the well, I wonder if they could try a tap-line. Go to a point on the pipe that they know is still OK, attach a coupling around that portion of the pipe, then insert/cut a vent hole in it. Once that hole is drilled, something could be inserted to divert SOME of the flow. Additional measures could be taken as well (I was thinking like a plumbing valve) where the drill would proceed to the opposite side of the pipe and drill a complete axle support that would be reinforced by the coupling around it.

The trick would then be to find a way to butterfly-valve it. Getting a plate in there sideways that would allow them to close the pipe off 90% or so.

The problem is now it looks like everything they are trying has no guidance. If they can anchor to the pipe, and anchor the pipe itself, then getting other things in the right spot would be a LOT easier!

June 2nd, 2010, 01:14 PM
Seems that tapping into the pipe above the seabed isn't possible: Apparently the entire exposed area of the pipe / valves is compromised, due to the sideways pressure that came about when the rig tipped and sank, thereby pulling the attached piping (1 mile in length, from waterline down to sea bed) out of alignment.

After listening to the guy from Simmons on the vid (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23744&p=326843&viewfull=1#post326843) (previous page) that sideways pressure may have broken areas of the pipe BELOW the seabed, leading to additional breaks / leakages farther down and resulting in multiple leaks some distance from what we've been seeing on the BP vid. So to really stop the flow they have to tap in deeper beneath the seabed to a point between the oil reserve (at 18,000' below the surface of the sea) and at a point where the line is intact.

Per Obama & BP: Talk about a nightmare scenario. This is a new type of War, this one between an all-powerful Corporation and the Government. What is the precedent for how to proceed? Legally BP must fix, contain, pay for everything and they have all the info on what is going on. Pushing BP aside or putting guns at their throats may be needed, but what would the immediate consequences be if Obama "nationalized" BP? How would the BP employees, those with the supposed expertise, respond? Would such an action get the volcano of oil stopped any sooner? Seems the action by the AG for the criminal inquiry into BP is due to BP's failure to fully disclose to the Gov't / BP's duplicity, lies, cover-ups -- all in an attempt to minimize BP's liability -- is the first step to grab control of the Corporation.

June 2nd, 2010, 01:51 PM
If you google "gulf oil spill" and "nuclear" several blog-type reports claim the Obama administration is considering using a nuclear blast to plug the well. I don't trust these reports but they all reference the use of nukes in the Soviet Union -- the first in 1966. Here's a report from "Russia Today" suggesting providing background and analysis. Scary. I don't believe the Obama administration is giving this serious thought yet, but since Matt Simmons (see above) has already suggested this on Bloomberg and CNBC, expect to hear more about nuking the Gulf spill over the coming weeks and months.


June 2nd, 2010, 02:09 PM
At Ablarc:
I think you need to calm down and go have a beer at the local pub. Not your best contribution..

quote: Why is there not a Coast Guard contingent, guns drawn, aboard the ship with a broken saw? And a second Coast Guard contingent, guns drawn, at BP Headquarters, ready to arrest everybody at the top and take over the operation in the National Interest?

Hasn't Obama shown himself to be every bit as owned by the Gigantic Corporations as his predecessor?

June 2nd, 2010, 02:17 PM
Supertankers Could Clean Up The Gulf Oil Spill, BP Won't Listen
by Brit Liggett (http://inhabitat.com/author/brit-liggett/), 05/14/10
A former Shell Oil executive told FastCompany.com that a solution (http://www.fastcompany.com/1646820/could-the-gulf-oil-spill-could-cleaned-up-by-supertankers) to cleaning up the Gulf Coast Oil spill (http://inhabitat.com/index.php?s=gulf+coast+oil+spill) is right under BP’s noses. John Hofmeister, the former president of Shell Oil, and Nick Pozzi, a former pipeline engineering and operations project manager say that BP could use their very own supertankers to suck up the spilled oil in the gulf and possibly salvage it for sale down the line. The tactic was proven effective during a Saudi spill in the 90’s — it sucked up 85% of the renegade oil. BP has tankers already sitting in the Gulf of Mexico, so we’re thinking, with their tactics failing left and right (http://inhabitat.com/2010/05/10/bp-considers-other-options-after-oil-containment-cap-fails/), why don’t they get on this already?

NPR reported today (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126809525) that the spill is most likely gushing 10 times — possibly even 14 times — as much oil as previously thought, which would already put the spill in first place over the Exxon Valdez disaster. Hofmeister and Pozzi have been trying to get in touch with BP executives and persons in the Obama administration to present their genius idea to those in charge of the cleanup (http://inhabitat.com/index.php?s=gulf+coast+oil+spill). They’ve been repeatedly turned away, and, once, a lawsuit was even threatened. Hofmeister thinks BP is turning a blind eye to their solution because they don’t want to tie up their supertankers in the cleanup efforts.
Using their tankers for cleanup would mean tying up a huge part of their money-making process, not to mention they’d have to unload them of the oil that they’re holding first — which could prove a huge endeavor. It would take some planning to get in motion, but almost assuredly would clean up a vast amount of the oil already spilled across the Gulf. Plus they could deliver the oil to port, separate water out and then process it for sale. So what are they waiting for?

Read more: Gulf Spill Solution Could be Supertankers, BP Won't Listen | Inhabitat - Green Design Will Save the World (http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/05/14/gulf-spill-solution-could-be-supertankers-bp-wont-listen/#ixzz0pikguj5C)

June 2nd, 2010, 02:36 PM
How would standing on the boat with guns make anything work better/faster?

I do not like this any more than you abl, but I fail to see where MILITARY action should be taken in a case like this. This is Civil with national implications. If the military cannot help, why waste the money in using them for something like this?

As for the well, I wonder if they could try a tap-line. Go to a point on the pipe that they know is still OK, attach a coupling around that portion of the pipe, then insert/cut a vent hole in it. Once that hole is drilled, something could be inserted to divert SOME of the flow. Additional measures could be taken as well (I was thinknig like a plumbing valve) where the drell would preceed to the opposite side of the pipe and drill a somplete axle support that would be reinforced by the coupling around it.

The trick would then be to find a way to butterfly-valve it. Getting a plate in there sideways that would allow tham to close the pipe off 90% or so.

The problem is now it looks like everything they are trying has no guidance. If they can anchor to the pipe, and anchor the pipe itself, then getting other things in the right spot would be a LOT easier!

As long as we are playing arm chair wildcatters here, (me included) I calc the water column pressure exerted on the leaking oil to be about 2100 psi. http://www.lmnoeng.com/Statics/pressure.htm What is the pressure of the oil leak at the seabed?
It would seem that the deeper the wellhead is underwater, the slower the leak rate will be in a situation like this.

June 2nd, 2010, 03:42 PM
At Ablarc:
I think you need to calm down and go have a beer at the local pub.
I'm sorry, I thought this had become a matter of national security. If not ... of course, let it be: the BP Company can be relied to take care of things within their own fiscal model.

Could we put out fires on this model? Or handle outbursts of terrorism?

June 2nd, 2010, 04:01 PM
Don't you think profit --or at least, loss mitigation-- is the number one consideration in the decision-making of th BP Corporation? Why should they be let off the hook?

June 2nd, 2010, 04:09 PM
195, it all depends on how far below the surface the bed is, what is it contained in and other factors. It is obviously under more pressure than the water can provide or we would just be looking ad a bubbling kind of slow leak. The pressure is usually not determined simply by superimposed strata and their weight. It is usually because of other geotechnical movement and settlement.

Even if that was not the case, the weight of the rock is enough to squish it out quite fast (the pressure from the ocean also presses on the surrounding rock....)

If the oil line is as damaged as they say because of the rig's collapse, that makes things more difficult, but not impossible. The pipe still is there, they need to find a way to use it to be able to climb down that gusher. Kind of like Angioplasty. I am surprised nobody has even suggested anything remotely like this for this deep sea hemorrhage.

June 2nd, 2010, 07:42 PM
The real BP Global website: Gulf of Mexico response (http://www.bp.com/extendedsectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=40&contentId=7061813)

June 2nd, 2010, 07:56 PM
Oil Slickonomics – Part 5

Cumberland Advisors / Market Commentary (http://www.cumber.com/commentary.aspx?file=052710.asp)
David Kotok
Chairman and Chief Investment Officer
May 27, 2010

“Any and all injury, loss, destruction and damage arising out of or related to the above described casualty event was not caused or contributed to by any fault, negligence or lack of due care on the part of Petitioners…”

This was excerpted from the May 13, 2010 motion filed by Transocean in the Federal District Court of Texas, in which they are trying to limit their liability in claims against them to $27mm (to be exact, the number is $26,764,083.00), by invoking an 1851 maritime law. We have the full document posted on our website. See: http://www.cumber.com/content/Special/Triton051310.pdf .

This is chutzpah.

Chutzpah is a term that is often used in parts of the United States and originates in European Yiddish. It means brazenness, temerity in a pejorative way, engaging in an effrontery.

Here’s another example: Lehman Brothers’ lawyer takes a cab to the bankruptcy court. The cabbie says the fare is $27. The lawyer says, “Come inside and join the unsecured creditors.” That’s also chutzpah. You get my drift.

Legal process requires that Transocean’s lawyers admit no wrongdoing. We shall find out more about that when the allegations of negligence get the clarity of trials, depositions, interrogatories, witnesses, etc. So let’s just look at some facts.

Transocean is trying to avoid payment of claims by arguing they are under the rules of admiralty (law applied to the sea) and they are invoking the “Shipowner’s Limitation of Liability Act of 1851.” That’s right, 1851. The same Transocean that has collected over $400 million from its insurers is trying to avoid paying the claims of the injured and dead that resulted from the blowout of their drilling rig. This is also the same Transocean that valued the rig at $650 million before the blowout but now is using the $27 million figure because it is the remaining salvage value of this “vessel.”

By getting the case into admiralty court, Transocean may be able to delay the proceedings and may have the ability to limit exposure to a jury trial. They may be able to combine all the claims. They will claim that all they owe the injured and the families of the dead is $27mm. That, too, is chutzpah.

We are just starting to enter the legal proceeding stage of the BP-Transocean saga. This is where the figure will reach into the tens of billions if the Top Kill attempt to seal the well is successful and permanent. Tens of billions in claims are coming. More billions in clean up costs lie ahead. Over 130 lawsuits are already filed. Thousands will be involved before this is over.

New estimates are that the oil spewing rate is somewhere around 20,000 barrels a day; that’s nearly 1 million gallons a day. This is now deemed to be the largest and most serious oil catastrophe in US history. And the same politicians who didn’t impose strict rules and didn’t supervise and didn’t do what they were supposed to do, from either the White House or the Congress, are now claiming they have been busily concerning themselves with this event every day. That, too, is chutzpah.

By the way, Transocean says they filed the maritime limiting motion “at the instruction of our insurers” and in order to preserve coverage. Again, pure chutzpah.

The fight now is who pays whom and how much and when. The battles will be between lawyers. Stay tuned as we observe what is about to be one of the biggest legal battles in history. We continue to suggest that these liabilities are going to be huge and cannot be presently estimated. We would avoid these stocks. Some are recommending them over other energy companies. That, too, may come to be seen as chutzpah.


June 2nd, 2010, 08:09 PM
Get out your calculators ... One guy offers some numbers and a diagram (http://www.tudorpickering.com/pdfs/tph.well.slides.pdf):

The diagram notes that the Oil Reservoir Pressure is ~ 13,000 psi at a depth of ~ 18,360' ...

ZerOhead (http://www.zerohedge.com/article/another-bp-failure-bp-announces-decision-not-attach-2nd-blowout-preventer-resume-drilling-re#comment-387543)
June 1, 2010

... the well layout again ...

Thar she be..


A 36 inch diameter means the oil pressure of around 8,000 PSI (numbers courtesy of Thad Allen..)

means let's see... 36/2 (radius) =18... then squared = 324... then times Pi = 1,018 sq inces... times 8,000 PSI equals...

Eight million one hundred and forty four thousand pounds of upward pressure on the BOP of course one has to subtract the weight of the water column above it to come out with a final answer of...

Just over 6 million pounds of upward pressure on the BOP and wellhead! Ouch!


June 3rd, 2010, 12:13 AM
I'm sorry, I thought this had become a matter of national security. If not ... of course, let it be: the BP Company can be relied to take care of things within their own fiscal model.

Could we put out fires on this model? Or handle outbursts of terrorism?

I just want the damn thing plugged up. I wish Obama could miracle it closed, but he can't. I don't think all the threats of law suits and bodily harm in the world are going to help get it done any faster. Oil industry know how is needed here. There will be plenty of time for finger pointing later.

June 3rd, 2010, 12:42 AM
when folks are ready to give up their cars..... talk is cheap
how many households have more than 1 car??????
it's not just BP, because simply boycotting BP, will just give OTHER oil companies business... Would it not be good for people to start cutting their car usage(what a concept.... mass transit or car pool)

At Ablarc:
I think you need to calm down and go have a beer at the local pub. Not your best contribution..

quote: Why is there not a Coast Guard contingent, guns drawn, aboard the ship with a broken saw? And a second Coast Guard contingent, guns drawn, at BP Headquarters, ready to arrest everybody at the top and take over the operation in the National Interest?

Hasn't Obama shown himself to be every bit as owned by the Gigantic Corporations as his predecessor?

June 3rd, 2010, 12:50 AM
before the oil spill, 'all' (majority) were 'ok' with oil drilling , I did not see people protesting oil companies to the point of boycotting, and not driving their oil tank cars, at that time

Now 'everyone' is coming out of the wood work as if 'they all knew' , until after the fact..... well nice job folks....it's too late

How would standing on the boat with guns make anything work better/faster?

I do not like this any more than you abl, but I fail to see where MILITARY action should be taken in a case like this. This is Civil with national implications. If the military cannot help, why waste the money in using them for something like this?

As for the well, I wonder if they could try a tap-line. Go to a point on the pipe that they know is still OK, attach a coupling around that portion of the pipe, then insert/cut a vent hole in it. Once that hole is drilled, something could be inserted to divert SOME of the flow. Additional measures could be taken as well (I was thinknig like a plumbing valve) where the drell would preceed to the opposite side of the pipe and drill a somplete axle support that would be reinforced by the coupling around it.

The trick would then be to find a way to butterfly-valve it. Getting a plate in there sideways that would allow tham to close the pipe off 90% or so.

The problem is now it looks like everything they are trying has no guidance. If they can anchor to the pipe, and anchor the pipe itself, then getting other things in the right spot would be a LOT easier!

June 3rd, 2010, 01:18 AM
June 2, 2010 NYTimes
Nuclear Option on Gulf Oil Spill? No Way, U.S. Says (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/03/us/03nuke.html)
The chatter began weeks ago as armchair engineers brainstormed for ways to stop the torrent of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico: What about nuking the well?

Decades ago, the Soviet Union reportedly used nuclear blasts to successfully seal off runaway gas wells, inserting a bomb deep underground and letting its fiery heat melt the surrounding rock to shut off the flow. Why not try it here?

The idea has gained fans with each failed attempt to stem the leak and each new setback — on Wednesday, the latest rescue effort stalled when a wire saw being used to slice through the riser pipe got stuck.

“Probably the only thing we can do is create a weapon system and send it down 18,000 feet and detonate it, hopefully encasing the oil,” Matt Simmons, a Houston energy expert and investment banker, told Bloomberg News on Friday, attributing the nuclear idea to “all the best scientists.”

Or as the CNN reporter John Roberts suggested last week, “Drill a hole, drop a nuke in and seal up the well.”

This week, with the failure of the “top kill” attempt, the buzz had grown loud enough that federal officials felt compelled to respond.

Stephanie Mueller, a spokeswoman for the Energy Department, said that neither Energy Secretary Steven Chu nor anyone else was thinking about a nuclear blast under the gulf. The nuclear option was not — and never had been — on the table, federal officials said.

“It’s crazy,” one senior official said.

Government and private nuclear experts agreed that using a nuclear bomb would be not only risky technically, with unknown and possibly disastrous consequences from radiation, but also unwise geopolitically — it would violate arms treaties that the United States has signed and championed over the decades and do so at a time when President Obama is pushing for global nuclear disarmament.

The atomic option is perhaps the wildest among a flood of ideas proposed by bloggers, scientists and other creative types who have deluged government agencies and BP, the company that drilled the well, with phone calls and e-mail messages. The Unified Command overseeing the Deepwater Horizon disaster features a “suggestions” button on its official Web site and more than 7,800 people have already responded, according to the site.

Among the suggestions: lowering giant plastic pillows to the seafloor and filling them with oil, dropping a huge block of concrete to squeeze off the flow and using magnetic clamps to attach pipes that would siphon off the leaking oil.

Some have also suggested conventional explosives, claiming that oil prospectors on land have used such blasts to put out fires and seal boreholes. But oil engineers say that dynamite or other conventional explosives risk destroying the wellhead so that the flow could never be plugged from the top.

Along with the kibbitzers, the government has also brought in experts from around the world — including scores of scientists from the Los Alamos National Laboratory and other government labs — to assist in the effort to cap the well.

In theory, the nuclear option seems attractive because the extreme heat might create a tough seal. An exploding atom bomb generates temperatures hotter than the surface of the sun and, detonated underground, can turn acres of porous rock into a glassy plug, much like a huge stopper in a leaky bottle.

Michael E. Webber, a mechanical engineer at the University of Texas, Austin, wrote to Dot Earth, a New York Times blog, in early May that he had surprised himself by considering what once seemed unthinkable. “Seafloor nuclear detonation,” he wrote, “is starting to sound surprisingly feasible and appropriate.”

Much of the enthusiasm for an atomic approach is based on reports that the Soviet Union succeeded in using nuclear blasts to seal off gas wells. Milo D. Nordyke, in a 2000 technical paper for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif., described five Soviet blasts from 1966 to 1981.

All but the last blast were successful. The 1966 explosion put out a gas well fire that had raged uncontrolled for three years. But the last blast of the series, Mr. Nordyke wrote, “did not seal the well,” perhaps because the nuclear engineers had poor geological data on the exact location of the borehole.

Robert S. Norris, author of “Racing for the Bomb” and an atomic historian, noted that all the Soviet blasts were on land and never involved oil.

Whatever the technical merits of using nuclear explosions for constructive purposes, the end of the cold war brought wide agreement among nations to give up the conduct of all nuclear blasts, even for peaceful purposes. The United States, after conducting more than 1,000 nuclear test explosions, detonated the last one in 1992, shaking the ground at the Nevada test site.

In 1996, the United States championed the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty, a global accord meant to end the development of new kinds of nuclear arms. President Obama is pushing for new global rules, treaties and alliances that he insists can go much further to produce a nuclear-free world. For his administration to seize on a nuclear solution for the gulf crisis, officials say, would abandon its international agenda and responsibilities and give rogue states an excuse to seek nuclear strides.

Kevin Roark, a spokesman for Los Alamos in New Mexico, the birthplace of the atomic bomb, said that despite rumors to the contrary, none of the laboratory’s thousands of experts was devising nuclear options for the gulf.

“Nothing of the sort is going on here,” he said in an interview. “In fact, we’re not working on any intervention ideas at all. We’re providing diagnostics and other support but nothing on the intervention side.”

A senior Los Alamos scientist, speaking on the condition of anonymity because his comments were unauthorized, ridiculed the idea of using a nuclear blast to solve the crisis in the gulf.

“It’s not going to happen,” he said. “Technically, it would be exploring new ground in the midst of a disaster — and you might make it worse.”

Not everyone on the Internet is calling for nuking the well. Some are making jokes. “What’s worse than an oil spill?” asked a blogger on Full Comment, a blog of The National Post in Toronto. “A radioactive oil spill.”

Henry Fountain contributed reporting.

June 3rd, 2010, 02:03 AM
^^^ There's certainly enough hypocrisy to go around. But I wouldn't necessarily assume the people on this thread haven't been thinking about environmental issues for decades. We all need to change our habits, no doubt about it, but would you rather we all ignore the manifest criminal negligence leading up to this disaster?

June 3rd, 2010, 08:12 AM
What if the bomb were to breach the oil field, not seal the small part we tapped into?

I would worry about many things:

-Turning the leak site into a ragged gaping hole that cannot be sealed.
-Causing a tear in the rock (fracture) that would breach the oil field
-Radioactivity in the soil/water and oil itself.

The whole thing about this being against disarmament is ludicrous. "OMG you said you did not want nuclear weapons stockpiled high enough to blow the world up 100X over but here you are using one to seal a well!!!, Hmm? HMM??!?"

Unsubstantiated conjecture is sad.

June 3rd, 2010, 08:20 AM
when folks are ready to give up their cars..... talk is cheap how many households have more than 1 car??????No doubt that cars are a problem, but as already pointed out by another poster, oil is deeply ingrained in our lifestyles.

Is your home air conditioned? Do we need it in so many places? Wasn't too long ago that movie theaters advertised that they had air conditioning.

What about plastic water bottles? Found a few facts: In 1976, an American consumed 1.6 gallons of bottled water; in 2006, it was 28 gallons. Plastic is made from hydrocarbons, and it took 17 million barrels of oil just to make the bottles.

Go into a store and buy a bunch of small items. They are all wrapped in oversized plastic cases (antitheft). Not too long ago, a clerk put all the loose items in a paper bag.

How about all the electronic junk we use? Where does the power come from?

June 3rd, 2010, 10:12 AM
It comes from God.

June 3rd, 2010, 10:19 AM
@ Ninja -- I think the nuclear "option" is nuts, and posted the info just to show the level desperation out there. There cannot be any justification for exploding a nuclear device in order to stem environmental destruction. Violating the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty is not trivial either.

What's worse than the worst oil spill ever? -- the worst radioactive oil spill ever.

June 3rd, 2010, 10:25 AM
This accident is a predictable result of politicians and general public ignoring reality - that alternative sources of energies will require decades to reach the point where they make any difference, and the only choice is either nuclear power or burning coal/oil/gas.

If the same standards of safety that are used for nuclear power were applied to oil drilling, this drilling and accident would never have happened. The nuclear fuel storage in Nevada was subjected to years of review by hundreds of scientists, with billions of dollars spent on this review, with the goal of making this storage safe for 20,000 years. This drilling obviously had much less rigorous review, the accident happened much sooner than 20,000 years.

June 3rd, 2010, 10:37 AM
If this accident teaches us anything, perhaps it is that we now understand that cheap oil is done, or perhaps there never really was any cheap oil. Fossil fuels cost more than what we pay for in energy and consumables. They always have, and they always will. We have to admit, if we are not going to live like the Amish, that we our going to be using oil for decades, perhaps for the rest of this century. We have to learn to live with real costs, which should include much much higher prices to pay for safety measures and to regulate the oil industry.

June 3rd, 2010, 11:36 AM
The USA -- politicians, industry leaders and citizens -- have known for at least 40 years that the day was upon us when it is necessary to seriously pursue an alternative to oil. Rather than deal with the situation in a way that would serve the future of the country we drove on, foolishly spending billions on other ventures to assure satisfaction of our oil fix and ignoring the ramifications of our consumption / failure to act responsibly.

We had ample notice. We made the choice. FAIL.

June 3rd, 2010, 11:51 AM
How will America be able to cope with both the looming debt crises & a our growing need for energy: continued off-shore drilling will certainly help the matter. The continued processes of nuclear & oil energy procuction will not hamper our continued investments in alternate methods of energy production that are less environmentally hasardous.

The BP oil spill will likely result the curtailment of plans for increases in off-shore drilling; plans that had already (wisely) been put in place by the Obama Administration.

I would prefer to see an increase in the safety standards for off-shore drilling rather than a decrease in off-shore drilling activity on American soil.

And, it seems pretty obvious at this point: the less members of the general public, politicians (or movie producers LOL) have to do with setting those standards & proceedures, the better.

June 3rd, 2010, 12:10 PM

Plain and simple. Making the need less by using the methods we have now makes the impetus for future development less. Having more oil and Nuke will forestall further alternate development.

Example, every bump in oil prices/lack of immediate supply has bumped our fuel economy higher (either by law or consumer demand). When oil was relatively cheap, SUV's boomed and our net efficiency stagnated or declined.

Also, how would they pay for the additional standards? You think BP and Exxon will just spend more on safety out of their own pockets? Nope.

How is off shore drilling wise? Because it costs less? Are we in a shortage now? Is there a projected shortage? If so, shouldn't we be calling for higher efficiency standards rather than drilling closer and closer to the places where many of our other industries would be effected by any problems?

As we have seen, accidents happen. Some happen because of negligence or an unwillingness to accept the additional expense and effort needed to curtail them. Calling for a blind sided "drillin' on American Soil" is mixing motives here. Drilling here puts us at risk for a limited resource that is also polluting.

Maybe if we put some serious cash into developing a working solar or other renewable energy source, we would not even have to think about whose soil we are drilling on. Maybe people woule be paying US for our resources rather than the other way around. There is only so much Legal and Financial advice you can sell to people before you need something with a bit more substance, and use, to the general public.

June 3rd, 2010, 01:50 PM
I would prefer to see an increase in the safety standards for off-shore drilling rather than a decrease in off-shore drilling activity on American soil.

And, it seems pretty obvious at this point: the less members of the general public, politicians (or movie producers LOL) have to do with setting those standards & proceedures, the better.

Are you saying we should let the petroleum / drilling industries set and regulate those safety / mitigation standards?

June 3rd, 2010, 03:13 PM
Who needs Canaries when we have Idiots.

June 3rd, 2010, 04:26 PM
"Are you saying we should let the petroleum / drilling industries set and regulate those safety / mitigation standards?"

No, I am saying (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1283672/GULF-OIL-SPILL-James-Camerons-view-BP-fix-fails.html) DRILL-BABY-DRILL (LOL)

But seriously folks; as I said, just "the less the better". James Cameron thinks the oil industry engineers are all "Morons" - I say trust the experts in the field, and get out of their way so they can do the job with out being second guessed by Leonardo DeCaprio, Nancy Pelosi or any one else who just doesn't know what the heck they are talking about.

BTW - Some great commentary at the Daily Mail Article. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1283672/GULF-OIL-SPILL-James-Camerons-view-BP-fix-fails.html)

June 3rd, 2010, 04:39 PM
But you don't want the politicians, movie folks, or the public involved. So who picks the decision makers and who calls the shots?

June 3rd, 2010, 04:52 PM
"So who picks the decision makers and who calls the shots?"

The 'know-it-alls' from WiredNY: of course. (lol)

On that note: here is the very first reader comment from that artiicle in the Daily Mail.
Quote What a joke - a man who has paid some people to fly cameras down to a couple of wrecks and has no experience whatsoever of capping a well thinks he can tell the best ROV pilots in the world how to do their job.
He has no experience whatsoever with the heavy duty work class ROVs being used in this operation or the complex mechanical manipulators or other specialised equipment they carry.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1283672/GULF-OIL-SPILL-James-Camerons-view-BP-fix-fails.html#ixzz0ppJxj300

June 3rd, 2010, 05:46 PM
OK, we get that James Cameron is not choice number one.

That still doesn't answer the question: Who should determine the way to FULLY solve this problem? You say no government, no public. Now we have a self-interested corporation calling the shots on the many failed attempts to stop their self-induced spew of oil beneath the sea along with their all-out control of the supposed mitigation and clean up along the shore line (which includes their recent PR campaign where BP says they will make good on all "legitimate" claims, meaning "See you in court.").

Note this announcement from BP (I wonder how long it took and how many miles of shoreline were spoiled while BP negotiated this deal):

BP Agrees to Fund Construction of Six Sections of Louisiana Barrier Islands (http://www.bp.com/extendedsectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=40&contentId=7061813)

BP today announced that it supports the U.S. government’s decision to proceed with the construction of six sections of the Louisiana barrier islands proposal. The company will fund the estimated $360 million it will cost to construct the six sections.

BP will not manage or contract directly for the construction of the island sections, nor will the company assume any liability for unintended consequences of the project. The company plans to make payments in stages based on the project’s milestones.

June 3rd, 2010, 06:07 PM
BP CEO gives his word (for what its worth anymore) to honor "legitimate" claims:


June 3rd, 2010, 06:16 PM
BP "owns" even the airspace over the Gulf of Mexico!

James Lavin blog (http://www.jameslavin.com/articles/2010/05/28/bp-owns-even-the-airspace-over-the-gulf-of-mexico/)
May 28, 2010

Newsweek reports on the non-reporting of America’s worst environmental disaster:

Belle Chasse, La.-based Southern Seaplane Inc…. was scheduled to take a New Orleans Times-Picayune photographer for a flyover on Tuesday afternoon, and says it was denied permission once BP officials learned that a member of the press would be on board.

“We are not at liberty to fly media, journalists, photographers, or scientists,” the company said in a letter it sent on Tuesday to Sen. David Vitter (R-La.). “We strongly feel that the reason for this massive [temporary flight restriction] is that BP wants to control their exposure to the press.”

…Since the flight restrictions were expanded on May 11, private aircraft must get permission from BP’s command center to fly over a huge portion of the Gulf of Mexico encompassing not just the growing slick in the Gulf, but the entire Louisiana coastline, where oil is washing ashore. If a request is denied, aircraft must stay 3,000 feet above the restricted area, where visibility is minimal.

Photographers who have traveled to the Gulf commonly say they believe that BP has exerted more control over coverage of the spill with the cooperation of the federal government and local law enforcement. “It’s a running joke among the journalists covering the story that the words ‘Coast Guard’ affixed to any vehicle, vessel, or plane should be prefixed with ‘BP,’ ” says Charlie Varley, a Louisiana-based photographer. “It would be funny if it were not so serious.”

…Herbert accompanied local officials from Plaquemines Parish in a police boat on a trip to Breton Island, a national wildlife refuge off the barrier islands of Louisiana. With them was Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of Jacques, who wanted to study the impact of the oil below the surface of the water. Upon approaching the island, a Coast Guard boat stopped them. “The first question was, ‘Is there any press with you?’ ” says Herbert. They answered yes, and the Coast Guard said they couldn’t be there….

Local fishermen and charter boat captains are also being pressured by BP not to work with the press. Left without a source of income, most have decided to work with BP.


BP's Photo Blockade of the Gulf Oil Spill

Photographers say BP and government officials are preventing them from documenting the impact of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

NEWSWEEK (http://www.newsweek.com/2010/05/26/the-missing-oil-spill-photos.html)

As BP makes its latest attempt to plug its gushing oil well (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/27/us/27spill.html), news photographers are complaining that their efforts to document the slow-motion disaster in the Gulf of Mexico are being thwarted by local and federal officials—working with BP—who are blocking access to the sites where the effects of the spill are most visible. More than a month into the disaster, a host of anecdotal evidence is emerging from reporters, photographers, and TV crews in which BP and Coast Guard officials explicitly target members of the media, restricting and denying them access to oil-covered beaches, staging areas for clean-up efforts, and even flyovers.

Last week, a CBS TV crew was threatened with arrest (http://www.mediabistro.com/prnewser/crisis_communications/cbs_denied_access_to_shoot_oil_spill_coast_guard_a nd_contractors_say_this_is_bps_rules_not_ours_1621 74.asp) when attempting to film an oil-covered beach. On Monday, Mother Jones published this firsthand account (http://motherjones.com/environment/2010/05/oil-spill-bp-grand-isle-beach) of one reporter’s repeated attempts to gain access to clean-up operations on oil-soaked beaches, and the telling response of local law enforcement. The latest instance of denied press access comes from Belle Chasse, La.-based Southern Seaplane Inc., which was scheduled to take a New Orleans Times-Picayune photographer for a flyover on Tuesday afternoon, and says it was denied permission once BP officials learned that a member of the press would be on board.

June 3rd, 2010, 06:22 PM
Why is there not a Coast Guard contingent, guns drawn, aboard the ship with a broken saw? And a second Coast Guard contingent, guns drawn, at BP Headquarters, ready to arrest everybody at the top and take over the operation in the National Interest?

What is the word for it when a military sector allies itself with an entity acting against the good of the nation?

From the Newsweek article posted above:

“It’s a running joke among the journalists covering the story that the words ‘Coast Guard’ affixed to any vehicle, vessel, or plane should be prefixed with ‘BP,’ ” says Charlie Varley, a Louisiana-based photographer. “It would be funny if it were not so serious.”

…Herbert accompanied local officials from Plaquemines Parish in a police boat on a trip to Breton Island, a national wildlife refuge off the barrier islands of Louisiana. With them was Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of Jacques, who wanted to study the impact of the oil below the surface of the water. Upon approaching the island, a Coast Guard boat stopped them. “The first question was, ‘Is there any press with you?’ ” says Herbert. They answered yes, and the Coast Guard said they couldn’t be there ….

Local fishermen and charter boat captains are also being pressured by BP not to work with the press. Left without a source of income, most have decided to work with BP.

June 4th, 2010, 07:44 AM
Lofter, IS can't answer your questions because he does not have a patsy to lay the blame or credit on.

When he is able to point at James Cameron and say "not him" he feels like he is Tea-Party right in saying "Don't tread (water) on Me", but fails to say anything about groups that would be able to insure the welfare of the public over the profits of a company.

As for the whole press blockade, how the HELL to they get the right to do that? I think there might be a partial conflict in regards to safety, but I think the main reason a lot of people are not allowed on the beach is simple. You lose money if people see your beach full of crud. You post pictures of blue water and white sand like on BP's site, clean waterfowl and a heartfelt outreach by a person in charge. You do not show cruddy critters and blackened beaches.

As for the Coast Guard, that is something that really needs to be addressed. If they are limiting the access to the area for safety and operations, fine, but not allowing a plane to flyover only AFTER learning of a member of the press being aboard? Foul!

BP should have no say in who gets to flyover.


June 4th, 2010, 09:25 AM
I only have fans, no air conditioner
I hardly use bottles, I especially don't use water bottles , that's what faucets are for.

I only turn on lights when needed. I don't have a dishwasher. my electric bill is only appox 80dollars and my gas bill is only approx 16 dollars

I don't use paper napkins, but cloth napkins. I never use paper plates , or plastic cups.

I also use the reusable canvas (granny) bags for shopping.

but a little conservation from everyone does count (it adds up).

keep up the list of conservation ideas, your ideas are a great start.

No doubt that cars are a problem, but as already pointed out by another poster, oil is deeply ingrained in our lifestyles.

Is your home air conditioned? Do we need it in so many places? Wasn't too long ago that movie theaters advertised that they had air conditioning.

What about plastic water bottles? Found a few facts: In 1976, an American consumed 1.6 gallons of bottled water; in 2006, it was 28 gallons. Plastic is made from hydrocarbons, and it took 17 million barrels of oil just to make the bottles.

Go into a store and buy a bunch of small items. They are all wrapped in oversized plastic cases (antitheft). Not too long ago, a clerk put all the loose items in a paper bag.

How about all the electronic junk we use? Where does the power come from?

June 4th, 2010, 09:38 AM
exactly, only geologists, oceanographers, marine biologists and other scientists should we working 24/7 on this issue.
not politicians(which they are not= who's actually manning a skimmer or well dome???), movie /producers .....

the first job is to stop the spill and cleanup
second change the regulations/restrictions
then finger pointing - wildlife don't need it NOW

But you don't want the politicians, movie folks, or the public involved. So who picks the decision makers and who calls the shots?

June 4th, 2010, 10:35 AM
I'd say get anybody and everybody with a viable idea in there to stop the ongoing damage. Tony Hayward of BP sure as hell doesn't have a handle on it. There will be a special place in hell for him and his cohorts.

BP is stringing so-called absorbent booms (technology circa 1979) around the little islands off the coast of Louisiana, securing them with bamboo poles, and then leaving them unchecked. Many of the booms have now washed up onto the fragile islands and are doing nothing to stop the oil from reaching shore. This means that the oil is absorbed into the soil there, stopping oxygen exchange which will result in the death of both plant and animal life on the islands.

Rachel Maddow covered this last night with extensive vid of the area, accompanied by Mike Blum of Tulane University, and it shows that BP is utterly failing to fulfill their legal requirement to do everything necessary to contain the oil from their well:

How Not to Respond to an Oil Spill -- Booming Fails on Louisiana Coast (http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/heather/rachel-maddow-how-not-respond-oil-spill-bo)

As Jon Stewart pointed out last night: The oil, now mixed with dispersant and turned into brown clumps, has arrived on shore looking exactly like clumps of sh!t but smelling like a refinery:

The Spilling Fields - To Shell and Back (http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-june-3-2010/the-spilling-fields---to-shell-and-back)

June 4th, 2010, 11:01 AM
The sad fact is that we don't have the technology to do stop this. We can document it better than ever, make better predictions about its spread, thats about it.

All these actions by BP and the US govt to "fix" this is just theater to distract the public while the real work goes on - drilling relief wells that will take weeks or months to finish.

June 4th, 2010, 11:10 AM
I only have fans, no air conditioner
The "you" is collective.

Long-term decisions are going to have to be made that go well beyond curtailing or banning cars. The #1 contributor of CO2 emissions is electricity generation, ahead of all modes of transportation combined.

June 4th, 2010, 11:23 AM
Yeah, BP now acknowledges their "tool box" just wasn't good enough. But in order to get the license to drill they maintained all sorts of things they (supposedly) had in line in order to deal with any and all eventualities. Odd how an industry can earn record profits (http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2009/performers/companies/profits/index.html) last year but fails to put hardly any of that into R&D for mitigation of their bad deeds, even though the spirit of the law required them to do so.

June 4th, 2010, 11:28 AM
The sad fact is that we don't have the technology to do stop this. Where's Bruce Willis?

June 4th, 2010, 11:47 AM
Lofter, like I (believe) I said, things do not change until they start costing money.

BP will have to pay LOADS of money on this one, but the sad part is, the money they spend to mitigate this in the future will not be spent on research, but on legal manipulation and lobbying that will change the laws so they run less of a risk of financial responsibility should this ever happen again.

Like the proposed limits to lawsuit damages. Instead of making sure your company does not put out a Phen Fen (was that it?) deathtrap, limit the $$ each "unfortunate anomaly" (victim) can receive.

$10M spent on that will yield more profit than $10M in research for better booms..... :mad:

June 4th, 2010, 11:58 AM
Maybe some good news this time?

Washington Post story, 4 June 2010:

BP puts containment dome on gushing geyser; some oil successfully funneled to ship (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/04/AR2010060400127.html?hpid=topnews)

By Joel Achenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 4, 2010; 11:48 AM

June 4th, 2010, 01:08 PM
Go look at the live feed. It's still gushing out between the well head and cap.
I think I'm going to take some of my own advice and go have several brews. This is ugly beyond measure.

June 4th, 2010, 01:29 PM
That huge new cloud is from open vents on the sides of the newly-placed cap.

They've said from the beginning of this attempt (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/03/cut-and-cap-results-gulf-oil-spill_n_600184.html) that even with this cap on top of the BOP / valve that the connector pipe / hose will only collect a minor amount of the oil coming from the well. But the pipe hose hasn't been fully connected yet and meanwhile the vents on the exterior of the cap are still open, resulting it a much bigger cloud of spewing oil (the flow of which increased when the pipe was snipped yesterday and created an expanded opening in the pipe at the top of the BOP). Plus there are littler hoses all around the cap / BOP pumping huge amounts of dispersant into the cloud of gushing oil. And another hose pumping methanol into the cap to keep ice crystals from forming.

If the connector doesn't work as planned then this spewing is what we'll see until at least some point in August. The flow won't be controlled to any degree until they tap into the subsurface well pipe and then close off the well for good.

June 4th, 2010, 01:45 PM
Cut-And-Cap Results: Gulf Oil Spill Containment Effort Still Underway

The Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/03/cut-and-cap-results-gulf-oil-spill_n_600184.html)
May 4, 2010

... newly disclosed internal Coast Guard documents from the day after the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast indicated that U.S. officials were warning of a leak of 336,000 gallons per day of crude from the well in the event of a complete blowout.

The well didn't have such a failure. But the volume turned out to be much closer to that figure than the 42,000 gallons per day that BP first estimated. Weeks later that was revised to 210,000 gallons. Now, an estimated 500,000 to 1 million gallons of crude is believed to be leaking daily.

June 4th, 2010, 02:12 PM
From Mother Jones (http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/05/bp-logo-oil-spill/04):

BP: Beyond PR

Rebranding the oil giant that permanently branded the Gulf of Mexico. A slideshow (http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/05/bp-logo-oil-spill).

June 4th, 2010, 02:20 PM

1,000,000 Gal/day
42 Gal/Barrel

They are losing $1.69M per day since April 20th in raw stock alone.

46 days -> $77.8M in oil. That is a lot of cash to be losing on one rig, not including cost from the loss of the rig, the workers, their stock price, the cleanup costs....

I wonder if there is any way to stick BP with the full bill on us and not have iot sneak back on us in gas prices (although that would actually be a hidden boon, promoting further efficiency)......

June 4th, 2010, 02:23 PM
Cap Collects Oil in Gulf, but Result of Effort Is Still Unclear

NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/05/us/politics/05obama.html?hp)
June 4, 2010; 1:55 PM EST

NEW ORLEANS – The cap that has been placed over the leaking oil well a mile beneath the Gulf of Mexico has begun to collect some of the oil, officials said Friday, but it was not yet clear whether the latest attempt to contain the spill would succeed.

Adm. Thad W. Allen of the Coast Guard, who is commanding the federal response to the disaster, said some oil had been collected in the cap and was beginning to funnel up to the surface. But he noted that a great deal of oil was still escaping, by design, through vents in the cap that were intended to let oil out in order to keep cold Gulf water from rushing in and forming icy hydrates that could block the flow of oil to the surface.

So it will not be clear if the cap is sealed tightly enough to prevent large amounts of oil from continuing to pour into the Gulf until those vents are closed, Admiral Allen said. He said that current plans call for closing those vents on Friday.

“Progress is being made,” he said during a morning telephone briefing with reporters. But, given the up and down nature of past efforts to contain the disaster, he hastened to add, “I think we have to caution against over-optimism here.”

He said a rough estimate of the current collection would be about 1,000 gallons a day. The spill is sending an estimated 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day into gulf waters.

>> NOTE: 1 Barrel = 42 US Gallons, which would put those barrels per day figures at:

12,000 barrels = 504,000 gallons per day / 19,000 barrels = 798,000 gallons per day

The news came as President Obama prepared to make his third trip to the Gulf Friday to assess the situation and meet with officials responding to the crisis. Mr. Obama canceled his trip to Australia, Indonesia and Guam late Thursday night.

While the White House statement offered no reason for scratching the Asia trip this time, officials in recent days had grown increasingly convinced that it was untenable for the president to leave the country for a week with the oil spill still unchecked.

Mr. Obama telephoned Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia to tell them he could not come after all, the White House said in a statement issued at midnight.

“President Obama expressed his deep regret that he has to postpone his trip to Asia that was scheduled for later this month,” the statement said. “The president looked forward to rescheduling so that he can visit both countries soon.”

Mr. Obama has called the spill his “highest priority” and the White House understands it will absorb a considerable portion of the president’s time this summer. The failure to stop the leak after more than six weeks has fed concern about the administration’s powerlessness in the face of this crisis, and the White House has been determined to show that it is fully engaged.

BP chief executive Tony Hayward told investors Friday that “the financial consequences of this incident will undoubtedly be severe” but that BP’s current finances give it “significant flexibility in dealing with the costs of this incident.” He declined to estimate the costs of the efforts to stop the leak and clean up the spill.

In his first address to BP investors since the April accident, Mr. Hayward apologized for the damage the company caused to American citizens, the area, its employees, investors and other stakeholders.

“Everyone at BP is heartbroken by this event, by the loss of life and by the damage to the environment and to the livelihoods of the people of the Gulf Coast,” Mr. Hayward said on a call with investors. “It should not have happened and we are bound and determined to learn every lesson to try and ensure it never happens again.”

BP plans to set up a separate organization to manage the response once the spill is over and allow some BP employees to focus exclusively on the situation in the Gulf rather than being sidetracked to run the daily operation of the firm, Mr. Hayward said. The stand-alone unit will be led by Robert Dudley, the former chief executive of BP’s Russian venture.

Mr. Obama’s decision to cancel his Asia trip underscored the way the oil spill is forcing the White House to recalibrate plans for this summer. BP and the government have given up trying to plug the leak and are focusing now on siphoning or containing it until relief wells can be completed, perhaps by August. As a result, the president faces another two months in crisis management before he can even turn his focus exclusively to cleanup and recovery.

White House officials said they will not let the focus on the oil spill detract from the rest of the president’s economic, legislative and foreign agenda, pointing out that he still seems likely to sign financial regulation reform by next month, push through his Supreme Court nominee and win sanctions against Iran at the United Nations Security Council.

“The American people don’t elect somebody, I think, that they don’t believe can walk and chew gum at the same time,” Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, told reporters earlier Thursday. “Sometimes it feels like we walk and chew gum and juggle on a unicycle all at the same time. I get that.”

But, he added, “there’s a whole lot of people working on a whole lot of things in the White House, and we’re able to do more than several things at once.”

To get through the crisis without letting it detract from the rest of the president’s agenda, the White House plans to try to wall off those dealing with the spill from the rest of Mr. Obama’s team, particularly John Brennan, the homeland security adviser, and Carol Browner, the energy and climate adviser. The White House is counting on a strong jobs report on Friday to reassure Americans that its programs are bolstering the economy.

Yet the president’s time and energy are finite and every day devoted to the oil spill is one that he cannot focus as much of his own resources on other issues. The juggling of his schedule Friday showed the complexities in store for the White House over the next two months – the president will visit a commercial truck dealership and truck parts supplier in Maryland to highlight the jobs report in the morning, then fly to New Orleans to assess the latest efforts to combat the spill in the afternoon.

This was the second time Mr. Obama has scrubbed the trip to Australia and Indonesia. He was originally scheduled to travel there in March but canceled at the last minute to stay in Washington to lobby for passage of his health care legislation. He also had passed up a trip to Indonesia in connection with a regional summit meeting held in Singapore in November 2009.

The White House announced no date for rescheduling the Australia-Indonesia trip. But Julian Aldrin Pasha, the spokesman for the Indonesian president, told the financial newspaper Bisnis Indonesia that it had been rescheduled for November.

At a separate event on Thursday, Mr. Obama announced he will visit India in November.

The Australia-Indonesia trip is the most prominent example so far of what will have to be sacrificed on the president’s agenda as a result of the spill. While not the highest foreign policy priority, the trip was considered important by administration officials because Australia is one of America’s strongest allies and because Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation. Mr. Obama also spent several years of his youth in Indonesia.

In its statement, the White House signaled that it was not abandoning its allies: “President Obama underscored his commitment to our close alliance with Australia and our deepening partnership with Indonesia. He plans to hold full bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Rudd and President Yudhoyono on the margins of the G-20 meeting in Canada.” The Group of 20 major industrial nations will be meeting in Toronto in late June.

On Thursday, the White House announced that it had sent a $69 million bill to BP for the first installment of clean up costs. The White House has made a point of criticizing BP lately and the Justice Department has opened criminal investigation into what caused the April 20 explosion that ultimately sank the Deepwater Horizon rig, killed 11 workers and touched off the leak.

Mr. Obama, who has also been confronted by questions about his cool public reaction, said Thursday night that he is “furious at this entire situation” but does not show it because it does not accomplish anything.

“I would love to just spend a lot of my time venting and yelling at people,” he said on “Larry King Live” on CNN. “But that’s not the job I was hired to do. My job is to solve this problem and ultimately this isn’t about me and how angry I am. Ultimately, this is about the people down in the Gulf who are being impacted and what am I doing to make sure that they’re able to salvage their way of life.”

Michael Cooper reported from New Orleans, Peter Baker from Washington and Henry Fountain from New York. Julia Werdigier contributed reporting.

Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company

June 4th, 2010, 02:40 PM
They are losing $1.69M per day since April 20th in raw stock alone.

46 days -> $77.8M in oil. That is a lot of cash ....

I wonder if there is any way to stick BP with the full bill on us and not have iot sneak back on us in gas prices (although that would actually be a hidden boon, promoting further efficiency)......

They've got tons of cash, per BP stock info (http://www.wikinvest.com/stock/BP_(BP)) ...

In 2009, both rising oil prices and BP's ability to cut costs during the fourth quarter contributed significantly to the $4.3 billion quarterly profit ...

Quarterly Analysis 1Q 2010: Due to higher oil prices, BP's first quarter 2010 profits were $6.08 billion compared to $2.56 billion in the first quarter of 2009.

Will US gas prices be effected by BP's current woes? They could try to increase the price at their own BP pumps, and attempt to pass along the cost when negotiating their huge DOD contracts (Pentagon contracts are worth $2.2 billion a year (http://online.wsj.com/community/groups/question-day-229/topics/should-british-petroleum-barred-future?commentid=1216172), according to government records.).

But wouldn't the competition from Exxon, Texaco, etc. screw them (unless they all do some old fashioned price fixing and take advantage of us all).

June 4th, 2010, 03:12 PM

More likely, BP would become a takeover target. While market value corrodes and its ability to operate in the US becomes more untenable, its worldwide assets are attractive.

Unlikely it would be attempted while oil is spewing into the Gulf, but waiting too long (well is capped) and the stock might recover.

Royal Dutch Shell

This is the maddening financial stuff that quietly goes on while a physical disaster is playing out.

June 4th, 2010, 11:06 PM
Video on oiled birds in the Gulf (http://www.wwltv.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/More-Than-125-Oiled-Birds-Rescued-Many-More-Expected--95655514.html)

The Brown Pelican had rebounded from DDT poisoning in the 1960s. It could be in trouble again.

June 5th, 2010, 09:00 AM
There are lots of those birds along the coast down here. They are really fun to watch. When the fishing charters come back in the evening the pelicans gather around for all those yummy fish entrails and heads.

June 5th, 2010, 09:08 AM
That huge new cloud is from open vents on the sides of the newly-placed cap.

They've said from the beginning of this attempt (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/03/cut-and-cap-results-gulf-oil-spill_n_600184.html) that even with this cap on top of the BOP / valve that the connector pipe / hose will only collect a minor amount of the oil coming from the well. But the pipe hose hasn't been fully connected yet and meanwhile the vents on the exterior of the cap are still open, resulting it a much bigger cloud of spewing oil (the flow of which increased when the pipe was snipped yesterday and created an expanded opening in the pipe at the top of the BOP). Plus there are littler hoses all around the cap / BOP pumping huge amounts of dispersant into the cloud of gushing oil. And another hose pumping methanol into the cap to keep ice crystals from forming.

If the connector doesn't work as planned then this spewing is what we'll see until at least some point in August. The flow won't be controlled to any degree until they tap into the subsurface well pipe and then close off the well for good.

Thanks for the info. I have had that live feed streaming on my office computer for the last three days, but have not had much time to read about what they are doing. What is the best source of technical info as to the capping effort?

June 5th, 2010, 10:48 AM
There are lots of those birds along the coast down here. They are really fun to watch. When the fishing charters come back in the evening the pelicans gather around for all those yummy fish entrails and heads.

I'm glad to hear it. I have never seen one and would really like to some day.

June 6th, 2010, 06:54 AM
New cap seems to be working, according to the US Coast Guard:


NYTimes article on what to expect from cleanup efforts now and in the future:
Even With a Cleanup, Spilled Oil Stays With Us (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/06/weekinreview/06marsh.html)

Quote from this, referring to the Exxon Valdez spill
"Contrary to early expectations, oil still oozes from Alaska’s beaches, toxins intact, and is expected to remain — perhaps even for centuries."

June 6th, 2010, 09:04 AM
Don’t Get Mad, Mr. President. Get Even.

NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/06/opinion/06rich.html?ref=opinion)
June 4, 2010

IT turns out there is something harder to find than a fix for BP’s leak: Barack Obama’s boiling point.

The frantic and fruitless nationwide search for the president’s temper is now our sole dependable comic relief from the tragedy in the gulf. Only The Onion could have imagined the White House briefing last week where a CBS News correspondent asked the press secretary, Robert Gibbs, if he had “really seen rage from the president” and to “describe it.” Gibbs came up with Obama’s “clenched jaw” and his order to “plug the damn hole.” (Thank God he hadn’t settled for “darn.”) This evidence did not persuade anyone, least of all Spike Lee, who could be found on CNN the next night begging the president, “One time, go off!”

Not going to happen. Obama will never unleash the anger of the antagonists in “Do the Right Thing” or match James Carville’s rebooted “ragin’ Cajun” shtick. That’s not who Obama is. If he tried to go off, he’d look ridiculous. But the debate over how to raise the president’s emotional thermostat is not an entirely innocuous distraction. It allows Obama to duck the more serious doubts about his leadership that have resurfaced along with BP’s oil.

Unlike his unflappable temperament, his lingering failings should and could be corrected. And they must be if his presidency is not just to rise above the 24/7 Spill-cam but to credibly seize the narrative that Americans have craved ever since he was elected during the most punishing economic downturn of our lifetime. We still want to believe that Obama is on our side, willing to fight those bad corporate actors who cut corners and gambled recklessly while regulators slept, Congress raked in contributions, and we got stuck with the wreckage and the bills. But his leadership style keeps sowing confusion about his loyalties, puncturing holes in the powerful tale he could tell.

His most conspicuous flaw is his unshakeable confidence in the collective management brilliance of the best and the brightest he selected for his White House team — “his abiding faith in the judgment of experts,” as Joshua Green of The Atlantic has put it. At his gulf-centric press conference 10 days ago, the president said he had “probably had more meetings on this issue than just about any issue since we did our Afghan review.” This was meant to be reassuring but it was not. The plugging of an uncontrollable oil leak, like the pacification of an intractable Afghanistan, may be beyond the reach of marathon brainstorming by brainiacs, even if the energy secretary is a Nobel laureate. Obama has yet to find a sensible middle course between blind faith in his own Ivy League kind and his predecessor’s go-with-the-gut bravado.

By now, he also should have learned that the best and the brightest can get it wrong — and do. His economic advisers predicted that without the stimulus the unemployment rate might reach 9 percent — a projection that was quickly exceeded even with the stimulus and that has haunted the administration ever since. Other White House geniuses persuaded the president to make his fateful claim in early April that “oil rigs today generally don’t cause spills” — a particularly specious (indeed false) plank in the argument for his spectacularly ill-timed expansion of offshore oil drilling. The Times reported last week that at the administration meetings leading to this new drilling policy the subject of the vast dysfunction at the Minerals Management Service, the agency charged with regulating the drilling, never even came up.

Obama’s excessive trust in his own heady team is all too often matched by his inherent deference to the smartest guys in the boardroom in the private sector. His default assumption seems to be that his peers are always as well-intentioned as he is. The single biggest mistake he has made in managing the gulf disaster was his failure to challenge BP’s version of events from the start. The company consistently understated the spill’s severity, overestimated the progress of the repair operation and low-balled the environmental damage. Yet the White House’s designated point man in the crisis, Adm. Thad Allen of the Coast Guard, was still publicly reaffirming his trust in the BP chief executive, Tony Hayward, as recently as two weeks ago, more than a month after the rig exploded.

This is baffling, and then some, given BP’s atrocious record prior to this catastrophe. In the last three years, according to the Center for Public Integrity, BP accounted for “97 percent of all flagrant violations found in the refining industry by government safety inspectors” — including 760 citations for “egregious, willful” violations (compared with only eight at the two oil companies that tied for second place). Hayward’s predecessor at BP, ousted in a sex-and-blackmail scandal in 2007, had placed cost-cutting (and ever more obscene profits) over safety, culminating in the BP Texas City refinery explosion that killed 15 and injured 170 in 2005. Last October The Times uncovered documents revealing that BP had still failed to address hundreds of safety hazards at that refinery in the four years after the explosion, prompting the largest fine in the history of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (The fine, $87 million, was no doubt regarded as petty cash by a company whose profit reached nearly $17 billion last year.)

No high-powered White House meetings or risk analyses were needed to discern how treacherous it was to trust BP this time. An intern could have figured it out. But the credulous attitude toward BP is no anomaly for the administration. Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs was praised by the president as a “savvy” businessman two months before the Securities and Exchange Commission sued Goldman. Well before then, there had been a flood of journalistic indicators that Goldman under Blankfein may have gamed the crash and the bailout.

It’s this misplaced trust in elites both outside the White House and within it that seems to prevent Obama from realizing the moment that history has handed to him. Americans are still seething at the bonus-grabbing titans of the bubble and at the public and private institutions that failed to police them. But rather than embrace a unifying vision that could ignite his presidency, Obama shies away from connecting the dots as forcefully and relentlessly as the facts and Americans’ anger demand.

BP’s recklessness is just the latest variation on a story we know by heart. The company’s heedless disregard of risk and lack of safeguards at Deepwater Horizon are all too reminiscent of the failures at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and A.I.G., where the richly rewarded top executives often didn’t even understand the toxic financial products that would pollute and nearly topple the nation’s economy. BP’s reliance on bought-off politicians and lax, industry-captured regulators at the M.M.S. mirrors Wall Street’s cozy relationship with its indulgent overseers at the S.E.C., Federal Reserve and New York Fed — not to mention Massey Energy’s dependence on somnolent supervision from the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Given Toyota’s recent game of Russian roulette with Americans’ safety and Anthem Blue Cross’s unconscionable insurance-rate increases in California, Obama shouldn’t have any problem riveting the country’s attention to this sorry saga. He has the field to himself, thanks to a political opposition whose hottest new star, Rand Paul, and most beloved gulf-state governor, Haley Barbour of Mississippi, both leapt to BP’s defense right after the rig exploded. The Wall Street Journal editorial page perfectly set forth the conservative establishment’s party line on May 26: “There is zero evidence so far that this blowout resulted from lax regulation or shoddy practices.” Or as BP’s Hayward asked indignantly, “What the hell did we do to deserve this?”

If Obama is to have a truly transformative presidency, there could be no better catalyst than oil. Standard Oil jump-started Progressive Era trust-busting. Sinclair Oil’s kickback-induced leases of Wyoming’s Teapot Dome oilfields in the 1920s led to the first conviction and imprisonment of a presidential cabinet member (Harding’s interior secretary) for a crime committed while in the cabinet. The Arab oil embargo of the early 1970s and the Exxon Valdez spill of 1989 sped the conservation movement and search for alternative fuels. The Enron scandal prompted accounting reforms and (short-lived) scrutiny of corporate Ponzi schemes.

This all adds up to a Teddy Roosevelt pivot-point for Obama, who shares many of that president’s moral and intellectual convictions. But Obama can’t embrace his inner T.R. as long as he’s too in thrall to the supposed wisdom of the nation’s meritocracy, too willing to settle for incremental pragmatism as a goal, and too inhibited by the fine points of Washington policy debates to embrace bold words and bold action. If he is to wield the big stick of reform against BP and the other powerful interests that have ripped us off, he will have to tell the big story with no holds barred.

That doesn’t require a temper tantrum. Nor does it require him to plug the damn hole, which he can’t do anyway. What he does have the power to fix is his presidency. Should he do so, and soon, he’ll still have a real chance to mend a broken country as well.

Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company

June 6th, 2010, 09:31 AM
Gulf oil spill breakthrough? Cap collecting 'majority' of oil.

BP reported Sunday that its containment cap is now collecting 420,000 gallons a day, saying that was a 'majority' of the oil. But the flow rate in the Gulf oil spill is still uncertain, and BP has failed to live up to its optimistic predictions in the past.

Christian Science Monitor (http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0606/Gulf-oil-spill-breakthrough-Cap-collecting-majority-of-oil)
By Mark Sappenfield,*Staff writer
June 6, 2010 at 8:30 am EDT

Early reports suggest that BP is on the verge of its first significant success in the Gulf oil spill.

BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward told the BBC Sunday that the cut-and-cap maneuver is now collecting 420,000 gallons of oil a day – 40 percent more than it was collecting Saturday.

The improvement raises hope that the containment cap now fitted atop the well might successfully collect as many as 630,000 gallons of oil daily – the highest amount that tanker vessels on the surface can collect.

Mr. Hayward bullishly said he thought the cap was now collecting “the majority, probably the vast majority of the oil."

Yet the comments will be viewed with some caution. BP has failed to match its own optimistic forecasts in the past:

Hayward said there was a 60 percent to 70 percent chance that the “top kill” maneuver of two weeks ago would seal the well. It failed.

The use of a siphon stuck into the riser pipe three weeks ago prompted Hayward to say: “I do feel that we have, for the first time, turned the corner in this challenge.” The siphon was later abandoned.

Early estimates of the oil flow rate were pegged at 210,000 gallons a day – 5,000 barrels – which according to current estimates, might have been four times lower than the actual rate. Some scientists say that even the current estimates are conservative.

The actual flow rate

The containment cap could offer some greater clarity on the actual flow rate. As engineers learn how much oil they are capturing, they’ll be able to compare that with how much they see escaping.

"Hopefully we'll start moving those ranges into a more acceptable representation of what's actually flowing, and the best way to do that is to get a good flow rate of production because once you know what you are producing every day, that's a known quantity you can take off the table," said Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, national incident coordinator, in a press conference Saturday.

At the outset of the operation, BP engineers said they did not expect to collect all the oil with the containment cap. Moreover, current flow estimates suggest that as many as 800,000 gallons of oil might be leaking into the Gulf each day, meaning that even in a best-case scenario the containment cap might still allow 170,000 gallons to leak into the Gulf daily. That would be 80 percent of the early 210,000 gallon estimate.

Even at the current capture rate of 420,000 gallons a day, though, the containment cap would represent BP’s greatest success so far.

The company has virtually abandoned the idea of actually stopping the well before a relief well is finished no earlier than August. That leaves collecting the oil at the source as the only way to slow the spill’s environmental destruction.

Cutting the flow rate – perhaps in half – would be a step toward that goal. The oil slick is now moving eastward, with parts of the slick reaching the beaches of Alabama and Florida. There is further concern that, as it expands, the slick be caught in the Gulf’s loop current, which might carry it out of the Gulf and up the Atlantic coast.

The damage to undersea ecosystems, from deep-water coral reefs to the plankton that undergird the food chain, is so far virtually unknown.

BP not done yet

Heyward said BP was planning to implement further measures this week to trim the flow of oil into the Gulf.

First, the tubes used to pump in drilling mud during the failed “top kill” effort would be retasked as additional siphons.

Second, BP plans to build a new riser pipe – starting at the cap and ending about 300 feet below the surface – that would make it easier to start and stop oil-collection operations. Currently, it would take almost a week to reconnect to the containment cap, which is 5,000 feet down, if the connection to the surface was severed. Once a new riser pipe is finished next month, ships would be able to reconnect within two days.

This is designed to be a contingency for hurricanes, when tanker vessels might have to detach from the containment valve.

The containment cap effort suggests that BP is gradually learning from its mistakes. Engineers have proceeded cautiously in closing vents atop the cap, wanting make sure the conditions are right before acting. A previous attempt to contain the oil failed when ice crystals formed in a dome set over the well.

Indeed, each additional step by BP is adding to scientists’ limited understanding of conditions on the sea floor – a place so remote and poorly studied that some call it “inner space.”

© The Christian Science Monitor.

June 6th, 2010, 06:43 PM
Mr. Hayward bullishly said he thought the cap was now collecting “the majority, probably the vast majority of the oil."
If 410,000 gallons of oil are escaping, then he's still correct. Anyone's guess what a "vast majority is."

June 7th, 2010, 08:05 AM
Obama has yet to find a sensible middle course between blind faith in his own Ivy League kind and his predecessor’s go-with-the-gut bravado.

God help us.

That crap gets you elected, it does not solve problems.

June 7th, 2010, 10:11 AM
to help with the oil spill clean up, you can donate your hair, and stockings . any length is fine.... they combine it into rolls, anyways...... so you
don't have to have long hair!!!
to directly donate your own hair and stockings without going to salon, please visit the following site. And by all means, if you know ...of a local salon, please let them beware of this !!!!

June 8th, 2010, 12:16 AM
to help with the oil spill clean up, you can donate your hair
omg %)

Here we invented a solution for you: drill a shaft near the spill and blow up deep underground nuke

June 8th, 2010, 01:18 AM
Sorry? ???

Actually the hair idea is a good one and has been proven to work, and although the clean up is necessarily labor intensive the use of animal and human hair help sop up large quantities of oil and thus adds greatly to the efficiency of these efforts.


June 8th, 2010, 07:51 AM

As was stated in one of the links/postings here IN THIS THREAD I believe, that worked on a few, but F'd up on one case.

Sometimes there are better ways than blowing something up to fix it.

Cancer surgery has never been done with firecrackers.

June 8th, 2010, 09:54 AM
Absolutely. Matt Simmons, who was touting the nuclear explosion "fix," is an oil industry executive and former GW Bush administration advisor (of some sort). I haven't heard any other public figure, scientist, or government official -- and certainly no environmentalist -- push for this option. It's only been tried on natural gas wells, on land, in the Soviet Union. This well-held is a mile below the surface of the ocean -- from a well drilled several miles below the sea bed. Blowing up a nuke in the deep sea in order to stop this leak sounds like a very stupid idea.

June 8th, 2010, 11:28 AM
Sounds like a GREAT movie though!

The Abyss II - This time we make our own.

I wonder if Bruce Willis is available........

June 10th, 2010, 11:45 AM
I don't necessarily agree with this guy's opinion on what to do, but this article does tap into some general feeling that's out there. What Obama needs to do, rather than kicking ass, is get the ridiculously unorganized & somewhat ineffective mitigation / clean-up on sure footing (something that it's now apparent that BP was NEVER prepared to do) ...

Obama's Katrina? No. His Iran Hostage Crisis? Maybe.

The president's oil spill crisis may be less about incompetence than impotence, with the same dire consequences.

THE ROOT (http://www.theroot.com/views/obamas-katrina-no-his-iran-hostage-crisis-maybe)
By: Terence Samuel
June 8, 2010

The now-angry president of the United States is promising to find the right ''ass to kick'' in connection with the ongoing disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. In lieu of an actual solution, which is still some ways off, this is not a bad strategy to pursue. But if the president is not able to quickly find the deserving kickable asses, he may be forced to put on his Superman suit, dive 5,000 feet to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico and plug the damn hole his own damn self. Doing nothing, or doing the responsible thing quietly, is no longer an option.

It is now clear that whatever rational actions the Obama administration is taking in the Gulf, they are not enough. While there is little danger that the Gulf disaster will turn into Obama's Katrina--which was about incompetence--there is now the looming possibility that it could turn into his Iran hostage crisis, a debilitating, long-running drama of helplessness and hopelessness that's less about incompetence and more about impotence.

After a while, not knowing what to do becomes as equally disastrous as doing the wrong thing. The origins of the problem may be different and the functional parallels may be few, but the political consequences promise to be exactly the same. If Obama is not careful, the oil spill could turn him into Jimmy Carter, who, 80 days into the hostage crisis, was promising a little ass-kicking of his own: ''If the American hostages are harmed, a severe price will be paid. We will never rest until every one of the American hostages are released,'' he said in his 1980 State of the Union address. By the time that happened, of course, he was no longer president, having lost in a landslide to Ronald Reagan. Over time, it became increasingly clear that Carter had no workable solution and that he was entirely at the mercy of the Iranians in terms of bringing the crisis to an end. All the while, a daily dose of television pictures from Iran reinforced a national sense of helplessness.

Obama could find himself in a similar situation with BP. Americans can't abide the idea that problems exist which we cannot solve; that is a thoroughly un-American idea, even if you have a geyser of light Louisiana crude three miles below sea level. The president himself has embodied this impatience with his ''plug the damn hole already'' sentiments. There must be something at Home Depot that can do the job. But the reality here is harsh and the impotence is real: There is nothing quick and easy about the available solution, which apparently is to drill another well to release the pressure on the old one. A slow, debilitating solution to live with that may take us into August.

In the meantime, the only option Obama has right now is to hire new set designers to re-arrange the staging of the tragedy. He could, for example, take a page out of the George W. Bush's ''Mission Accomplished'' playbook and play submarine commander for a day, maybe put on his Navy Seal wetsuit and stand on the bridge of the USS Louisiana, declare that major plugging operations are over. OK, this is not going to happen.

But he's gotta do something. The problem is that there is nothing substantive to do. As long as there is crude oil gushing into the ocean every minute, every hour, every day, for the next few weeks or maybe months, whatever he does will, by necessity, be more political than practical.

Ass-kicking needs to be high on the list. That, at least, is not doing nothing.

© 2010 Washingtonpost Newsweek Interactive

June 10th, 2010, 12:20 PM
"A Convicted Serial Environmental Criminal," Ctd

THE DAILY DISH (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/06/a-convicted-serial-environmental-criminal-ctd-1.html)
10 JUN 2010 10:19 AM

An AP investigation finds (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100609/ap_on_bi_ge/us_gulf_oil_spill_sketchy_plans) that the company's contingency plans for both the Gulf and the Deepwater Horizon rig are "riddled with omissions and glaring errors":

Professor Peter Lutz is listed in BP's 2009 response plan for a Gulf of Mexico oil spill as a national wildlife expert. He died in 2005. Under the heading "sensitive biological resources," the plan lists marine mammals including walruses, sea otters, sea lions and seals. None lives anywhere near the Gulf. The names and phone numbers of several Texas A&M University marine life specialists are wrong. So are the numbers for marine mammal stranding network offices in Louisiana and Florida, which are no longer in service.


The linked article (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100609/ap_on_bi_ge/us_gulf_oil_spill_sketchy_plans) goes into detail outlining the ridiculous if not criminal lapses in the BP "Plan":

AP IMPACT: BP spill response plans severely flawed


More BP BS ...

"A Convicted Serial Environmental Criminal," Ctd

THE DAILY DISH (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/06/a-convicted-serial-environmental-criminal-ctd.html)
08 JUN 2010 02:27 PM

ProPublica adds (http://www.propublica.org/feature/years-of-internal-bp-probes-warned-that-neglect-could-lead-to-accidents) to the rap sheet (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/06/doj-vs-bp.html):

A series of internal investigations over the past decade warned senior BP managers that the company repeatedly disregarded safety and environmental rules and risked a serious accident if it did not change its ways. The confidential inquiries, which have not previously been made public, focused on a rash of problems at BP’s Alaska oil-drilling unit that undermined the company’s publicly proclaimed commitment to safe operations. They described instances in which management flouted safety by neglecting aging equipment, pressured or harassed employees not to report problems, and cut short or delayed inspections in order to reduce production costs. Executives were not held accountable for the failures, and some were promoted despite them.

(Hat tip: Ken Silverstein (http://harpers.org/archive/2010/06/hbc-90007186).)

June 10th, 2010, 12:26 PM
BP at work ...


June 10th, 2010, 12:44 PM
While what is happening in the gulf is far from funny, that vid is hilarious.
Thank you for sharing it Lofter!

June 10th, 2010, 01:57 PM
I went down to the beach last weekend, to a place that I have admired and loved since my childhood. The sand was a pure, clean white, the water a lovely greenish blue, the sky as clear as the day the Earth was fully formed. Offshore, white birds flew in their chevrons, starkly contrasted against the blue of the sky. This riot of colors, captured by countless artists, held in a billion photographs, visited by tourist and native alike, was as it should be. The waves gently rolled to the shore, and off on the horizon tufts of puffy white clouds gave depth and dimension to the scene, a captivating view that always seems fresh no matter how many times it is seen, something we have always taken for granted.

Despite the pleasure of the moment, I couldn't help but feel a sense of the New Dread, the feeling that these beautiful vistas now have their days numbered. I share this dread with everyone who lives near the shore, who swim in the aqua waters, who pull fish from the depths, who live where salty breezes blow. I share it with anyone who has only read or heard about the Florida beaches but have never been here.

It is a fear for the near future, a fear that the beaches will be turning black and gooey, that the azure water will take on a thick, dark, foreboding cast, that the sun will shine from still clear skies onto a dead pool, that the salt air will begin to smell like a truckstop, that the marshes that nurture the diversity of plant and animal life will be void of all life forms, that the fish who live offshore will roll onto the once-white sand by the thousands, dead, gone.

The livelihood of millions is going to disappear, from the fishermen who fill our dinner plates with seafood to the charterboat captains who introduce landbound visitors to the beauty of the sea, from the marinas filled with personal watercraft to the developers and homeowners who build their homes and highrises on the shore-- all will be lost. Florida's tourism business will falter and fail. Who wants to go on a vacation and see a stinky, sluggish dead sea?
BP does not have enough money to make things right again.
No one does.

The pollution hasn't reached my part of Florida yet, but it will. The slow motion disaster is growing by the day, pumping millions of gallons of hydrocarbons into the environment, subtly changing the chemistry of literally everything. Disaster grows closer, daily.
Scientists and engineers have declared that the oil will continue leaking--hell, gushing--into the once-pure Gulf until August, that the currents will drag millions of gallons of crude oil around the Florida peninsula and into the Atlantic and we will all be witness the demise of the beaches and marshes and the wildlife and the plant life and the coral reefs that make this part of America so unique, so beautiful.
And it's just the beginning to play itself to an ultimate conclusion. There's a LOT more to come.

This summer, when the inevitible hurricanes begin to fire up, the pools of oil will break up and roll inland with the wind-driven tides, spoiling everything miles inland from the shore. Entire generations of species, both plant and animal, are facing disaster.
At the very least, tarballs on the beach will become an everyday experience. Dead things will be the new signature of the coast.
It is a Doomsday scenario that is playing itself out, a neighborhood Armegeddon. The natural balance is being lost.
It is the death of ecology, the ruination of Eden.

As I sat on a blanket on the sand watching my 2-year old granddaughter take tentative steps into the surf, a great sadness overcame me, a sadness that the baby may never know the beauty that she was surrounded with today as she grows older. When this crisis has finally played itself out, the ugly aftermath will be her normal, a legacy of oily water, unusable beaches, dead marshes, absent wildlife. I fear she will never know the Florida that I have so taken for granted, that I won't be able to share any of it with her, won't be able to introduce her to the wonders of the Florida shore.

I hope I'm wrong, that I'm just projecting, but I am most likely not.

...I took a lot of photos, pictures of shore birds and bluegreen water, pictures of snow white sand and a 2-year old frolicing in the mild surf with little puffy white clouds at the horizon, pictures that I will share with her later, when I tell her stories of what used to be...

June 10th, 2010, 03:10 PM
A word like "disgusting" or "terrible" just has no power to convey the nature of this catastrophe. Seeing all of the pelicans and other rare bird life and sea life choking in oil makes my stomach turn. I'm really angry. There's a rally today in Union Square in about an hour (4:00) regarding oil drilling/cleanup legislation if anyone is interested.

June 11th, 2010, 02:01 AM
When we had Chernobyl burning and spitting radiation everywhere. we have sacrificed thousands of lives to stop that, to save a half of Europe from ecological disaster. and we did it, and nobody thanks to us.

Now, You Americans, сaused technological accident that threatens a half of the Atlantic Ocean.. and you did nothing to stop this. Dont say about this funny "hair idea" or smth else you "did", all this will not stop the leak and you know it. You have send a man to the Moon and you can't stop this pathetic leak? I do not believe you

June 11th, 2010, 07:55 AM
Nobody thanks "us".

WTH are you talking about? Plenty of people feel for the workers that were forced to fix other officials screw ups without the proper gear to keep them protected. Look around UKR, there are many documentaries that can be found that talk of this and highlight the sacrifices made by the worker to correct the managers/leaders gross mistakes.

Also, you know that BP is British, right? You also know this is the Gulf of MEXICO, right? International waters? Pointing fingers at one COUNTRY or another is political BS.

Don't start.

June 11th, 2010, 08:15 AM
When we had Chernobyl burning and spitting radiation everywhere. we have sacrificed thousands of lives to stop that, to save a half of Europe from ecological disaster. and we did it, and nobody thanks to us.You didn't just have Chernobyl; you caused it. And as I remember it, you didn't alert the rest of the world until radiation monitors started going off in other countries.

That's number one, and you also own the number two all time worst nuclear accident in history at Kyshtym (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyshtym_Disaster).

Should we try for number three?

June 11th, 2010, 12:38 PM
Should we try for number three?
No. Your are right. Sorry for that.

June 12th, 2010, 06:47 AM
Not much about nationalism is ever rational, perhaps less so when dealing with these massive environmental disasters. The people living in the Ukraine did not cause Chernobyl, nor are the residents of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, or Florida responsible for the oil fouling the Gulf of Mexico.

Speaking of nationalism...



Angry Britons have BP's back

As the Obama administration has joined U.S. politicians lambasting BP for the gulf oil spill, a plume of anger is rising across the Atlantic at what many see as an unfair castigation of a British icon.

By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times

June 12, 2010

Reporting from London


He may still be more popular in Britain than he is in America, but these days the Brits have a new message for President Obama.

Back off.

As the Obama administration has joined the chorus of U.S. politicians lambasting BP over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a plume of anger is rising across the Atlantic at what many see as an unfair castigation of a British icon. U.S. officials have demanded that BP suspend dividend payments for the time being, and Obama has said he would have fired Chief Executive Tony Hayward if Hayward worked for him.

Grandstanding and buck-passing, say many British politicians, pundits and pensioners, hitting back at what they see as intimidation tactics directed at a company that has brought immense value to the British — and global — economy.

The protectiveness toward BP is especially acute because the company's dividends provide a significant share of income for British pension funds. While acknowledging the enormity of the unfolding ecological disaster, British critics say the Obama administration has gone overboard in its criticism and is now endangering the savings of millions of shareholders who have watched BP's plunge in the stock market.

BP's stock has lost close to half its value since the spill occurred, though it was up by $1.19 to $33.97 on Friday.

"The president should make it clear that he has no desire to destroy a great global company," Malcolm Rifkind, a former Cabinet minister, warned Friday. "The future of its chief executive is for the company to decide and not for the White House. While he might, as he has said, wish to 'kick ass,' he should concentrate his energies on more productive activity."

Rifkind was writing in the Times of London, which also published a cartoon titled "USA v. England," depicting Obama in a soccer outfit stamped with the words "Sponsored by Midterm Elections Inc." and kicking a soccer ball labeled "BP." The U.S. is scheduled to play England in the World Cup on Saturday.

The cartoon was mild compared with an extraordinary open letter to Obama this week from John Napier, chairman of British insurance giant RSA.

"Your comments towards BP and its CEO … are coming across as somewhat prejudicial and personal," said Napier, who accused the U.S. of "double standards" in its attitude toward BP and toward the damage caused by "the irresponsible, unchecked greed and avarice" of American banks.

"There is a sense here that these attacks are being made because BP is British," Napier complained.

In truth, whether intemperate or not, little of the American criticism of BP could be said to slam Britain itself, the British government or the British people. Those who level that accusation here mostly point to Obama's referring to BP by its old name, British Petroleum, which the company dropped in favor of just the initials more than a decade ago.

Officials on both sides of the Atlantic have hastened to try to mask disagreements, emphasizing that the oil spill, though an environmental emergency, is not a diplomatic one.

Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron are scheduled to speak by telephone this weekend. Cameron's office said Friday that it expected the conversation to be statesmanlike and workmanlike, and repeated Cameron's comments this week that he understood the frustration and anger in the U.S. over the oil spill.

P.J. Crowley, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said Thursday that "BP is a private company. This is not about the relationship between the United States and its closest ally."

But Cameron's measured response brought some opprobrium his way from more nationalistic quarters. The Daily Mail, usually a good barometer of popular opinion, chastised the prime minister for failing to adequately defend British interests. "Stand Up For Your Country, Mr. Cameron" blared its front page.

But there is also a quieter pushback against the populist politics being played in the U.S., where the Gulf of Mexico spill has been spun into a morality play in which the fat cat oil company executives are the villains. The anxiety of the British underscores that the issue is more nuanced: Those BP dividends are what keep aged pensioners warm in the winter, they say, noting that millions of Americans are also BP shareholders..

This is not the first time since Obama became president that some Britons have felt that they or one of their beloved institutions was being unfairly maligned across the Atlantic.

Last summer, during the healthcare debate in the U.S., people here were outraged when some Americans portrayed Britain's socialized healthcare system as incompetent, inefficient and a virtual death sentence for those with cancer. Twitter campaigns, politicians and media commentators all sprang to the National Health Service's defense.

The NHS affects nearly everyone in this country, far more than the estimated 18 million Brits with some kind of financial stake in BP, many of them through their pension funds.

Public outrage over Yankee criticism soon faded, and U.S.-British ties emerged unscathed.


Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times

June 12th, 2010, 07:56 AM
This accident was not a British or American fault. It was simply BP's fault. The nationalism in the media is getting boring. There is also not enough in the media about the responsibility of the other companies for this incident, to simply pin it on BP is ridiculous. Obama is way off and is dealing with this terribly.

June 12th, 2010, 08:00 AM
The Daily Mail, usually a good barometer of popular opinion.

This is the funniest thing I have ever read, lol. Really bad reporting if the writer thinks that.

June 12th, 2010, 10:08 AM
Really bad reporting if the writer thinks that.

Given David Camerons’ recent electoral victory, that comment may be spot-on after all: that is, since the ‘daily mail’ is (it think) a newspaper that is of a somewhat conservative bent.

Anyway, maybe Cameron is not ‘standing up for his country’ in the face of US critism, but stay tuned to the UK/USA World Cup game today: it may turn out to be the Brits turn to “Kick-Ass (http://hotair.com/archives/2010/06/09/obamateurism-of-the-day-288/)”. (LOL)


June 12th, 2010, 10:21 AM
I think it is. Never read it as it is a joke of paper. It is very 'Fox news'. Sky is falling and all that.

June 12th, 2010, 12:36 PM
Give it a rest:rolleyes:

"I guess they changed their name recently," Speaker Nancy Pelosi (http://topics.abcnews.go.com/topic/Nancy-Pelosi) acknowledged. "Some of us are used to the old name. And when we use it, they say, 'Oh, that's being xenophobic.' ... I don't see it that way."


June 12th, 2010, 07:12 PM
It doesn't help the image of BP (or Great Britain for that matter) to have a supercilious twit like Tony Hayward, with his stiff lipped posh accent and total lack of empathy for both the dead and those whose lives his company has destroyed, making an ass of himself on TV every other day.

June 12th, 2010, 07:31 PM
If you guys base your opinion on an entire country on one asshole then you need to re-evaluate the way you think about people.

June 12th, 2010, 08:05 PM
Not evaluating the country, just the company and the man in charge. Seems the Brits are oversensitive in this case.

Bottom line: A share of Brits want their dividend payout above all else, but the company that used to pay those checks has F'ed Up Royal. Those folks who want their dividend should storm the Annual Shareholders Meeting and kick some ass of their own.

June 12th, 2010, 08:12 PM
You are the one who said it doesnt help the image of Britain, why say that if you are not forming your image of Brits based on this guy? Why would it be surprising then if British people get a little annoyed when people make associations like that?

Who are they in both comments?

June 12th, 2010, 08:14 PM
I'm stating the facts as they've gone down and as seen from the scene of the crime.

Are Brits denouncing BP or Tony Hayward? Or do they just want their BP check?

June 12th, 2010, 08:31 PM
You are ignoring what I am asking. You said it doesn't help the image of GB to have this guy on TV. I am asking why would you be surprised if Brits are offended when people base their image of the UK on this one guy? Answer me. Do you like it when people base their opinion of all Americans on George Bush?

Yes Lofter, we all had a big meeting and decided we want the cash. :rolls eyes:

Yes, British people are shocked as they would be if it were Exxon or Total et al. They want the problem fixed. Now, I can only speak for myself but I am not going to go around denouncing companies when I don't know what has happened. I didn't inspect the equipment, I don't know how it was maintained, I am also not an engineer so I don't know if they are doing all they can to plug it, and I have no knowledge of how to manage an oil leak so I have no idea if they are doing all they can to stop the damage that has already been done. So I don't comment on it. Of course I truly hope they are working their asses off to fix it but I don't know whether they are or not.

And the dividend issue. Have I missed comments from stock holders demanding their dividend? I have only read articles saying that BP is going to meet to decide whether or not to pay it. I assume they won't. Other than that I have no idea what people are saying about the dividend. I would like to see some articles where ordinary stockholders have commented. Or are you just equating the companies decision to possibly pay out to mean that all Brits are rabidly demanding money?

June 12th, 2010, 09:56 PM
It's not my image of Britain. The image is what BP is presenting. And London money men are reacting (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/barackobama/7815713/Barack-Obamas-attacks-on-BP-hurting-British-pensioners.html).

Why do people connect BP with Britain? That's like wondering why people around the world connect the US with Halliburton. Yes, I understand -- both are corporations of the new century, without a real country to call home. They only exist in some off-shore world. Ha ha.

Think about what image is now before the eyes of America 24/7: Filthy spewing oil and Tony Hayward (http://www.bp.com/sectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=9021976&contentId=7038002).

Pretty picture, eh? Consider the fact that somebody in power chose Hayward to be the face of BP. What better public face for a company that earns billions and wants investors to buy into their game than a soft-faced, emotionally stunted, upper class snot who has been with British Petroleum / BP for the past 28 years -- just like Hayward? He knows the company. Couldn't hurt a fly. And he looks so trustworthy. So thoroughly -- dare I say? -- British. But now he wants his privileged life back and can't figure out why he's the most reviled man in America.

BP thought they had it all figured out. Doesn't look so good now.

Why don't we see the BP Chairman (http://www.bp.com/sectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=9030573&contentId=7055793) on TV or hear about him in the news? I wonder if Mr. Svanberg rues the day when he took over BP, just 6 months ago? Clearly, in the past and for now the BP Board prefers that we all see a Brit rather than a Swede as the figurehead of BP, but you'd have to ask the Dutch and others on the Board why they do things (BP is a now a so-called global company (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BP), but until 2000 the company proudly called itself British Petroleum and is still HQ'd in London -- and the majority of the Board (http://www.bp.com/managedlistingsection.do?categoryId=9021626&contentId=7041219) is British.).

BP chose to put Tony Hayward out front, a man who has proven he has few leadership qualities (real leaders take responsibility), fewer management skills and hardly any acquaintance with public relations.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, says that BP paying "a very, very heavy price" for what the Telepgraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/7817582/BP-oil-spill-David-Cameron-backs-Barack-Obamas-hardline-stance.html) continues to call an "accident."

In your "I don't know the details, so how can we blame BP" you're sounding a lot like our own Mayor Bloomberg (http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2010/06/nycs-mike-bloomberg-defends-bps-tony-hayward/1). God forbid we hold people accountable.

But what more can we expect of those silly elected officials, and their cozy relationships to corrupt businessmen. They'll be the death of us all.

June 13th, 2010, 05:25 AM
I won't say much about most of your post. It is all true basically, but people shouldn't really be blaming a nation for this. I know not everyone is but I am hearing a lot of stupid comments.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, says that BP paying "a very, very heavy price" for what the Telepgraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/7817582/BP-oil-spill-David-Cameron-backs-Barack-Obamas-hardline-stance.html) continues to call an "accident."

In your "I don't know the details, so how can we blame BP" you're sounding a lot like our own Mayor Bloomberg (http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2010/06/nycs-mike-bloomberg-defends-bps-tony-hayward/1). God forbid we hold people accountable.

But what more can we expect of those silly elected officials, and their cozy relationships to corrupt businessmen. They'll be the death of us all.

I am not saying don't hold people accountable but I am just playing devils advocate here. No-one really knows what happened yet. For all we know the faulty blow out preventer design is 100% responsible, that would make it not BPs fault. The maintenance by Transocean may be 100% to blame for the explosion. We don't know. I would like to know why you are so certain about who is responsible? And if it wasn't an "accident" are you saying BP did this on purpose? Just for a laugh?

You have ignored another one of my questions. It is important you answer because I really didn't like your tone on this subject.

And the dividend issue. Have I missed comments from stock holders demanding their dividend? I have only read articles saying that BP is going to meet to decide whether or not to pay it. I assume they won't. Other than that I have no idea what people are saying about the dividend. I would like to see some articles where ordinary stockholders have commented. Or are you just equating the companies decision to possibly pay out to mean that all Brits are rabidly demanding money?

Got an answer? It sounded like you envisioned a nation of Gordon Gekkos baying for blood because we can't get our precious dividend.

June 13th, 2010, 11:52 AM
I, perhaps erroneously, was conflating comments from talking heads (http://www.theatlanticwire.com/opinions/view/opinion/British-Commentators-Irritated-Over-American-Anti-BP-Talk-3950) / politicians (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1285467/BP-OIL-SPILL-Lord-Tebbit-Boris-Johnson-attack-Obamas-anti-British-rhetoric.html) / the press (http://www.favstocks.com/bp-disaster-sinks-british-pensions/0116032/) with what they were apparently hearing directly from pensioners who depend upon BP for cash to live on. Or maybe those guys in London just made up the pension concerns to get some face time (due to oversensitivity following criticism from this side of a [former] British company). Either way, it was all over the TV / press at the end of the week.

When there is only so much cash to spread around (until 56 days ago a laughable concern in regards to BP) someone will take a hit on pay day. And if the gang with the cash chooses to spend $50M of those precious funds on marketing themselves to try to gain favor (the BP "Message from Tony Hayward (http://bp.concerts.com/gom/bp_response_tv_60_060310.htm)" looking all wan and worried has aired non-stop over here), then no one should be surprised if the two sides vying for the same pot of needed cash start going at each other. Given the recent track record of BP in failing to make good down south and the ever-present face of Tony Hayward (http://news.yahoo.com/video/business-15749628/who-is-bp-ceo-tony-hayward-20175555), folks on this side are right to be concerned that the corporation really will make good on its financial responsibilities.

Particularly galling, given the current mess, are comments that Hayward made last summer in a speech at Stanford about how he made over BP, where he said (starting at 1:20 in the ABC vid (http://news.yahoo.com/video/business-15749628/who-is-bp-ceo-tony-hayward-20175555)):

We had too many people trying to save the world and sort of lost track of the fact that our primary purpose is create value for our shareholders.

Uhhh, Tony: How's that new business plan working out now?

I don't fault people on the other side of the pond for wanting their share of the BP pot (or what's left of it), but to blame BPs current woes on comments from US politicians and the regular folks who have been ruined by the company's faulty business plan is aiming at the wrong target. Shareholders own the company and they should charge the BP Board Room with vigor.

Finally, I don't see how my comment "A share of Brits want their dividend payout above all else" was turned into the far more dramatic "a nation of Gordon Gekkos baying for blood."

June 13th, 2010, 12:37 PM
I am not really denying that Hayward is doing a bad job and may be a bit slimy. You can stop pushing that part of the argument.

I was responding to this comment:

Are Brits denouncing BP or Tony Hayward? Or do they just want their BP check?

From your general tone you seemed to be denouncing the pensioners for wanting their money as if they were giving the middle finger to the people hurt in this crisis to feed their greed.

I haven't really been talking about the allegations that Obama et al are responsible for the drop in share price. Though I will say it isn't helpful to make such provocative comments. I believe he is trying to compensate for his own inadequate response and low rating.

What I really want to know is why Halliburton and Transocean are not criticised alongside BP, they have the same responsibility for causing this accident.

June 13th, 2010, 01:16 PM

States Seek Compensation From BP as Losses Mount

Associated Press

Workers remove absorbent boom containing oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill Friday near Venice, La.

GULF SHORES, Ala.—States along the Gulf of Mexico are ratcheting up demands for financial compensation from BP PLC as a massive oil spill continues to spread along their shorelines, slamming the tourism and fishing industries.

The British oil company meanwhile submitted to the federal government a new plan aimed at increasing the amount of oil it is collecting at the Deepwater Horizon well site, U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Friday.

BP is considering reducing its dividends to help quell political uproar against the company. Meanwhile, the U.S. raised estimates of the oil gushing from the crippled Gulf of Mexico well. Monica Langley, Dennis Berman, Evan Newmark and Bruce Orwall discuss. Also, a discussion of Saturday's World Cup soccer match between England and the U.S.

The proposal involves replacing BP's current drilling ship with other vessels that can withstand harsher sea conditions and will be able to capture more oil as the company awaits a more permanent solution: the completion of drilling on two relief wells. U.S. government officials are reviewing the plan, Adm. Allen said.

BP said it captured 15,400 barrels from the well on Friday, more than seven weeks since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank. Scientists charged by the government with measuring the well's flow rate now estimate that 20,000 to 40,000 barrels a day could be spewing into the Gulf.

State officials say they are feeling the effects, not only on their beaches but in their coffers.

Joe Morton, Alabama's education superintendent, said he plans to deliver a sizeable bill to BP in the coming weeks to cover lost income and sales-tax receipts that fuel about 90% of the state's $5 billion annual budget for schools. Like most state governments, Alabama's has been reeling from the impact of the recession on its revenue.

"We're already down to the bone" in terms of funding, Mr. Morton said in an interview Friday. The state cut its education budget by 7.5% this year, to $5.3 billion. It pulled more than $800 million from "rainy day" funds the previous two years to soften budget cuts, but those emergency funds are now empty, he added.

Tar balls have been washing ashore on Alabama's beaches and parts of Florida's Panhandle coast since last week, driving away tourists and curbing fishing activities. In recent days, the oil also has begun invading environmentally sensitive inlets, including Perdido Pass on the Alabama-Florida border.

Florida's Attorney General, Bill McCollum, sent a letter to BP on Thursday requesting that the company deposit $2.5 billion into an escrow account to cover potential losses. The spreading spill likely represents "a staggering blow" to the state's economy and already has "seriously" hurt local tourism and fishing, Mr. McCollum wrote.

BP said late Thursday it would give an additional $25 million each to Florida, Alabama and Mississippi to help with recovery efforts. It made identical grants to the three states in early May, in addition to a combined $55 million grant in mid-May for tourism marketing efforts. BP didn't respond to a request Friday for comment.

Local authorities say they need much more to recover lost wages and taxes.

In this popular Alabama tourist region, most beach chairs were empty on Friday and a 1,500-foot-long fishing pier was closed to anglers. Some tourists waded into the surf along the beaches, despite signs advising them to stay out of the water because of the spill.

Robert Craft, the mayor of Gulf Shores, said vacation rental rates are down anywhere from 30% to 70% in the town, which will hurt the town's tax collections. "In June, it has just fallen off the table," said Mr. Craft, of tourist bookings.

Baldwin County, encompassing Gulf Shores and other beach towns, typically generates $1.7 billion in tourist spending between Memorial Day and Labor Day, he added.

Tourism pumps an estimated $9 billion a year into Alabama's economy. The downturn, coupled with the closure of big stretches of Gulf waters to fishing, is putting a damper on tax receipts in a state trying to claw its way back from the recession.
—Susan Daker contributed to this article.


Copyright 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Simulation of possible spread
if oil slick enters Atlantic current


Northeast towns prep
for possible oil impact

Thursday, June 10, 2010
Last updated: Thursday June 10, 2010, 4:25 PM
Wire Service

EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. — Communities up and down the East Coast are preparing for the "what if?"

As crude oil spreads damage across Gulf coast states, discussions as far away as 1,500 miles are beginning about what municipalities should do if gobs of goo start appearing on their beaches.

Folks in the Hamptons, where two local beaches were rated among the Top 5 in the country, gathered Thursday to discuss contingencies for their communities. Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, state Department of Environmental Conservation, as well as local town officials, and others participated.

"There could be serious damages, not only to the tourism, which we live by, and to our beaches, but also to our commercial fishermen," said East Hampton Town Supervisor William Wilkinson.

"Not that I have any remedies. It's like a smoke detector you put up in your house. You hope it never goes off, but just in case it does, are we prepared to handle some of the issues?"

In New Jersey, a working group of environmental protection officials and coastal scientists held a May 25 conference call to discuss the oil spill, mindful of the effects it could have locally. No physical preparations were made.

"Right now, we are very optimistic the oil will not reach New Jersey and will not affect fishing nor the summer beach season," said Bob Martin, the state's Department of Environmental Protection commissioner.

Scientists have told New Jersey officials that the oil likely will not reach its beaches, Martin said.

The oil could move east toward Florida and the Gulf Stream, which would eventually pull it north toward the Carolinas. That would move the flow toward Cape Hatteras, N.C., and then a likely flow east into the Atlantic, away from the northern half of the East Coast and toward Europe.

But storms and other factors could cause portions of an oil plume to break off from the main body and head toward New Jersey, he cautioned.

BP spokesman Mark Proegler said the most current trajectory shows no oil in the Loop current.

"We will continue to monitor it and take actions as necessary," he said.

Asked whether BP officials will be helping communities along the Atlantic coast that are preparing for the possibility of oil washing up there, Proegler said, "Our current focus is on the Gulf."

He didn't have any immediate information on BP officials planning to attend the community meetings in the Northeast, but he said he would look into it.

Dr. Anne McElroy, professor at Stony Brook University's School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, agrees that the chances of the oil reaching Long Island is remote.

"Chances of any serious impact are vanishingly small," McElroy said in a telephone interview.

In Washington, 22 senators representing East Coast states called for a coordinated response plan should the oil find its way to Atlantic beaches.

"If there is any real risk to these communities from a spill that right now remains thousands of miles away, we need to know as soon as possible," the senators wrote in a letter to Coast Guard Commandant Thad W. Allen, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. "Our state agencies that will partner with federal agencies to protect our shores need to be fully prepared with the information and equipment needed to combat the worst case scenario."

At the East Hampton meeting, Coast Guard and state environmental officials said contingency plans have long been established to deal with oil spills of any magnitude. Coast Guard Lt. David Barnes said strategies such as where to place booms to collect oil already have been discussed. He said the plans also discuss where to set up staging areas for animal rescue and other emergency responders.

He noted those plans were used in the aftermath of the TWA Flight 800 crash off Long Island in 1996.

"Any time we get a spill we look at what sensitive areas are going to be affected," Barnes said. In the TWA crash, the Coast Guard was responsible for cleaning the jet fuel that leaked into the ocean after the jetliner broke apart.

East Hampton resident Debbie Klughers said despite predictions that oil hitting Long Island may be unlikely, she is concerned about the effects on wildlife.

"I think it's a good thing," she said. "I think it's really forward looking of East Hampton to be one of the first towns to put something like this together."

June 13th, 2010, 02:16 PM

Orange Beach, Alabama

June 13th, 2010, 06:29 PM
When we had Chernobyl burning and spitting radiation everywhere. we have sacrificed thousands of lives to stop that, to save a half of Europe from ecological disaster. and we did it, and nobody thanks to us.
That is not true, pure propaganda. 28 first responders died, far from thousands, according to UNSCEAR report. (http://www.unscear.org/unscear/en/chernobyl.html) Get your facts straight.

June 13th, 2010, 06:58 PM
BP's Gulf Coast oil spill - a legal primer

By Roger Parloff, senior editor
June 6, 2010: 9:10 AM ET

FORTUNE -- To help readers navigate the legal landscape surrounding BP's mammoth oil spill (or "oil spew," as some argue it should more properly be called) in the Gulf Coast, I have looked into some of the law-related questions and statements that keep surfacing as the press and bloggers keep up with the crisis. I rely mainly here on an interview with Christopher B. Kende, an international insurance law specialist at the firm of Cozen O'Connor. Kende also teaches attorneys about the legal issues stemming from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill as a lecturer for HB Litigation Conferences.

Is BP really protected by a $75 million cap on damages?

Probably not. In the wake of the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989, Congress passed the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, known as OPA (pronounced like 'Oprah' without the 'r'). For leaks from offshore oil rigs like this one, OPA limits the liability of the responsible party -- BP in this instance -- to $75 million in economic damages, but there are several mammoth exceptions. To begin with, the limitation does not apply to any of BP's liability for state and federal cleanup costs, for which BP (BP) is 100% responsible. As of early June, these costs had already come to about $990 million, according to BP, and the company seems to be just getting started. (BP has also committed to spending another $360 million to fund the building of barrier islands off the coast of Louisiana.)

But the key, ginormous loophole in the $75 million OPA limit is that BP isn't allowed to take advantage of it if the company -- or any of its contractors, Kende stresses -- acted with gross negligence or violated any federal safety law or regulation. In other words, if either BP or rig-owner Transocean Ltd. (RIG), or cement contractor Halliburton Energy Services (HAL, Fortune 500), or the blowout preventer manufacturer Cameron International (CAM, Fortune 500) violated some safety rule -- the limit vanishes. (If a subcontractor is the one responsible, BP might then be able to go after that company for contribution or indemnification.)

"I think there are enough regulations in this area," says Kende, "that something was probably done wrong" by someone, though he acknowledges that that's speculation on his part.

Has BP really waived the $75 million limitation?

BP representatives have made statements in the press and before Congress that have certainly implied that it would not invoke the OPA $75 million limitation. As a technical matter, Kende says, "I think statements in the press would not be considered legal waiver." He can't comment on BP's intentions, he adds.
0:00 /3:16Can BP afford to keep its CEO?

Given the public relations fiasco BP would face if it tried to invoke the limit, however; and given the likelihood that the limitation would be legally breakable anyway; and given BP's conduct so far -- as of early June the company had already paid out $42 million in private claims for economic damage, according to its press statements and SEC filings -- it seems likely that, one way or another, BP won't be getting the benefit of the limit.

Why in the world did congress limit an oil company's liability in the first place, especially in a law passed right after the Exxon Valdez fiasco?

It didn't really. Prior to OPA's passage, it was actually harder for the federal government, states, and private parties to recover their losses and expenses from an oil spill.

"OPA was designed to expand liability," Kende says, "to make it easier to sue for more categories of damages."

Prior to OPA, for instance, general maritime law principles would have barred Gulf Coast hotel owners from bringing claims against BP for lost revenues unless they had actually owned beachfront property that was physically drenched with oil. Under OPA, hotel owners all over the Gulf region can bring such claims based purely on cancellations and other lost revenue. OPA also makes BP strictly liable for such losses -- i.e., the claimant doesn't have to prove negligence on BP's part, as it would have to do in court. If the damage turns out to have been some other company's fault, BP can later sue that party for reimbursement.

Just how remote can economic damages be? If a New Orleans barber says he has suffered loss in revenue, due to fewer tourists visiting and his regulars being too strapped to come as often, does he have a claim against BP?

Kende replies with an even more disturbing hypothetical of his own: "Suppose a New York travel agent makes claims against BP based on the loss of her commissions from fewer clients making trips to Louisiana?"

Kende doesn't know the answer to either of our questions, since a situation like this one hasn't arisen before. "Courts will just have to draw a line somewhere," he says.

He assumes that the more remote geographically someone gets from the spill, and the longer the chain of events is that led to a claimant's alleged damages, the harder it will be for the claimant to prevail. (Kende observes that the desire to avoid engaging in such difficult line-drawing was the precise reason courts had, prior to the OPA, refused to recognize claims for economic damages from spills unless the claimant had also suffered physical property damage.)

Can a state or municipality make a claim against BP for, say, diminished sales taxes, due to lost tourism or from residents moving away?

Yes. "OPA specifically allows for recovery for lost tax revenue," says Kende. It also covers a municipality's increased costs for public services, he adds. For instance, if a city incurs extra expenditures from paying overtime to police or firefighters, those are economic losses for which BP would apparently be liable.

Can claimants also lodge claims against some sort of trust fund?

Yes. OPA also created something called the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, paid for by petroleum taxes.

The fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard, has $1 billion available to pay claimants from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. If an idled fishing business, for instance, or a cancellation-plagued Gulf Coast motel makes a claim against BP, and BP for any reason refuses it, the claimant can then file an administrative claim against the trust fund. If the trust fund refuses the claim, the claimant can still go to court.

If, on the other hand, the trust fund pays the claim, the fund can then seek reimbursement -- or subrogation -- from whichever party it considers responsible for the damage (be it BP, Halliburton, Cameron, or whomever).

But, Kende warns, if the claimant files suit before making a claim against BP or the trust fund -- as so many already have -- they cannot file a claim with the trust fund until after their litigation ends, which could be years, if not decades. The law is intended to encourage people to try the administrative claims procedure first before resorting to litigation. (Parts of the Exxon Valdez litigation are still ongoing, 21 years after the spill. Ironically, one potential defendant in the Exxon Valdez litigation is BP, which is a 47% owner of Alyeska Pipeline Service, which owned the terminal at Valdez. Exxon Mobil (XOM, Fortune 500) has threatened to sue for contribution.)

Could rig-owner Transocean be liable for only $27 million? How can that be?

Transocean Ltd., the Swiss owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig, did file suit in federal court in Houston last month invoking a nineteenth-century law which, it says, limits its total liability for personal injury and wrongful death actions arising from the April 20 explosion to $26.7 million. (Eleven workers are missing and presumed dead, including nine Transocean employees, and an unspecified number of the 115 surviving crewmembers were injured.)

The law in question, the Limitation of Liability Act, was passed by Congress in 1851 in an effort to encourage investment in shipping. It says that a ship owner's liability "shall not exceed the value of the vessel and pending freight."

Part of what makes the law so harsh is that it's not referring to the value of the vessel before the explosion, but rather to its value right now. The value of the Deepwater Horizon -- exploded, burned, and lying at the bottom of the ocean -- is zero. The arcane term "pending freight" is actually the source of the $26.7 million value Transocean is now assigning to the rig; in this context, it refers mainly to the rent money Transocean says BP still owed for leasing the rig as of April 28, the date Transocean's CFO did the computation. (The Limitation of Liability Act provides an even more bizarre formula for computing Transocean's minimum exposure under the act: You multiply the vessel's weight -- 32,588 tons in the Deepwater Horizon's case -- by $420 per ton. But since that arithmetic produces a number less than the value of the "vessel and pending freight," the latter figure is the one that's used.)

According to Kende, the subsequent passage of OPA effectively repealed the Limitation of Liability Act with respect to oil pollution damages, so Transocean's liabilities for those are not capped at $26.7 million. A Transocean spokesman confirms Kende's understanding, saying, "We have never intended or asserted [otherwise and] we have clarified that to the ... court and to the Department of Justice."

Nevertheless, the 1851 law may well cap Transocean's liability in the personal injury and wrongful death cases, all of which are currently stayed pending a ruling on that question.

Though the Limitation of Liability Act's cap can be lifted if the ship owner is shown to have been "complicit" in the negligence that caused the injuries -- and plaintiffs' lawyers say the exception applies -- Kende says it's a hard sell. The whole point of the law, he explains, was to suspend the ordinary rule, under which an employer is automatically responsible for the negligence of his employees. Here, the plaintiffs will have to prove that high-level Transocean officers were intimately involved in the negligence that led to the accident.

The 1851 law has no impact, however, on the liability of other potential defendants, like BP, since only Transocean was a vessel "owner." (BP leased the Deepwater Horizon from Transocean.)

Part 2

BP is not alone in Gulf exposure

By Roger Parloff, senior editorJune 11, 2010: 12:10 PM ET

FORTUNE -- Last week I wrote a short legal primer aimed at answering some key questions surrounding the legal landscape of the BP Gulf Coast oil spill. At the same time, I invited readers to send me their questions, so I could take a stab at those, too. Here goes.

In general, my own questions focused on BP (BP)'s civil liability under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA), and whether the company would really be subject to OPA's $75 million limitation on liability. (Basically, my answer was no.) Readers had a few follow-up questions about those topics, but also inquired about two other matters: how else can BP be punished and how imperiled are their own investments in peripheral players in the catastrophe -- especially Transocean (RIG), Halliburton (HAL, Fortune 500), Cameron International (CAM, Fortune 500), and Anadarko Petroleum (APC, Fortune 500).

Finally, several readers, apparently of an entrepreneurial bent, wanted to know exactly who owns the spilled oil. Specifically, they wondered, could they skim some off the surface and resell it to refiners themselves?

When BP says it will pay for all costs of cleaning up the oil spill, does that mean it is committing to restoring the Gulf to its previous state?

No. "Clean-up" means removal of the oil, according to Vincent Foley, a partner at the law firm of Holland & Knight, who specializes in maritime law and has testified before Congress about Deepwater Horizon oil spill liability issues. To the extent that natural resources are damaged over the long-term -- diminished fish stocks, for instance -- states can sue to recover damages for those under OPA, but that's not considered "clean-up" costs, which is what BP is voluntarily taking on.

You said in your primer that BP is "100% responsible" for clean-up costs. But what about other investors in the well, like Anadarko?

As the federally-licensed operator of the oil well, BP has been designated as the "responsible party" under OPA, meaning that it is 100% responsible for the clean-up costs in the first instance. It can, however, go after other parties for contribution, including investors in the well.

Though BP operated the well, it owned only a 65% interest in it. Anadarko Petroleum Company owned 25% and Mitsui Oil Exploration owned 10%. (According to the Wall Street Journal, Mitsui Oil Exploration, in turn, was 70% owned by trading company Mitsui & Co.; 20% by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; and 10% by assorted Japanese investors.)

Anadarko's SEC filings suggest that it anticipates being on the hook for one-quarter of the damages unless certain indemnification provisions kick in, though it did not specify the terms of those indemnifications. Anadarko's insurance for its interest in the well comes to only $177.5 million, less deductibles of about $15 million, according to its filings, so it had better hope those indemnification provisions do apply.

According to one lawyer I spoke with, a standard joint operating agreement in this industry would usually provide that a passive investor like Anadarko would be on the hook for its pro rata share of liability unless the operator, BP in this instance, acted in "gross negligence."

Anadarko's spokesman declined to comment on whether this was, indeed, Anadarko's situation. "Our priority right now is to continue offering help to the Unified Command and at the same time be mindful of the interests of our stakeholders," he said.

If I were a betting man, I'd guess that Anadarko has an enormous incentive to prove gross negligence on BP's part.

Mitsui Oil Exploration's spokesman was as laconic as Anadarko's: "MOECO is unable, at this time, to determine the cause of the incident, and the impact, if any, that the incident will have on MOECO's future operating results, financial positions, or cash flows." He declined further comment, citing the pending U.S. government investigation.

A BP spokesperson said she did not know what BP's indemnification agreements were with Anadarko or Mitsui, and that BP's legal team was "so focused on other things" that I should call back "in a couple weeks when things have quieted down a bit."

What about contractors, like Halliburton, Cameron International, and Transocean?

Both Halliburton, which did cement work on the well, and Transocean, the Swiss owner of the rig, have claimed in SEC filings or in congressional testimony that they have broad indemnification agreements with BP that will leave BP holding the bag for virtually all the spill costs -- assuming, of course, that BP stays solvent. In its SEC filings, for instance, Transocean says that that BP has assumed "full responsibility for any loss, expense, claim, fine, penalty or liability for pollution or contamination, including control and removal thereof, arising out of or connected with operations under the contract" and that BP has agreed to "indemnify us and bear the cost of bringing the well under control in the event of a blowout or other loss of control."

(Halliburton and Transocean will certainly bear exposure to the personal injury suits being filed on behalf of the 11 dead and at least 17 injured workers, although, according to the congressional testimony of a top Halliburton lawyer, there are reciprocal indemnification agreements in place whereby a Halliburton will indemnify BP for suits brought by BP workers, while BP indemnifies Halliburton for suits brought by its employees. The lawyer, senior vice president and deputy counsel James W. Ferguson, testified that such agreements were standard practice in the industry.)

Notwithstanding Transocean's assertions, BP's lawyers evidently have some theory under which they think they can invalidate the oil-spill indemnification agreements Transocean thinks it's protected by. BP has already sent a demand letter to Transocean's excess insurers, seeking to tap the $750 million in insurance obligations they owe to Transocean. That letter prompted those insurers, led by certain underwriters at Lloyd's of London, to sue BP in Houston in May for a judicial declaration that they owe BP nothing. (Transocean and its insurers both acknowledge responsibility for any oil leaks coming from Transocean's rig, which floated on or above the water, but not for any leaks from the well itself, a mile below the surface. So far, virtually the entire spill is assumed to come from the latter.)

As previously noted, BP's spokesperson said she could not address my questions about BP's indemnification arrangements.

The general counsel of Cameron International, which made the blow out preventer (BOP) on the well -- one of the crucial safeguard devices designed to avert disasters like this one -- told a congressional committee last month that it was "far too early to draw factual conclusions about how the incident occurred" and, therefore, it was also "impossible for anyone to make liability determinations at this point." Cameron's SEC filings say that it has $500 million of insurance available.
0:00 /1:06BP to pay quarterly dividend

Isn't BP exposed to some sort of per-barrel fine?

Yes. Though my primer dealt mainly with the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA), BP is also subject to substantial penalties under the Clean Water Act (also known as the Federal Water Pollution Control Act). Specifically, it can be hit with either $37,500 per-day or $1,100 per-barrel civil penalty for oil spills, even without a showing of wrongdoing on its part. Consulting the PBS News Hour Oil Leak Widget, readers can see that by even the most conservative estimates, BP's per-barrel exposure is already around $1 billion. (Remember that there are 42 gallons in a barrel.) If BP is shown to have been guilty of "gross negligence" or "willful misconduct," those penalties can be trebled. Turning to "experts' worst case" scenarios for the size of the oil spill, and assuming gross negligence, one can at least theoretically jack those penalties up to devastating levels.

These penalties would ordinarily be sought by the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and any money collected would go into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, described in the primer.

One lawyer points out to me that BP would probably much rather pay cleanup costs and civil damages than Justice Department penalties, since the latter are not tax deductible. The prospect of imposing these gives the government enormous bargaining leverage over BP, even before one begins talking about the potential criminal sanctions BP could face. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has, of course, said that he is looking into the possibility of criminal violations of at least four environmental laws.

Worse yet for BP, it's a recidivist offender. BP units were on probation for two prior environmental crimes when the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20. In October 2007, two BP units simultaneously agreed to plead guilty to environmental crimes relating to two different incidents. (One was a felony violation of the Clean Air Act that helped cause an explosion at its Texas City refinery in March 2005, killing 15 and injuring more than 170. BP was fined $50 million and ordered to institute safeguards that cost it about another $265 million. The other was a misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act stemming from two oil pipeline leaks in 2006, which drenched stretches of Alaskan tundra with 200,000 gallons of crude oil. BP was fined $20 million for that one.)

Who owns the spilled oil? If I skim some off the surface, can I resell it to a refiner?

Though neither of two experts to whom I posed these questions was immediately confident of the answer to the first one, they both thought the answer to the second question was no.

"It's not finders keepers," says Foley, of Holland & Knight. Both he and Chris Kende, an insurance specialist at Cozen O'Connor, thought the oil belonged to either the federal government, from whom BP licensed the right to drill, or to BP.

A reader who wants to claim ownership of oil he collects would probably have to claim that BP "abandoned" it, Kende said, "which, I think, would be hard to prove." Alternatively, he continued, the reader could use "some kind of novel salvage theory, like the old Spanish galleon cases." In maritime law, he explains, if you salvage an old sunken vessel or its cargo, you can stake a claim in it. But to do that here, he says, "you would have to 'sue' the oil you recovered to assert a lien for the salvage." More important, he says, "salvage only applies to maritime property like vessels or cargo on board vessels," and this oil never reached a vessel and was, thus, never cargo. To top of page

© 2010 Cable News Network. A Time Warner Company

June 13th, 2010, 08:06 PM
^ Mumbo Jumbo.

(And I read it all.)

June 13th, 2010, 09:35 PM
The lawyers on all sides are salivating. Even if their client loses they still win.

June 14th, 2010, 10:55 AM
Insults Across The Water

NY TIMES (http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/13/insults-across-the-water/?ref=opinion)
June 13, 2010


Well, now: it seems our dear ally across the pond feels that a row has broken out over the intemperance of the American president toward mighty BP.

“Anglophobic spite,” was the charge leveled at President Obama by a columnist for The Daily Mail, implausibly attributing the animus to Obama’s Kenyan father. London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, demanded an end to “anti-British rhetoric.” He demanded it! Or else. And a leading Tory by name of Lord Tebbit branded Obama’s conduct “despicable.”

All of this came just before the extraordinary events on Saturday in South Africa, when the American boys — none of whom could make the British squad, it is said — played Her Majesty’s finest to a draw in the World Cup’s opening round.

“Brit Kneels Before America!” was the headline on the ever-subtle Drudge Report, with a picture of the poor English goalie on his knees.

The oil spill may long be forgotten in Britain before the English get over that single goal scored by the Yanks. Certainly, it was a gift. Even in American youth soccer leagues, where everyone gets a trophy, it’s hard to imagine that dribbler getting by one of our undersized goalies with oversized self-esteem.

If the world’s most popular sport is war by other means, then let’s keep it on the pitch. For the other conflict appears to be a monumental misread on the part of the British. They should stick to arguing over the meaning of their unwritten constitution.

American anger has little to do with the island nation and everything to do with a multinational corporation that has appeared tone deaf and negligent. Obama tried to get that general idea across when he called Prime Minister David Cameron over the weekend.

The insults across the water can be explained, in part, by that old line about two nations separated by a common language. When Americans hear the English speaking laudably of “BP’s scheme” for making good, they wince. Scheme? Ponzi comes to mind over here, and a felony. The knights and earls, the barons and viscounts, the dodgy characters and cheeky gibes — so much of it is a muddle to the American mind.

I know what they think of us. I was describing a state fair in Montana once for a BBC audience when the producer urged me to cut to the chase. “Aren’t they all fat? And heavily armed?”

In her book “The Anglo Files: a Field Guide to the British (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/24/books/review/Weiland-t.html),” my colleague Sarah Lyall explained the gap this way:

“We look to the future; they look to the past. We run for election; they stand for it. We noisily and proudly proclaim our Americanness; they shuffle their feet and apologize for their Britishness. We trumpet our success; they brag about their failures. When they say they are pleased to meet you, they often mean nothing of the kind.”

As to what specifically angers the Brits about the American response to the BP spill, they point to Obama’s answer to a question about whom to hold accountable. They can’t fathom that the pundit class in the United States thinks our leaders have been too timid, too cool, too restrained.

A sound bite to please the Washington magpies is hardly akin to stepping on the Union Jack. After all, the English burned our capital. And who can forget that headline in The Daily Mirror after George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004: “How Can 59,054,087 People Be So Dumb?”

We love Dickens and Shakespeare, Hitchcock and Sting, Lennon and McCartney. Speaking of which,
John Boehner, the House minority leader, has demanded an apology from Sir Paul for saying “it’s great to have a president who knows what a library is” when he was awarded the Gershwin Prize by the Library of Congress.

Boehner knows a breach in decorum when he hears one; he’s the head of a caucus with a member who shouted “You lie!” at the president.

Most of the above is good fun. Special relationship and all that. But the oil spill is death to a way of life for thousands, and a high crime against nature. The anger is real. It’s directed at a company run by a man, Tony Hayward, who is a gaffe-o-matic. One day he says the oil is but a drop in a big ocean. Then he says he wants his life back.

This week, it’s only going to get worse, when BP directors consider whether to suspend their dividend, and the company’s executives are called to the White House. The president plans to ask them to set up an escrow account for those affected by the spill.

For diversion, there is a month of glorious soccer, often called a gentleman’s game played by thugs, which is a good way to describe the politics of two democracies from the same family.

Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company

June 15th, 2010, 06:53 PM
What Else Are They Dumping In The Gulf?

THE DAILY DISH (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/06/what-else-are-they-dumping-in-the-gulf.html)
15 JUN 2010 02:30 PM

Tom Philpott rails (http://www.grist.org/article/Time-tough-BP-dispersants-Obama/) against government regulators over BP's wanton use of chemical dispersants:

As of June 9, BP had applied at least 1.1 million gallons of toxic chemical dispersants (http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/06/09/09greenwire-ingredients-of-controversial-dispersants-used-42891.html) to address its ongoing oil leak in the Gulf. That's the most that has been used in one place since 1979, when the Mexican government dropped between 1 million and 2.5 million gallons on a leak off the coast of Vera Cruz, the EPA reports (http://www.epa.gov/bpspill/dispersants.html#appl).

As I reported (http://www.grist.org/article/2010-05-06-use-of-toxic-chemical-dispersants-to-fight-the-oil-spill-a-murky/) in early May, the dispersant products, branded Corexit 9527A and Corexit 9500A, were made exclusively by a former Exxon subsidiary now owned by a company called Nalco. Exxon researchers had already acknowledged that they were significantly toxic for aquatic life. But just how toxic was mysterious—particularly for humans. The publicly available data sheets for both products revealed that they have the “potential to bioconcentrate,” but added this stunner: “No toxicity studies have been conducted on this product.”

Information about their precise composition was also vague, clouded by a veil of secrecy based on “proprietary” concerns. I found the information scarcity outrageous. A private company fouls a vast public resource and then dumps hundreds of thousands of gallons of a toxic chemical potion into it. Doesn’t the public have the right to know precisely what’s in that potion?

Full Article: Time to get tough with BP on dispersants (http://www.grist.org/article/Time-tough-BP-dispersants-Obama/)

June 15th, 2010, 09:06 PM
OBAMA SPEAKS (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/15/obamas-gulf-spill-speech_n_613554.html)

Technology: 0

Prayer: 1

June 16th, 2010, 07:08 AM
Abroad, our brave men and women in uniform are taking the fight to al Qaeda wherever it exists.
Alkaida? Oh no.. not again

June 16th, 2010, 04:13 PM
Spill Lady Spill / Drill Baby Drill Has A Reaction to Obama's Oval Room Address on the Gulf Disaster ...


June 16th, 2010, 05:35 PM
Congressman Cao to BP America President Lamar McKay...


June 16th, 2010, 06:02 PM
LOL ^ "Honor" and "BP" shouldn't be used in the same sentence.

Why don't we see the BP Chairman (http://www.bp.com/sectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=9030573&contentId=7055793) on TV or hear about him in the news? I wonder if Mr. Svanberg rues the day when he took over BP, just 6 months ago? Clearly, in the past and for now the BP Board prefers that we all see a Brit rather than a Swede as the figurehead of BP ...

BP has finally unleashed the Big Swede (http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2010/06/16/n_bpchairman_dividend.cnnmoney/), Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg -- who, after meeting with Obama at the White House, exhibited the now familiar BP lack of PR finesse when speaking of his concern for the "small people" of the Gulf.

Maybe it's something in the water they drink at BP.

June 16th, 2010, 06:24 PM
I stopped watching when Palin began talking about stool.

June 16th, 2010, 08:13 PM
the Big Swede, Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg -- who, after meeting with Obama at the White House, exhibited the now familiar BP lack of PR finesse when speaking of his concern for the "small people" of the Gulf.

Maybe it's something in the water they drink at BP.
He's home right now with an Akvavit, and he's looking up "hara kiri."

June 16th, 2010, 11:27 PM
Gives new meaning to severance package.

June 17th, 2010, 07:52 AM
In all fairness, this guy has a partial excuse.

It is not as if Americans can speak Swedish well enough to handle a difficult press conference.

When you are not native, and you are used to hearing phrases used on the news such as "small business owner" and the like, "little people" does not sound so bad.

I do think it is a big blunder, but I also think people are focusing on the wrong things. Was there anything ELSE he said in the address that had more to do with what they would actually be DOING?

(Hell, they could call the people down there outright arseholes so long as they were committed to cleaning up the mess they made and paying reparations. I really do not care. We focus WAY too much on PR and too little on actual action these days).

June 17th, 2010, 08:03 AM
They are not paying reparations. It is absurd. Many more people are responsible for this than just BP. One of whom is Obama for allowing deep water drilling.

June 17th, 2010, 08:04 AM
[Note to self]

Hands across the water is out.

June 17th, 2010, 09:01 AM
Many more people are responsible for this than just BP. One of whom is Obama for allowing deep water drilling.
I just knew it had to be Obama's fault.

Everything is, isn't it?

June 17th, 2010, 09:26 AM
Obama should have known in 1999 when BP began drilling deepwater in the Gulf.

Thunder Horse Oil Field (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunder_Horse_Oil_Field)

Formerly called Crazy Horse. Too bad. They could have blamed Indians.

June 17th, 2010, 10:06 AM
Everybody knew.

The trick is, who knew enough to realize this was a danger and said nothing because they knew their head would be on the block for this (cutting all ties).

We have to find out who was the impediment, not who was the silent partner.

Also, UI do not see a single person complaining about the $2.54/gallon for regular here in Jersey. Maybe we need to jump back up to $4 to get the ball rolling away from Oil dependency.

June 17th, 2010, 10:13 AM
We have to find out who was the impediment, not who was the silent partner.

June 17th, 2010, 10:21 AM
Yeah right, "everybody knew."

There are countless processes going on the world that have the potential for disaster, and we're all supposed to have working knowledge of the dangers. At some point, you just have to rely on the technical ability of insiders and experts.

It's the same old story. Huge financial return, but expensive set up. I once heard it described as hovering over NYC at 30,000 feet, and trying to place a drill bit on the pitching mound at Yankee Stadium. In the dark.

Will standby rigs in case of an accident now be required?

June 17th, 2010, 10:54 AM
Zip Everybody = Everybody that had some control or connection to the matter. Do not be so literal! :P

There were many in the administrations dating back to Bush Sr that probably knew about all the kickbacks and oversights, but kept their mouths shut for various reasons (usually because someone that could give THEM trouble was on the payroll, if not they themselves.)

As for the difficulty? Overrated. Setting these guys up is a huge outlay up front, but that makes even more reason to have the safety measures up and running so you do not LOSE what you vested (nevermind the damage you cause). Setting up a drill from 30K on the pitcers mound in the dark is easier if you have a few things going:

Flight stabilization
Night Vision (IR)
Prehensile extensions that alow mobility once the unit touches down somewhere inside Yankee Stadium.

You do not just throw a pipe into the wind and hope it hits! ;) (I know you know this).

ABL, what I was saying is this. If a secretary to the commissioner for the safety and inspection of these rigs knew something, would it have mattered if they spoke up? Would anybody have heard them? Would they ever be heard from again? Start going up the ladder and see who would make it so that someone saying something, even important, that could diminish returns, that person that would make them suffer for it.

Who is the one that pushes the bad news under the blotter or under the rug and gets pissed if anyone tries to clean it properly?

How can you have a company this big, with this many people, with this many "officials" supposedly watching it have this many problems? (I heard there were several failsafes that all....failed. I also heard they knew about them not working, but were on a rush so they continued anyway. What's the deal?)

June 17th, 2010, 11:18 AM
Zip Everybody = Everybody that had some control or connection to the matter. Do not be so literal! :PMy "everybody" includes politicians. Why should they be expected to have the expertise?

You can blame them for corruption or kickbacks, but ultimately, they have to depend on industry experts.

As for the difficulty? Overrated.So you're an expert?

You do not just throw a pipe into the wind and hope it hits!Who even hinted at that. I implied it was difficult, not hit or miss. There are thick layers of salt deposit on the Gulf bed, making it difficult to obtain reliable mapping of possible oil deposits.

Difficult=expensive. I mentioned that it was about the money.

How can you have a company this big, with this many people, with this many "officials" supposedly watching it have this many problems? (I heard there were several failsafes that all....failed. I also heard they knew about them not working, but were on a rush so they continued anyway. What's the deal?So now you're not an expert?

June 17th, 2010, 12:21 PM
Beyond the difficulty inherent in any deep water well is the FACT that BP cut corners at Deepwater Horizon -- they were trying to make up for continual, expensive & time consuming problems on what everyone who was working on it was calling a "Nightmare Well."

An ex-Shell exec has said it's clear that the concrete job to secure the well head to the seabed was badly done, thanks to Halliburton. Add that the well cap / blowout preventer from Cameron (http://www.australia.to/2010/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3367:cameron-international-fourth-partner-in-deepwater-horizon-disaster&catid=125:edward-j-oboyle&Itemid=165) is now made in China, and quality control for that equipment is under question. And then there's the distinct possibility that the well casing beneath the sea bed (where it extends down another 10,000+ feet to the actual oil reserve) has been compromised and oil is spewing out in a way that makes it nearly uncontrollable until a second well is tapped in and the entire thing is cemented shut. And no one really knows what will happen when they try that, given the intense pressures involved -- not to mention that such a thing has never been done.

The complexity of a well like this is beyond anyone except those trained and well-versed in this stuff. And seems all those work (or used to work) for oil companies. If those companies choose to buy-off / scam / ignore the regulators and put folks at risk by their deeds then they have the ultimate responsibility -- and if it means they get driven into the ground, then so be it. What is that old saying? You reap what you sow.

True free marketeers would have difficulty arguing anything but the demise of such a company under these circumstances. The problem for the rest of us is keeping BP operational and flush long enough to fix the current problem and then paying for it into the future until their bad acts are made good.

And I won't even get into the moral stuff that has been breached.

June 17th, 2010, 12:36 PM
Oil is sometimes regarded as a low-tech product; the industry has been around for a long time.

The sobering and depressing truth is that petroleum is the compound that defines our society. It's everywhere, in everything.

The CDC periodically runs tests on the number of "environmental compounds" present in the human body. Of the 212 identified, 180 are derived from oil or natural gas.


June 17th, 2010, 12:44 PM
Um, don't we have to know how much oil is actually leaking before we can claim that 90% (http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0616/Gulf-oil-spill-Will-Obama-regret-his-90-percent-promise) will be contained by next month?

It sounds like one of those word problems: "If two relief wells will be finished by August, and 90% of many, many barrels of oil will be captured by July, how long before the entire Gulf is literally filled with petroleum?"

Estimates of Oil Flow Jump Higher (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/16/us/16spill.html?src=me)
Published: June 15, 2010

The flow was already categorized as the largest offshore oil spill in the nation’s history, but the new figures sharply increase previous estimates. Scientists on Tuesday estimated that the flow rate ranged from 35,000 to 60,000 barrels a day — up from the rate they issued only last week, of 25,000 to 30,000 barrels a day. It continues a pattern in which every new estimate of the flow rate has been dramatically higher than the one before.

With BP capturing roughly 15,000 barrels a day, the new estimate suggests that as much as 45,000 barrels a day is escaping into the gulf.

The new estimate is far above the figure of 5,000 barrels a day that the government and BP clung to for weeks after the spill started, following the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. That estimate was made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration using methods not recommended for large oil spills, and it came under attack from professors and advocacy groups who said the spill had to be larger. Time has proven those critics right.

The latest estimate reflects a possible increase in the flow rate that occurred after BP cut an underwater pipe called a riser on June 3 to install a new device to capture part of the oil. It is based on new information, including high-resolution video made after the riser cut, and on pressure readings taken by a device that was inserted this week into the equipment at the sea floor. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, was personally involved in using those pressure readings to help make the latest calculation.

“This estimate brings together several scientific methodologies and the latest information from the sea floor, and represents a significant step forward in our effort to put a number on the oil that is escaping from BP’s well,” Secretary Chu said in a statement. “As we continue to collect additional data and refine these estimates, it is important to realize that the numbers can change.”

The numbers came on a day when BP’s ill-fated relief efforts to stop the damaged well hit yet another snag, underscoring once again the fragility of the containment effort: lightning struck the vessel that had been collecting the oil from the well, suspending operations for nearly five hours from 9:30 a.m. Central time until 2:15 p.m.

BP said in a statement that the fire, which started after lightning struck the derrick — the familiar-looking tower used to lift the piping — was quickly extinguished, and there were no injuries. But as a precaution, the containment operation was shut down for about five hours.

The containment cap is still the most successful method BP has had in collecting some of the oil that has been leaking from the undersea well, and it has only been partly effective. A series of attempts by BP to cap or plug the well before June 3 failed.

The new calculation of the flow of oil, if it holds up, suggests that BP’s latest plans for capturing oil will be adequate, if only barely.

BP had only able to collect about 15,000 barrels a day at its peak with the containment cap, but the company has outlined plans to deploy new equipment so that it can capture a minimum of 40,000 barrels a day by the end of June, and a minimum of 60,000 barrels a day by mid-July.

If the new range of flow estimates proves correct, and if BP is ultimately found guilty of gross negligence in actions it took that led to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, that would mean the company could be assessed fines of up to $258 million a day. Those fines could come on top of payments for cleanup costs and economic damage to Gulf Coast businesses.

Fearful that the spill could ultimately cost BP tens of billions of dollars, investors have driven the company’s market valuation down by 48 percent since the spill began, erasing $91 billion of shareholder value. BP shares rose more than 2 percent during regular trading on Tuesday, but then gave up all that gain and more in after-hours trading, following release of the new flow estimates.

In a separate development, BP started to make good Tuesday on a three-week-old promise, declaring that it would release $25 million to a group of universities to pay for research into the effects of the oil spill. The is the first installment of $500 million that the company has pledged for a research effort lasting a decade.

Louisiana State University will get $5 million of the initial money. An additional $10 million will go to the Florida Institute of Oceanography, a consortium of 20 institutions with marine science interests in that state, including the 11 state universities. And a final $10 million will go to the Northern Gulf Initiative, a consortium led by Mississippi State University that includes four other institutions scattered across the Gulf Coast states.

In signing up for the BP money, the institutions were careful to negotiate academic freedom for themselves in deciding what lines of research to pursue.

“Clearly, our scientists need to be able to work independently,” said Vickie Chachere, a spokeswoman for the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg, which heads the Florida consortium. “BP is going to be completely hands-off on this. There will be no strings attached.”

BP pledged that more money would be coming beyond the $25 million. It appointed an expert panel that will make recommendations on which institutions will receive those funds, with Rita Colwell, one of the most respected names in American science, as chairwoman. Ms. Colwell, an environmental microbiologist who holds a degree in oceanography, formerly headed the National Science Foundation and is now a distinguished professor at the Johns Hopkins University.

“It is vitally important that research start immediately into the oil and dispersant’s impact, and that the findings are shared fully and openly,” BP’s chief executive, Tony Hayward, said in a statement announcing the research money. “We support the independence of these institutions and projects, and hope that the funding will have a significant positive effect on scientists’ understanding of the impact of the spill.”

Jad Mouawad and Liz Robbins contributed reporting.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: June 15, 2010

An earlier version of this article misstated the minimum daily fine BP could be assessed if found guilty of gross negligence.

June 17th, 2010, 01:01 PM
They can't even decide who is responsible (http://hotair.com/archives/2010/06/16/video-estimates-of-flow-rate-in-gulf-continue-to-escalate/) for measuring the flow rate, BP or NOAA.

Mid-August date for connecting the relief well is the absolute best case scenario. T. Boone Pickens says (http://archives.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1006/15/lkl.01.html) mid-September is far more likely, with December a distinct possibility:

KING: All right. Boone, you've been right all along on this. When are they going to solve this spill?

PICKENS: OK. You remember our first time we talked about it; we were 38 days at that point.

KING: Right and you said it would double it?

PICKENS: It's more. It's more. We're going to be, I would say, don't look for the relief well to be in position and to accomplish the deal. Now, everybody is thinking it's going to be August. I think it will be the middle of September.

KING: And how -- therefore, how worse, how worse is it going to get?

PICKENS: Well, you're going to keep looking at that --

KING: Three months.

PICKENS: Yes, you're talking about right at the middle of June, so, June, July, August, September. Yes, we're still three months away. So, we're going to -- but you don't have to worry about your news each evening because it's going to be the same thing over and over again. I mean -- and I think BP is going to start to capture more oil through their, their deal that they have going right now. They're at about 15,000 or 20,000 barrels a day. And hopefully, they will get more than that. How much oil are we -- are we -- producing out of that well, right now, it's probably 40,000 or 50,000 barrels.


KING: Would you invest in BP, would you buy BP stock?

PICKENS: No. I wouldn't. I wouldn't.

KING: All right. Simply put then. Is there even a worse case situation, do you see? A worse case scenario than your forecasting mid-September?

PICKENS: Well, then it could be mid-December. Could that happen? Yes, it could happen. If you look back at the ex-stock well (ph), it went 290 days and three relief wells. We have two relief wells going now. They're getting down right on time.

KING: What happens if, what happens if a hurricane hits?

PICKENS: Oh, man, I don't want that. That would, that would be, that would be bad. You know, they had to shut down the tender today because it was struck by lightning. And, they were shut down for several hours before they could get back to -- back to -- to getting the oil into the tender.

June 17th, 2010, 01:13 PM
I just knew it had to be Obama's fault.

Everything is, isn't it?

I said 'one of whom'. Not really directly in this case but Obama dropped the objection to deep water drilling meaning at some point in the future this could have happened on one of the wells he allowed to go ahead.

June 17th, 2010, 01:33 PM
Hence Obama's current and newly-enacted moratorium on deep water drilling.

At least somebody learns from their mistakes, and is willing to shift as new truths become apparent.

Now Obama has to figure out what to do to get the clean up and containment under control.

What a job to have, eh?

June 17th, 2010, 02:20 PM
Edit: Pointless... I did not see the extra page and my original comment does not help a bit....

Loft, I agree with you on #151. They rushed things and the people most qualified to do the job, repair, or comment on any shortcomings are all employed by these companies.

It is just not good no matter how you look at it.

Side question, how do we get the people out of the Gulf area if this turns their shores to toxic wastelands? Unlike Alaska, there are a LOT of people there and many of them depend on the ocean for their livelyhood.

Do you think the US can stand that much of a man made instant depression on top of the burst bubbles we have already encountered?

June 17th, 2010, 02:58 PM
There is nothing Obama can do to fix this. The technical skills are not available outside of BP. So what he is doing is over the top posturing to try and recover some of his loss in the polls. When is he going to mention the American companies involved in this? Is he going to make them pay into this fund as well?

June 17th, 2010, 04:03 PM
Transocean (http://www.deepwater.com/fw/main/Home-1.html): Switzerland

Hallburton (http://www.halliburton.com/): USA (Houston, TX)

Cameron International (http://www.c-a-m.com/index.cfm): USA (Houston, TX)

Currently BP is front and center, and as the responsible party for the clean-up and capping the well, that is where the attention is going. I'd be willing to bet that Obama and team are working on cornering the guys behind the scenes.

And the legal teams of each company, along with their respective insurance companies, are undoubtedly negotiating non-stop.

June 17th, 2010, 04:05 PM
The technical skills are not available outside of BP.

Also available from experts at Exxon-Mobil, Shell, etc.

June 17th, 2010, 04:55 PM
So the US government should bring in experts from another private company? Exxon has a much worse track record than BP from what I hear. I've also been reading about the oil companies in the Niger Delta, devastating amounts of oil is spilled there constantly yet no one cares. Only the precious US coastline matters. Why doesn't Obama react like this when US companies ruin an African eco-system? Hypocrisy in the extreme.

June 17th, 2010, 06:24 PM
Oil companies are all basically the same. If they see a place where they can cut corners and make lots of cash they go for it.

Are leaders over your way calling for any of what you describe in response to the petro-crimes around the world?

btw: Did you watch Tony Hayward before the Congressional panel today? As one oil expert commentator put it: He's either the stupidest CEO ever or the biggest lying CEO of all time. I hear they're about to take his passport away.

June 17th, 2010, 07:12 PM
At least my leaders are not hypocrites about it. If you are a greedy bastard at least be consistent and not pretend you aren't when it suits you to go on some witch hunt.

June 17th, 2010, 08:05 PM
Whoa. OK.

Must be good to live in a land free of hypocrites.

June 18th, 2010, 12:31 AM
It's not going to be possible, but I wish we could keep nationalist sentiment at bay. BP as been cast in the lead role for The Gulf Oil Disaster of 2010. The fact that other companies, from the US and Switzerland, are also probably culpable, and that US regulators also appear to have been criminally negligent will all come out in due course, but there's going to be a British face on this mess now and in the future. All we can do is point out the obvious: it could have been Exxon, or Chevron, or Royal Dutch Shell. It just wasn't though. It is what it is.

June 18th, 2010, 12:45 AM
They can't even decide who is responsible (http://hotair.com/archives/2010/06/16/video-estimates-of-flow-rate-in-gulf-continue-to-escalate/) for measuring the flow rate, BP or NOAA.

OK, let me rephrase: "If 90% of lots and lots of oil will be captured by July, and if two or relief wells stop the leak in August, September or December, how long before the entire Gulf from Galveston to Yucatan to the Keys becomes one giant tar pit?"

I have also read that the estimate leak may be 100,000 barrels/day or larger. All the information appears suspect. I don't know if anyone in the government or the oil industry truly knows how massive the flow is or how long it will continue, but I am pretty sure I do not know and have no way of locating credible sources of information. It's not in BP's interest, or Obama's interest, or in the interest of the governors of the Gulf states to get behind the most realistic (higher) estimates. They are probably hoping that most of the oil will be washed out into the Atlantic.

Remember how long the 1,000 and then the 5,000/day figures were bandied about? Top Kill was a "pretty sure thing" last month. Those had to have been blatant lies. We cannot expect the oil people to tell us the truth -- BP is managing its own demise more than anything. The fact that the Coast Guard and the administration have allowed BP to marshal and control all the information for so long stinks of government-corporate conspiracy and malfeasance.

June 18th, 2010, 03:50 AM

June 18th, 2010, 06:49 AM
^ Our boss showed that at our weekly team meeting today (I work in the oil and gas industry).

The real situation is not funny at all, but the video is and we all had a good laugh.

June 18th, 2010, 01:21 PM
It's just as funny now as when Lofter first posted it (#101) a while ago!

June 18th, 2010, 03:22 PM
It's just as funny now as when Lofter first posted it (#101) a while ago!
Oh shit. I'm screwed

June 18th, 2010, 03:53 PM
So the US government should bring in experts from another private company? Exxon has a much worse track record than BP from what I hear. I've also been reading about the oil companies in the Niger Delta, devastating amounts of oil is spilled there constantly yet no one cares. Only the precious US coastline matters. Why doesn't Obama react like this when US companies ruin an African eco-system? Hypocrisy in the extreme.

It is not just US companies. Shell (especially) and BP also bear some of the responsibility for the Niger Delta spills. The real question is not regarding Obama's reactions but those of the Nigerian Govt. To put it in your words, "why doesn't the Nigerian Govt react like this when multi-national companies ruin the African eco-system." I really do not think this is about Nationalism, but since you brought it up I would remind you that as negligent as Exxon-Mobile is, Royal Dutch Shell, a UK/Dutch company is especially complacent in its dealngs with the Nigerian Govt. (maybe that is why the Nigerian Govt is so passive) Don't misunderstand me, it could just as easily be a US company. But in this case it is not.

As to their US track record, they all suck, but BP seems to suck the most.


"According to the Center for Public Integrity, in the last three years, BP refineries in Ohio (http://topics.abcnews.go.com/topic/Ohio) and Texas (http://topics.abcnews.go.com/topic/Texas) have accounted for 97 percent of the "egregious, willful" violations handed out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (http://topics.abcnews.go.com/topic/Occupational-Safety-and-Health-Administration) (OSHA).


"OSHA statistics show BP ran up 760 "egregious, willful" safety violations, while Sunoco (http://topics.abcnews.go.com/topic/Sunoco%2C-Inc.) and Conoco-Phillips each had eight, Citgo had two and Exxon had one comparable citation."

Don't misuderstand me ... I think they all suck. But BP seems to suck worst of all.

June 18th, 2010, 10:59 PM
After putting Tony Hayward before Congress yesterday to answer "I wouldn't know about that" some 74 times, today BP demoted him (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/18/tony-hayward-removed-from_n_617543.html). For some odd reason BP now seems worried about a "reputation matter" :rolleyes:

Tony the Tool. His severance package must be very nice. So happy for him that he now his his life back.

The Big Swede, BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, says his own face will be coming at us more often. We'll also be seeing more of the pasty American guy, Bob Dudley, who seems to lie as often as he breathes.

The BP trick-show has no end in sight.

June 19th, 2010, 02:06 AM
Oil is sometimes regarded as a low-tech product; the industry has been around for a long time.

The sobering and depressing truth is that petroleum is the compound that defines our society. It's everywhere, in everything.

Agree. And since we are compelled to live with fossil fuels for the foreseeable future, at least as much R&D should be spent on making their use safer and cleaner until real alternatives are on hand. Deep water drilling probably ought be out though until/unless a truly safe way for capping a blown out wellhead is developed.

June 19th, 2010, 02:28 AM
Absolutely. If there are no possibilities for doing that, then no deep water drilling. Period.

June 19th, 2010, 02:40 AM
Oh shit. I'm screwed

We're all screwed.

This Youtube vid has gotten 5,000,000+ hits.

June 19th, 2010, 03:25 AM
Madness --

From Henry A. Waxman, Chairman, House Energy and Congress Committee, to Tony Hayward, CEO, BP, June 14, 2010 (http://energycommerce.house.gov/documents/20100614/Hayward.BP.2010.6.14.pdf) (p. 10):

"A cement bond log is an acoustic test that is conducted by running a tool inside the casing after the cementing is completed. The cement bond log determines whether the cement has bonded to the casing and surrounding formations.
"A cement bond log would have cost the company over $128,000 to complete. In comparison, the cost of cancellation was just $10,000."

One engineer is quoted to say failing to conduct such a test is "unheard of." BP cancelled this test on the morning the well exploded. The failure of the cement bond may have led to the disaster.

June 19th, 2010, 02:44 PM
It is not uncommon for corporations to have multiple million dollar life insurance policies on common little employees say in the five to ten million dollar range. Do you think that maybe a few more employees could have disappeared in April to help offset the cost of the lost rig destroyed in the explosion and resulting fire?

I am sorry to sound cynical here. But what I see in business today is CEOs or division managers asking each department what will option A or option B cost regarding the predicted bottom line. So that if option A is $10,000 and option B is $128,000 then the answer is obvious. No rocket science needed to manage these companies and make a profit. Collateral damage does not count in a world of non-accountability. Only Profits count and not people.

What we, as a gullible and or deceived public, need is to start framing the intelligent questions that business must answer in order to stay in business. I don’t want Big Brother Government over managing business. But I also so not want PR firms managing the truth. How does one hope and pray to keep out of the way of killer corporate spreadsheets and not be victimized by the mere tyranny of chance? With BP as example.

June 19th, 2010, 02:57 PM
Something else I find unbelievable in this day and age of technology:

BP claims that all logs and records of the Deepwater Horizon were lost when the rig burned and sank. Are we really to believe that those very records, which undoubtedly chronicle every step up to the disaster, were not recorded electronically and are cached away somewhere in the BP memory bank onshore?

June 19th, 2010, 10:29 PM
Another satirical take on BP & events in the Gulf: "The Now Show," a weekly review of the week's news, from BBC Radio 4. The segment on the oil spill starts at 7:40:


June 20th, 2010, 12:02 AM
Anadarko Refuses to Pay Costs of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Environment News Service (http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jun2010/2010-06-18-091.html)
June 18, 2010

HOUSTON, Texas - Today BP reiterated its pledge to clean up the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and to pay "all legitimate claims" arising from the spill, even though another part owner of the oil leasehold prospect is disputing its responsibility for costs associated with the incident.

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation today refused to accept responsibility for oil spill removal costs and damages.

Anadarko Chairman and CEO Jim Hackett said that following this week's congressional hearings regarding the spill, "The mounting evidence clearly demonstrates that this tragedy was preventable and the direct result of BP's reckless decisions and actions."

"Frankly," said Hackett, "we are shocked by the publicly available information that has been disclosed in recent investigations and during this week's testimony that, among other things, indicates BP operated unsafely and failed to monitor and react to several critical warning signs during the drilling of the Macondo well. BP's behavior and actions likely represent gross negligence or willful misconduct and thus affect the obligations of the parties under the operating agreement."

BP said in a statement today that the company "strongly disagrees" with these allegations and will not allow the allegations to diminish its commitment to the Gulf Coast region.

"These allegations will neither distract the company's focus on stopping the leak nor alter our commitment to restore the Gulf coast," said BP chief executive Tony Hayward, who was today replaced as point man on the oil spill by BP Managing Director Bob Dudley.

Formally known as the Macondo prospect, the damaged well is located on Mississippi Canyon Block 252 in the Gulf of Mexico in a water depth of 5,000 feet.

BP serves as the operator, holding a 65 percent interest in the leasehold prospect and Anadarko holds 25 percent. The remaining 10 percent is owned by MOEX Offshore 2007, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japan's Mitsui Oil Exploration Ltd.

On April 20, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig leased by BP exploded and caught fire when the test well had been completed, but not capped. The rig sank on April 22, leaving the damaged wellhead spilling crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico at a rate now estimated as at least 35,000 barrels per day. Eleven crewmembers died in the incident and 17 others were injured.

The oil has fouled coastlines in four states - Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, and has caused the fisheries closure of about one-third of the gulf.

Hayward said, "Other parties besides BP may be responsible for costs and liabilities arising from the oil spill, and we expect those parties to live up to their obligations. But how the costs and liabilities are eventually allocated between various parties will not affect our unwavering pledge to step forward in the first instance to clean up the spill and pay all legitimate claims in an efficient and fair manner."

Hackett also said, "We recognize that ultimately we have obligations under federal law related to the oil spill, but will look to BP to continue to pay all legitimate claims as they have repeatedly stated that they will do."

The operator of a well determines the detailed planning and execution of the well, and is responsible for the day-to-day activities of, and decisions executed by, personnel on the rig. Consistent with standard industry practice around the world, non-operating investors rely upon the operator to make the appropriate decisions on the rig.

"BP, as operator, owed duties to its co-owners, including Anadarko, to perform the drilling of the well in a good and workmanlike manner and to comply with all applicable laws and regulations," said Hackett.

"Importantly," Hackett said, "any actions Anadarko may take under the agreement to protect its rights relative to BP's performance as operator in the drilling of the well will in no way shift any financial burden to the American taxpayer."

Hayward said that all three co-owners of the leasehold interest had previously entered into a written joint operating agreement under which BP Exploration & Production Inc. would act as operator and be responsible for conducting operations, but that the parties would share the costs of operations, including the cost to clean up any spill resulting from drilling the exploratory well, according to their respective ownership interests in the lease.

Further, Hayward pointed out, all the co-owners of the leasehold interest filed documents with the U.S. federal government certifying that "each would be jointly and severally liable, together with any other responsible parties, for oil spill removal costs and damages in accordance with the Oil Pollution Act of 1990."

Anadarko also announced today that it will donate to charitable and civic agencies along the Gulf coast any revenue it is entitled to receive from oil recovered from the cleanup efforts.

"We hope donating these proceeds to the people of the Gulf Coast will help offset some of the hardships being experienced in so many ways by those living in the affected communities," said Hackett. "We are saddened by the loss of lives that occurred in this accident and the livelihoods that have been damaged by the spill."

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2010.

June 20th, 2010, 12:45 AM
This article is from a few weeks ago, but it contains some interesting information (I've added some internal links) ...


Gulf Tribunal (http://gulftribunal.tumblr.com/page/2)
[^ scroll down for article]
May 30, 2010

Okay, we at Gulf Tribunal (http://gulftribunal.tumblr.com/) are well aware of how much bad news there is right now. Even some of the people working on this website and on cleanup are completely giving up hope. I would just like to write that no matter how bad this gets, the TRUTH matters and JUSTICE matters.

That said, I would like to bring some of the new information to light and provide an analysis that goes beyond the BP/government disinformation. There is a lot of info out there that is pointing to some very diabolical activity in the lead-up too, and aftermath of the Deep Horizon cataclysm.

People who are comparing this to Katrina or even Chernobyl don’t know what they’re talking about, Deep Horizon is perhaps the worst ecological catastrophe in the history of the planet,- it will change life as we know it.

I’ll begin with the days and weeks leading up to explosion.

Extreme Crusextraction

The Macondo oil prospect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macondo_Prospect) is an immense deep-Earth oil and gas reserve located below the northern Gulf of Mexico. It is named after the cursed town in Gabriel Marquez’s book “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” Since it’s discovery, geologists knew it would take advanced drilling techniques to successfully access the reserve, – it would not be a conventional offshore effort. The contents of Macondo are also not particularly high quality, it is full of methane, natural gases, sulfur, and tarry oil. The current gushing wellhead is essentially an asphalt volcano. As you can see on the beach, or through what images are in the news, it is a rusty, reddish crude which gives off the stink of sulphur.

Due to the composition of the mass, and the difficult geology surrounding it in the undersea Mississippi Canyon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mississippi_Canyon), the method chosen to access the slurry of crude was (and is) highly controversial, and illegal. What they did was drill below 35,000 feet at a slight angle, and then pump-in hyper-pressurized chemicals in order to fracture open the Earth. Their method, “deep angular frac drilling,” [note: a google search (http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=“deep+angular+frac+drilling”&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8) of this term turns up 5 hits, and none are of any use; seems it refers to a type of Directional Drilling (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directional_drilling)] was one cause of the first Gulf War, as Kuwaiti and western oil corporations (like BP) attempted to drill underneath Iraq’s borders in order to rob their oil.

BP and their contractors were operating in secret when they pushed into the dangerous pressurized mass. Even in our lax regulatory culture, their plan would not have been allowed.

Oil trade journals, and whistleblowers with the Army Corps of Engineers, have suggested that BP caused a much larger disaster in the months before Deep Horizon entered the news.

Submarines with the National Undersea Laboratory and the US Navy have apparently been tracking an immense lake of oil (the size of Louisiana) that is expanding at 3,500 feet below the surface. This may have been caused by the initial “frac” drilling effort.

First Signs of a Coverup

Halliburton was the cement and well-head contractor at the Horizon site.

A few days before DeepWater Horizon blew, Halliburton acquired Boots and Coots (http://www.foxbusiness.com/story/markets/industries/energy/halliburton-buy-boots--coots/), an enormous oil spill cleanup and safety company. This all-too-convenient acquisition was apparently performed AT A LOSS for Halliburton. In the event of an already unfolding disaster, this would be a wise purchase (http://www.examiner.com/x-38929-Kansas-City-Business-Commentary-Examiner~y2010m5d3-Gulf-oil-well-may-make-for-explosive-profits-for-Halliburton) for Halliburton not merely on account of the contracts Boots and Coots would receive, but it would also aid them in a future coverup, as they would be in control of all disclosure within one of the world’s premier oil logistics and safety companies.

Some BP officers and an untold amount of other personnel were apparently on DeepWater Horizon when the disaster occurred. This is highly unusual. BP’s back-story behind this coincidence was that a celebration was underway for Deep Horizon’s safety record. Yet, officials from TransOcean (the company that was leasing the rig) claim there was a major fight on board between BP and TransOcean managers regarding their drill plan on the same day.

We can only speculate right now as to what was really going on, but it’s possible that DeepWater Horizon was digging a relief well for a gushing chasm they had previously opened in the Macondo. Another possibility is that Deep Horizon was intentionally destroyed as a distraction, – a ludicrous attempt to disguise the incident that had already occurred. The employees on board may have been allowed to die in the fire leaving no witnesses to BP’s crime.

TransOcean knew that Deep Horizon would be engaged in some very dangerous shit. They placed an enormous insurance policy (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/6992073.html) on the rig, much larger than usual.

Many of BP’s attempts to cap the well have been mocked as ridiculous, including “Top-Hat,” or a containment box, “Junk-shot” – shooting trash in it, and “Top-Kill” which is pouring clay on it. These efforts are most likely a charade to keep the public occupied and focused on the televised broken riser.

Further Disclosure

Mabus, the Secretary of the Navy, has suggested sinking a battleship on top of the leak. But it has now become obvious that short of a subterranean tactical nuclear blast, there is no known way to stem the volcano. Also, a weapons system may merely gash open the crust unleashing all the oil at once, as opposed to letting it pour out for months.

There is plenty of additional information we are investigating pending verification. We urge all readers to research the activities of Halliburton and BP in the months leading up to DeepWater Horizon’s explosion on April 20, and then sinking on April 22, which happens to be Earth Day.

Copyright © 2010 Gulf Tribunal.

June 20th, 2010, 01:00 AM
'The Rig's on Fire! I Told You This Was Gonna Happen!' (http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/06/the-rigs-on-fire-i-told-you-this-was-gonna-happen/57775/)

The Atlantic (http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/06/the-rigs-on-fire-i-told-you-this-was-gonna-happen/57775/)
June 7, 2010

A prominent Houston attorney with a long record of winning settlements from oil companies says he has new evidence suggesting that the Deepwater Horizon's top managers knew of problems with the rig before it exploded last month, causing the worst oil spill in US history (http://motherjones.com/category/primary-tags/bp). Tony Buzbee, a lawyer representing 15 rig workers and dozens of shrimpers, seafood restaurants, and dock workers, says he has obtained a three-page signed statement from a crew member on the boat that rescued the burning rig's workers. The sailor, who Buzbee refuses to name for fear of costing him his job, was on the ship's bridge when Deepwater Horizon installation manager Jimmy Harrell, a top employee of rig owner Transocean, was speaking with someone in Houston via satellite phone. Buzbee told Mother Jones that, according to this witness account, Harrell was screaming, "Are you ****ing happy? Are you ****ing happy? The rig's on fire! I told you this was gonna happen."

Whoever was on the other end of the line was apparently trying to calm Harrell down. "I am ****ing calm," he went on, according to Buzbee. "You realize the rig is burning?"

At that point, the boat's captain asked Harrell to leave the bridge. It wasn't clear whether Harrell had been talking to Transocean, BP, or someone else.

On Friday a spokesman for Transocean said he couldn't confirm or deny whether the conversation took place. He was unable to make Harrell available for an interview.

During hearings held late last month by the Coast Guard and the Minerals Management Service, Harrell denied any conflicts (http://blogs.chron.com/newswatchenergy/archives/2010/05/coast_guard_hea.html) with his BP or Transocean bosses. He said that he did not feel pressured to rush the completion of the well, even though the rig had fallen behind schedule.

Yet Buzbee's claims add weight to other statements that contradict Harrell's version of events. Testifying before the Coast Guard and MMS panel last month, Douglas Brown, the chief mechanic on the Deepwater Horizon, said that on the morning of the day that the rig exploded Harrell had a "skirmish" over drilling procedures during a meeting with BP's "company man," well site leader Robert Kaluza. "I remember the company man saying this is how it's going to be," Brown told the panel. As Harrell was leaving the meeting, according to Brown, "He pretty much grumbled, 'I guess that's what we have those pincers for,'" referring to the blowout preventer on the sea floor that is supposed to be the last resort to prevent a leak in the event of an emergency. The blowout preventer failed following the explosion on the rig, causing the massive spill. (Transocean's chief electronics technician, Mike Williams, also recalled (http://blogs.chron.com/newswatchenergy/archives/2010/06/the_drilling_ri_1.html) the argument but named a different BP "company man," BP's top official on the rig, Donald Vidrine).

In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, Transocean appeared to back the claims (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704717004575268302434395796.html?K EYWORDS=jimmy+harrell) that Harrell had feuded with BP: "The testimony certainly seems to suggest that [Harrell] disagreed with the operator's instructions, but what those were and why he disagreed are matters that will ultimately be determined during the course of investigations."

Other rig workers have also claimed that they were pressured by BP and their supervisors to cut corners. Transocean roustabout Truitt Crawford told the Coast Guard that he overheard senior management saying that BP was "taking shortcuts (http://www.tennessean.com/article/20100526/NEWS08/100526062)" by replacing drilling mud in the well with saltwater, which would have provided less weight to contain the well's surging pressure. Transocean's Williams told (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/05/16/60minutes/main6490197.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody) 60 Minutes that a supervisor had dismissed evidence that the well's blowout preventer had been damaged. And workers with Halliburton, the well's cementing contractor, had complained that BP's use of cement "was against our best practices (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/06/us/06rig.html?hp)" and told the oil company that it would likely have "a SEVERE gas flow problem (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704026204575266560930780190.html)" unless the well's casings were centered more carefully.

Buzbee told Mother Jones that the sailor's version of Harrell's phone conversation following the explosion was corroborated by a statement from a second crew member who says he also overheard the call. Both statements were taken in-person by Buzbee's investigator and safety consultant, who has interviewed some 60 people involved in the disaster, and signed by the witnesses, he said. Buzbee declined to make the full statements available to Mother Jones because, he said, "it is work product, meaning that it is something that I do not have to produce or disclose in litigation but that can be used at the right time in the litigation." He added that he intends to take a deposition from the crew members at a later time.

Buzbee's case against the operators of the Deepwater Horizon is hardly his first foray into suing major oil companies. After a BP refinery in Texas City exploded in 2005, killing 15 workers and injuring dozens more, he won $100 million in punitive damages from the company. In the wake of the 2002 shipwreck of the Prestige oil tanker, which devastated the coast of Galicia, he won a $70 million settlement from Spain's government on behalf of the country's Basque region.* And he's also nabbed $15 million from Transocean and $6.2 million from Halliburton for injured offshore oil workers.

Yet Buzbee is convinced that the Gulf oil spill lawsuit will be his biggest ever. "It's the grandaddy of all cases," he said. "This is going to define BP and whether BP survives. This is going to be the biggest case in the history of the United States, no doubt about it."

*Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Buzbee won a $70 million settlement from the American Bureau of Shipping for its role in the Prestige oil spill off the coast of Spain. The settlement came from Spain's government.

This piece was produced by Mother Jones (http://motherjones.com/) as part of the Climate Desk (http://theclimatedesk.org/) collaboration.


June 20th, 2010, 02:30 AM
Are these people complete morons? --


June 20th, 2010, 09:51 AM
Their method, “deep angular frac drilling,” [note: a google search of this term turns up 5 hits, and none are of any use;You have to be careful how you use Google.

A search of deep angular fracture drilling produced 2,390,000 hits.

June 20th, 2010, 11:33 AM
But a google search (http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=%22deep+angular+fracture+drilling%22&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8) of the complete & full wording of the phrase "deep angular fracture drilling" results in zero actual hits (although the number you show is the result for any combo of those words); here's what google tells me:

No results found for "deep angular fracture drilling".

I point this out just to raise the issue of the author's care and competence regarding the information contained in the article. Especially since the author put that term in quotes, as if it is a well known phrase and one used with some regularity when discussing off-shore deep-water drilling. Seems the author made up the term.

June 20th, 2010, 12:03 PM
Here is one of the articles that showed up on top in that google search for deep water fracture drilling; it was published by The Economist on March 4, 2010, about six weeks before the explosion and subsequent disaster in the Gulf. This analogy from a top oil guy describing the technology is perhaps prescient ...

To give an idea of the difficulty of deepwater drilling, Mr Walker uses an analogy.

“Imagine a large offshore oil rig as a matchbox” ...

Plumbing the depths

Advances in Deep Sea Oil Drilling

THE ECONOMIST (via Seth's Posterous (http://sethkaufman.posterous.com/economist-advances-in-deep-sea-oil-drilling))
Mar 4th 2010

Inside story: A recent wave of advances is enabling oil companies to detect and recover offshore oil in ever more difficult places

IN OCTOBER 1947 a group of engineers from Kerr-McGee, an American oil company, drilled the world’s first offshore oil well that was completely out of sight of land. Located 17km (10.5 miles) off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico, the project involved a drilling deck no bigger than a tennis court. This platform was complemented by a number of refurbished navy barges left over from the second world war, which served as both storage facilities and sleeping quarters for the crew. A single derrick enabled drilling into the seabed, 4.6 metres (15 feet) below. Kerr-McGee’s offshore drilling gear is still used in the Gulf of Mexico. The reused barges, however, are long gone. Instead, far more elaborate equipment is now being used, and in much deeper water.

In 2005 the company installed its Constitution platform 300km south-west of New Orleans. Moored to the ocean floor 1,500 metres below the surface, the $600m structure comprises a 13,600-tonne cylindrical floating “spar” supporting a 9,800-tonne upper section or “topside”. Constitution, which is now owned and operated by Anadarko Petroleum, an independent oil producer that acquired Kerr-McGee in 2006, has plenty of company. In 2007 BP finished work on Atlantis, a 58,700-tonne semisubmersible platform, which is tethered to the seabed over 2,150 metres below. Upon completion, the platform was the deepest-moored oil-and-gas production facility in the world.

But the record did not last long. In 2008 Shell’s 22,000-tonne Perdido spar (pictured below) was towed from its construction site in Finland to its new home 320km off the Texas coast. Standing nearly as tall as the Eiffel Tower, the Perdido rig is chained to the seabed 2,400 metres below, and is connected to nearby subsea wells in even deeper water, at a depth of 2,900 metres. The same year, two more huge semisubmersibles—Chevron’s 36,300-tonne Blind Faith and BP’s colossal 130,000-tonne Thunder Horse—also started operations.


These hulks owe their existence to a combination of geopolitical and technical developments. Growing resource nationalism in countries that hold most of the world’s onshore oil reserves is forcing private oil companies to go farther afield. Inconveniently, that means looking for oil in deep water, miles offshore.

This poses daunting physical challenges. Drill strings, the interlocking sections of pipe that are used in offshore drilling, are heavy: the pipe used by Transocean, an offshore-drilling company, weighs over 30kg per metre, for example. Deeper water means a longer and heavier drill string, which in turn requires a bigger platform to support such a large “hook load”. Ever-larger platforms and the increasing use of drill ships—giant vessels that are even heavier than moored platforms—have given companies the heft required to work at greater depths.

With miles of water overhead, the pressure on the seafloor presents a further challenge both to equipment designers and production engineers trying to get oil back to the surface. Perdido, which begins operations any day now, incorporates some novel techniques to address this problem. Its “subsea boosting system” uses electric pumps on the seafloor to help the oil on its one-and-a-half-mile journey to the surface. And combining the streams from multiple subsea wells and separating oil from gas on the seafloor means fewer risers, or pipes to the surface, are needed.

Despite the adverse working conditions, there have been several big deepwater discoveries in recent years. In 2007 Petrobras, a Brazilian oil giant, stunned the industry with the announcement that it had found as much as 8 billion barrels of oil at its Tupi field, 240km off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. The discovery, beneath 2,000 metres of water, 3,000 metres of sand and rocks and a 2,000-metre layer of salt, was touted at the time as potentially the largest offshore find ever made. Subsequent “ultra deepwater” discoveries—those in water deeper than 1,500 metres—have included finds off the coasts of Angola, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, and a spate of finds in the Gulf of Mexico, where Anadarko made five discoveries in 2009 alone.

A seismic shift

Such discoveries were literally unfathomable just a few years ago. Until the mid-1990s, says Robin Walker of WesternGeco, an oil-services company, there was a general view that successful offshore oil-drilling operations were limited to a water depth of around 600 metres. But this had less to do with the challenge of accessing the oil than with finding it in the first place. Giant platforms like Thunder Horse and Perdido provide the necessary muscle, but advances in computing at the exploration stage have been just as important when it comes to tapping deepwater oil. In this most physically demanding of industries, software, as much as hardware, is changing the game.

To give an idea of the difficulty of deepwater drilling, Mr Walker uses an analogy. “Imagine a large offshore oil rig as a matchbox,” he says. Next, imagine the matchbox on top of a two-storey building, with the upper floor filled with water and the lower floor filled with rock, sand and, in some cases, salt. Striking an oil reservoir with a drill pipe is then like hitting a coin at the base of the building with a strand of human hair. The penalties for getting it wrong are enormous. An industry rule of thumb puts the cost of drilling a deepwater “dry hole”—a well that does not strike oil—at around $100m; BP says it can be as high as $200m.

With the stakes so high and the margin for error so small, “you need to know before you drill,” says Stuart Strife, Anadarko’s head of exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. The knowledge in question takes the form of precise data on the composition and structure of the geological formations beneath the seabed, which provide insight into the areas likely to hold oil deposits. For decades this has been collected in the form of seismic surveys, a technique originally developed on land and then adapted for offshore exploration.

Typical marine seismic surveys, which date back to the 1980s, are done using a boat which tows eight to ten parallel streamers, each several kilometres long, behind it. The boat is also equipped with a seismic source that creates sonar signals, or “shot points”, using blasts of compressed air. These signals are detected by uniformly spaced sonar receivers, called hydrophones, incorporated into the streamers. By analysing the way the sonar signals bounce off the various geological layers beneath the seafloor—each of which reflects the signals in a different way—seismologists can identify patterns in the subsurface that are likely to indicate the presence of oil-bearing rocks.

Although the data are collected in two dimensions, the spacing of the streamers (about 25 metres apart) enables oil companies to process the data using computer programs that generate a rough three-dimensional model of the subsurface, says David Rainey, BP’s head of exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. The models created from such survey data were accurate enough to enable oil companies to identify formations such as anticlines or faults—the underground structures that typically contain oil. Access to such relatively easy oil was good while it lasted.


But it quickly tailed off. This is partially because oil companies tend to maximise production rates to minimise the high cost of maintaining offshore operations, and partially because around two-thirds of the seabed in the Gulf of Mexico is covered by shallow salt canopies. Having formed a crust on the seabed during periods of seawater evaporation, the salt has since been covered by millennia of silt deposits from rivers emptying into sea, which over time turned to rock and formed the base of the seafloor. Under pressure, the salt has pushed into the rock layer, forming a convoluted subsurface of rock and salt.

The patterns formed by the commingled salt and rock create a huge headache for the companies trying to access the oil below them, because the waves emitted from seismic sources travel more quickly in salt than in rock. With a combination of reflected and refracted waves returning to the hydrophones, it is difficult to put together a clear picture of the subsurface from a traditional sonar survey.

Pass the salt, please

Initial efforts to improve the clarity of subsalt mapping focused on trying to improve the data processing. But although better algorithms enabled clearer mapping of smooth and flat (or “well behaved”) formations, they were of limited use for more complex structures. “About five years ago we reached a point of diminishing returns,” says Mr Rainey.

So the oil companies and their partners went back to the drawing board. Instead of collecting data in two dimensions using streamers and then processing the data to produce a 3-D image, they decided to move to three-dimensional acquisition. This approach, called a “wide-azimuth” survey, involves using hydrophones and multiple seismic sources on three or four vessels moving in parallel. The subsurface structures can then be probed from several different angles at the same time. Accuracy can also be improved by passing over the same region several times from different angles (a “multi-azimuth” survey). Additional techniques include “coil shooting”, which involves performing a wide-azimuth survey on a spiralling trajectory, and so-called “4-D” surveys, in which repeated wide-azimuth surveys are used to gauge the effects of production on a subsurface structure over time.

To gather a consistent picture of the subsurface and to ensure “repeatability” during 3-D and 4-D surveys, the towed streamers need to be kept in a fixed position relative to the source vessels and to each other. So the oil-services companies devised techniques (such as the Q-Fin system from WesternGeco and the Nautilus system from CGGVeritas) to measure and adjust the position of the streamers as they travel through the water.

But the mechanics of the new acquisition techniques are a doddle compared with the challenge of making sense of the vast amount of data produced. A typical 3-D survey uses about 80km of streamer cable containing a total of around 25,000 hydrophones. Shot points occur every 10-15 seconds, and after each one the hydrophones record a 24-bit signal every two milliseconds. This results in around 500 megabytes of data per shot point. With 50 seismic vessels working around the clock industry-wide, this adds up to a total of around 12 petabytes of new data every year, according to Mr Walker.

The resulting data must then be processed to produce a picture of the subsurface. The amount of computing power used for such calculations is staggering. BP’s computer centre in the Gulf of Mexico operates at 270 teraflops (270 trillion calculations per second), nearly 3,000 times faster than a decade ago.

When seismic surveys show that there is a good chance of finding oil, companies set about the delicate process of drilling an exploratory well. During drilling, a fluid called “mud” is pumped through the drill string to remove the borehole cuttings, to cool the drill bit and maintain pressure at the base of the well. As the drill progresses through the rock and sand below the seabed, the pressure of the mud in the drill string must be kept within a limited range. If the pressure is too low, the forces from underground fluids and gases pushing in on the well wall (“pore pressure”) will cause it to collapse; if it is too high, the mud can aggravate and expand existing fractures in the surrounding rock, leading to a loss of circulation as the mud escapes into the newly created fissures.

Drill, baby, drill

Maintaining the mud within a “pressure window”, therefore, is critical. To estimate the correct pressure, oil companies traditionally relied on rock samples and stress data taken from the well bore after initial drilling. They then produced a model to estimate pore pressure and fracture pressure, and calculated the mud pressure accordingly. But this was an imperfect science, and subsalt formations only made things harder. Large pressure differentials between the salt and rock layers make it difficult to keep the drill within the pressure window when passing from one to the other. Even with vast amounts of seismic data, identifying the boundaries between salt and rock from the surface, many miles above, is nearly impossible.

A new wave of tools and communication systems enabling the collection and transmission of “down-hole” data in real time is beginning to change this. Rather than approaching a well with a fixed drilling plan, companies can now use “measurement while drilling” (MWD) tools to determine the pressure, temperature, vibration and electrical resistivity (useful for inferring rock properties) of the well as they drill. Typically, MWD data are transmitted via “mud pulses”—pressure waves sent through the mud that relay information from the down-hole sensors to the surface. These pulses allow information to be sent to the surface at just a few bits per second, but this is enough to transmit useful data about what is going on. MWD is particularly valuable in directional drilling, because it provides feedback about the material being drilled through and the angle and position of the drill bit, enabling more accurate steering.

A 3-D seismic rendering of the Thunder Horse field in the Gulf of Mexico:


“MWD really changes the workflow of the drilling process,” says Bráulio Xavier Bastos of Petrobras. Armed with a continuous flow of well data, his offshore engineers are able to run simulations on rock behaviour and pore pressure during drilling, and then adjust parameters such as drill speed accordingly. Lisa Grant, a drilling engineer at Shell, says MWD enables the drilling of wells today that were “not even contemplated” five years ago.

With an in-well communications channel established, oil companies are devising new ways to analyse the subsurface, including the use of “borehole seismic” tools. By attaching seismic sources and receivers to the drilling module, such systems provide a more accurate picture of the underground geological environment than can be obtained from the surface alone.

Sophisticated MWD tools require faster information transfer. One potential solution is Intellipipe, a telemetry system that relies on cables embedded in the pipe walls of the drill string, with inductive coupling to transmit data between pipe segments. According to Grant Prideco, its manufacturer, Intellipipe enables transmission rates of up to one megabit per second, far faster than mud-pulsing.

As new techniques emerge, oil is being found in ever harder-to-reach places. The rate of large offshore discoveries has already begun to tail off, says Mike Rodgers, a partner at PFC Energy, an energy consultancy. He thinks the principal value of deepwater mapping and measurement technologies will lie in finding smaller, marginal oilfields that can then be “tied back” to existing platforms. But the oil industry makes a habit of springing surprises, as the unexpectedly large offshore finds in the Gulf of Mexico and off the Brazilian coast demonstrate. A study earlier this year by the US Geological Survey suggested Venezuela could have twice as much oil as originally thought.

However things develop, history suggests that technology will be a decisive factor in the determining the winners and the losers in the oil industry, given the enormous value of being able to reduce uncertainty. Just as Kerr-McGee was establishing its pioneering offshore platform in the 1940s, four other American firms joined forces to form Aramco, now the state oil company of Saudi Arabia and owner of the world’s biggest reserves. Exploration rights in the kingdom had previously been declined by Anglo-Persian, BP’s predecessor, whose geologists’ reports saw “little room for optimism” for oil discovery there. An incentive to “know before you drill” if ever there was one.

Copyright © The Economist Newspaper Limited 2010

June 20th, 2010, 12:07 PM
In 2008 Shell’s 22,000-tonne Perdido spar was towed from its construction site in Finland to its new home 320km off the Texas coast.

Translation from the Spanish: Perdido > LOST

June 20th, 2010, 01:05 PM
But a google search (http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=%22deep+angular+fracture+drilling%22&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8) of the complete & full wording of the phrase "deep angular fracture drilling" results in zero actual hits (although the number you show is the result for any combo of those words); here's what google tells me:

No results found for "deep angular fracture drilling".I point this out just to raise the issue of the author's care and competence regarding the information contained in the article.My point is that 5 hits for the phrase in quotes is just as useless as millions of hits without the quotes. The answer is somewhere in between.

I said you had to be careful. The Google algorithm generally arranges results by relevancy of an entire phrase. If you are suggesting that only five Google hits indicates a suppression of information, that's wild speculation. You would have to research many of those hits to get a true picture.

Especially since the author put that term in quotes, as if it is a well known phrase and one used with some regularity when discussing off-shore deep-water drilling. Seems the author made up the term.All of this may be true, but the "author" is Gulf Tribunal, and the top of their website states:

For the criminal prosecution of British Petroleum executives, TransOcean Corporation, and all quislings responsible for the DeepWater Horizon cataclysm. JUSTICE NOW! Doesn't sound like a source of purely objective information.

June 20th, 2010, 02:00 PM
Maybe in the interest of objectivity ... we shouldn't be so hard on these guys?

Let them go sail in peace.

June 20th, 2010, 02:37 PM
Not clear on which "guys" you're referring to. Tony and crew?

June 20th, 2010, 02:40 PM
Maybe in the interest of objectivity ... we shouldn't be so hard on these guys?

A fair sentiment. And besides, I think another “good question” to ask here has to do with the Blow-out-protector. The BOP is was the ultimate fail safe mech on that rig – basically the MAIN shut-off valve that ‘would have’ stopped the oil flow IMMEDIATELY. The BOP failed to operate properly - why.

WHY did the BOP fail …….Who was ‘directly’ responsible for operating the rig (& therefore the rigs failsafe mechinisms) ………. Who installed the BOP.

So, to me - and, in the interest of objectivity – the question is not so much what caused the explosion, but the more simple and direct question; who was responsible for putting in and mainting the the ‘standard’ fail safe mechanism which was the Blow Out Proctector.

That, was not be BP: but one of the many sub-contractors. The liability should be fairly attributed to "all parties" involved: not just BP.

June 20th, 2010, 02:50 PM
Cameron (http://www.c-a-m.com/content/products/product_detail.cfm?pid=2912) built the BOP; those are now manufactured in China (do we MAKE anything big like this in the US anymore?).

But the BOP is only made to work at the well head where the piping meets the sea floor. There are many indications that the actual rupture is sub-surface and that the sea floor around the pipe has fractured (and that sub-surface piping has ruptured as well), allowing the oil to come up in numerous places in the immediate area, beyond the place where single well pipe pierces the seabed.

Reading through various articles and trying to dig up info it seems fairly apparent that BP overrode decisions by many sub-contractors (or so those SC's now claim). If that is the actual case and the BP decisions led to the disaster then BP must assume the responsibility & blame. But clearly there is some blame to be shared, as the disaster is so comprehensive. We'll be sorting through that for years, and each guilty party will do their best to blame the other guy and hide the evidence that implicates the home team.

But we should be equally hard on them all. Going easy serves what purpose in such a situation?

They all had it very easy for years. Look where that got us.

June 20th, 2010, 03:14 PM
There are many indications that the actual rupture is sub-surface and that the sea floor around the pipe has fractured (and that sub-surface piping has ruptured as well), allowing the oil to come up in numerous places in the immediate area, beyond the place where single well pipe pierces the seabed.

That may very well be true, but that bit is only speculation at this point. What is KNOWN - as a matter of irrefutable fact - is that the BOP "malfunctioned". So, the question stands - who is responsible for the FACT that the BOP failed to operate properly. Not expecting an answer here, but this is the sort of question that need be raised here more often: the general liability rests with BP , but some big questions remain with the BOP. (LOL)

June 20th, 2010, 03:34 PM
Maybe in the interest of objectivity ... we shouldn't be so hard on these guys?

Let them go sail in peace.A website that's looking for [legal?] justice shouldn't be yelling and screaming. That's for the rest of us. They should be gathering factual information.

Like it or not, all this will ultimately be decided in courts.

June 20th, 2010, 03:37 PM
Sorry, but I don't understand the rush to defend BP. This is not a court of law. We are not passing legal judgment. BP will have more than adequate legal advice and protection from start to end here. Evidence is mounting that the company cut corners and took outrageous risks leading up to this massive disaster. They've also lied and distorted information, probably in the vain hope that the oil wouldn't reach shore, or do only minimal damage.


June 20th, 2010, 03:51 PM
I'm with you 100% on that ^

... we shouldn't be so hard on these guys?

Let them go sail in peace.

Perhaps you're right. A few days of breathing fresh air on the open sea (rather than sucking in that noxious brew down in the Gulf) might refresh Mr. Hayward's memory, faulty as it was this last week while under oath.

Congress and others might want to bring him back in for another round. No doubt he could clear up a lot of what people are curious about.

June 20th, 2010, 03:52 PM
Sorry, but I don't understand the rush to defend BP.Who's defending BP?

I questioned one item by Lofter.

Ablarc, as he sometimes is inclined to do, expanded this into "letting these guys off the hook."

June 20th, 2010, 03:55 PM
I wasn't responding to you, Zippy. My connection timed out when I went to post that message, and between the time I was logged off & on again, you'd posted your own response. Cheers.

June 20th, 2010, 04:04 PM

June 20th, 2010, 04:04 PM
The Google algorithm generally arranges results by relevancy of an entire phrase. If you are suggesting that only five Google hits indicates a suppression of information, that's wild speculation. You would have to research many of those hits to get a true picture.

Never said or meant to imply it was about suppression. My point was that the author used a quoted phrase to describe a technical application that seems to exist only in the author's head. Such writing should lead all readers of the article to both question the motives and to dig deeper.

All of this may be true, but the "author" is Gulf Tribunal ...

Doesn't sound like a source of purely objective information.

That was why I was googling about to see what additional info was out there to back up the article (which had no internal links).

A website that's looking for [legal?] justice shouldn't be yelling and screaming. That's for the rest of us.

Some folks confuse righting a wrong with getting folks riled up. There have been times when I've been guilty of that.

June 20th, 2010, 04:14 PM
It's hard/impossible not to get angry. I don't blame the website guys for letting their hearts lead for a while, but what they don't realize is that the over-the-top rhetoric compromises their truth-telling goals. One needn't abandon a political stance in order to report with veracity. For this reason I prefer the Atlantic/Mother Jones* report to the Gulf Tribunal.

* How long has MJ belonged to the Atlantic? I missed that one.

June 20th, 2010, 04:39 PM
Mother Jones (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Jones_(magazine)) remains an independent publication:

MOTHER JONES (http://motherjones.com/)

What Is Mother Jones? (http://motherjones.com/about/what-mother-jones)

Mother Jones is a nonprofit news organization that specializes in investigative, political, and social justice reporting. We currently have two main "platforms": an award-winning bimonthly national magazine (circulation 240,000), and a website featuring new, original reporting 24-7.

The Atlantic / MoJo piece I posted ended with this declaration:

This piece was produced by Mother Jones (http://motherjones.com/) as part of the Climate Desk (http://theclimatedesk.org/) collaboration.

The Climate Desk (http://theclimatedesk.org/about):

Q: What is the Climate Desk?

A: The Climate Desk is a journalistic collaboration dedicated to exploring the impact—human, environmental, economic, political—of a changing climate. The partners are The Atlantic, Center for Investigative Reporting, Grist, Mother Jones, Slate, Wired, and PBS's new public-affairs show Need To Know.

June 20th, 2010, 04:56 PM
Drat! I just gotta dust off those emoticons; only Zip caught that I was being ironic.

Won't happen again.

Btw, Zippy if you've ever done jury duty, you know that getting things right in a courtroom is only a bit more likely than tossing a coin (or jumping to a conclusion) to come to a decision. Lawyers obfuscate the plainest truth, and you can expect them to do it again. That's what lawyers do.

Not much "objective" justice to be had.

June 20th, 2010, 05:02 PM
Hands Across the Sand

The Mudflats (http://www.themudflats.net/2010/06/18/open-thread-hands-across-the-sand/)
June 18, 2010

In Florida on Saturday, February 13, 2010, only weeks before the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico began, a statewide gathering against offshore oil drilling occurred in Florida. Thousands of Floridians representing 60 towns and cities and over 90 beaches joined hands to protest the efforts by the Florida Legislature and the US Congress to lift the ban on oil drilling off the shores of Florida. Florida’s Hands Across The Sand event was the largest gathering in the history of Florida united against oil drilling. Thousands joined hands from Jacksonville to Miami Beach and Key West to Pensacola Beach, each against oil drilling in Florida’s waters.

Hands Across the Sand (http://www.handsacrossthesand.com/) has now gone national, and gatherings will be happening across the country on June 26th at 11am local time. The Alaska gatherings are below. To find gatherings in other states and to learn more, click HERE (http://www.handsacrossthesand.com/). Mudflatters attending any of these events are welcome to send pictures and/or a paragraph describing the event.

>> Locations for NEW YORK STATE Events (http://handsacrossthesand.org/organize.php?state=New%20York)

One of the gathering points in NYC is at the High Line, Gansevoort Street Entrance.

Some other NYS locations shown on the HATS NYS Map (http://handsacrossthesand.org/organize.php?state=New%20York) are at Tottenville, Nyack, Rockaway Beach, Brighton Beach, Robert Moses State Park, Fire Island Pines, Southold, South Hampton, East Hampton and Montauk; specifics on the exact locations can be found on the Map Page (http://handsacrossthesand.org/organize.php?state=New%20York).


What is Hands Across The Sand? (http://www.handsacrossthesand.com/)

Hands Across the Sand is a movement made of people of all walks of life and crosses political affiliations. This movement is not about politics; it is about protection of our coastal economies, oceans, marine wildlife, and fishing industry. Let us share our knowledge, energies and passion for protecting all of the above from the devastating effects of oil drilling.

A Message To The World

Hands Across the Sand is now international (http://handsacrossthesand.com/international.php). Any person in any country may plan events on this website. This is a peaceful gathering of the people of the world. Planning an event is as simple as this:

Go to your beach on June 26 at 11 AM in your time zone.
Form lines in the sand and at 12:00, join hands.
The image is powerful, the message is simple. NO to Offshore Oil Drilling, YES to Clean Energy.


Hands Across The Sand: A Gathering for the Protection of Florida's Beaches (February 2010)


June 20th, 2010, 07:14 PM
... another “good question” to ask here has to do with the Blow-out-protector. The BOP is was the ultimate fail safe mech on that rig ...

From the NY Times (http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/17/live-blogging-bps-tony-hayward-in-congress/?ref=us):

"Live Blogging BP’s Tony Hayward in Congress"

"I believe the most important one is to take the failsafe mechanism that is the blowout preventer and design it so that it is genuinely failsafe," says Hayward, who says it's "clear" that the current design basis of blowout preventers in deepwater drilling is "not as failsafe as we'd believed it do be".

4:43 PM Focus on the Blow-out Preventer (http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/17/live-blogging-bps-tony-hayward-in-congress/?ref=us#focus-on-the-blow-out-preventer)

As Andrew Clark points out (http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/andrew-clark-on-america/2010/jun/17/bp-tony-hayward-congress-live-blog) on The Guardian’s Web site, “BP has repeatedly stressed the crucial role of the failed blow-out preventer in today’s hearing. This piece of kit, made by the US firm Cameron, seems to be at the center of any effort by BP to get other firms to shoulder a portion of the blame for the Gulf disaster.”

Soon after that, when Mr. Barton asked Mr. Hayward to suggest what might be learned for the future, he replied:

“I believe the most important one is to take the fail safe mechanism that is the blow-out preventer and design it so that it is genuinely fail safe.”

Mr. Stupak then pointed out to Mr. Hayward that just two weeks ago, in an op-ed he wrote for the Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703561604575282643035177362.html), he called the blow-out preventer, “fail safe.”

We in the industry have long had great confidence in the blow-out preventer as the ultimate failsafe piece of safety equipment. Yet on this occasion it failed, with disastrous consequences.

Since the April 20 explosions and fire, BP is carefully evaluating the subsea blow-out preventers used in all our drilling operations world-wide, including the testing and maintenance procedures of our drilling contractors using the devices. We will participate in industry-wide efforts to improve the safety and reliability of subsea blow-out preventers and deep water drilling practices.

Mr. Stupak said that he doesn’t understand why Mr. Hayward continues to insist that the blow-out preventer is “the ultimate fail safe system.”

Mr. Stupak and Mr. Hayward continue to speak past each other for several minutes, with Mr. Stupak insisting that the system cannot be “fail safe” if it can fail. Mr. Hayward, using the technical sense of the term, continues to insist that it is “the fail safe mechanism,” although it can fail.

June 20th, 2010, 07:17 PM
JOE BARTON WOULD LIKE TO APOLOGIZE TO ... (http://joebartonwouldliketoapologize.com/)

June 20th, 2010, 08:25 PM
They simply cut TOO MANY corners.

If they only cut a few, they would have logged a loss in production and equipment (possibly still personnel) but not a colossal equipment, production and liability expense. They were playing the game too much and let it all ride on 12.

If they had had a few of the fail-safes working, or implemented a more redundant design that would not have compromised the field with one event, we would not be talking about it now.

Now, aside from the obvious "this is horrible what they did to the people of the Gulf" etc etc, you have to look at this as a major BUSINESS blunder as well. You just do not DO things like this. Risk of a bust pipe on land or other incidents could mean a few mil in cleanup, repair, production and restitution, but this is just plain stupid.

You do NOT risk your assets like this in order to save a few dollars. BP should just apologise, admit to the public AND shareholders the blunder, then find those responsible and start chopping.

Those that have ties and "favors" standing should still be chopped, bt maybe a bit less publicly.

They are still a MAJOR producer, and this artifical depression of their stock could ruin them unless they get a bit more serious about what happened and stop sticking old white men up to Table Dance for the public.

June 20th, 2010, 09:39 PM
I think it was on the Thom Hartmann show that I heard Bernie Sanders saying BP only installed 6 of the 21 cement spacers that Halliburton had recommended for reducing the risk of a severe explosion. The other 15 were never installed!! plus, a memo apparently mentions they wanted to save 120,000 bucks by neglecting to install them. Now look at the catastrophe we're dealing with. UNBELIEVABLE! Heads should roll.

June 20th, 2010, 10:56 PM
It's going to be very interesting to see which major oil producer gets the big Department of Defense (http://onthehillblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/watchdog-group-urges-defense-department.html) / US Gov't contracts next time BP's current DOD and other contracts (http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-06-14/bp-may-lose-u-s-oil-leases-contracts-after-spill-update3-.html) (worth a few multi-bazillion $$) come up.

June 20th, 2010, 11:22 PM
From the NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/21/us/21blowout.html?hp):

Failure of Rig’s Last Line of Defense Tied to Myriad Factors

VIDEO of the BOP and the blind shear ram (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/21/us/21blowout.html?hp) showing how it is supposed to work

It was the last line of defense, the final barrier between the rushing volcanic fury of oil and gas and one of the worst environmental disasters in United States history.

Its very name — the blind shear ram — suggested its blunt purpose. When all else failed, if the crew of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig lost control of a well, if a dreaded blowout came, the blind shear ram’s two tough blades were poised to slice through the drill pipe, seal the well and save the day. Everything else could go wrong, just so long as “the pinchers” went right. All it took was one mighty stroke.

On the night of April 20, minutes after an enormous blowout ripped through the Deepwater Horizon, the rig’s desperate crew pinned all hope on this last line of defense.

But the line did not hold ...

June 20th, 2010, 11:37 PM
More on the "Fail Safe" BOP, from that ^ NY TIMES article (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/21/us/21blowout.html?pagewanted=2&hp):

Vulnerable Devices

Last year, Transocean commissioned a “strictly confidential” study of the reliability of blowout preventers used by deepwater rigs.

Using the world’s most authoritative database of oil rig accidents, a Norwegian company, Det Norske Veritas, focused on some 15,000 wells drilled off North America and in the North Sea from 1980 to 2006.

It found 11 cases where crews on deepwater rigs had lost control of their wells and then activated blowout preventers to prevent a spill. In only six of those cases were the wells brought under control, leading the researchers to conclude that in actual practice, blowout preventers used by deepwater rigs had a “failure” rate of 45 percent.

For all their confident pronouncements about blowout preventers (the “ultimate failsafe device,” some called it), oil industry executives had long known they could be vulnerable and temperamental ...

June 21st, 2010, 11:14 AM
JOE BARTON WOULD LIKE TO APOLOGIZE TO ... (http://joebartonwouldliketoapologize.com/)

One Joe to another ...


June 21st, 2010, 11:27 AM
... There are many indications that the actual rupture is sub-surface and that the sea floor around the pipe has fractured (and that sub-surface piping has ruptured as well), allowing the oil to come up in numerous places in the immediate area, beyond the place where single well pipe pierces the seabed.

Worst case scenario unfolding in Gulf:
Oil leaking from seabed, methane building up

Pam's House Blend (http://www.pamshouseblend.com/diary/16441/worst-case-scenario-unfolding-in-gulf-oil-leaking-from-seabed-methane-building-up)
by: TechBear
Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 12:02:00 PM EDT

( - promoted by Pam Spaulding)

This video is from the Viking Poseidon, one of the remotes monitoring the area around the leaking oil well in the Gulf. According to the GPS information on the screen, the remote is about 70 feet away from the well-head.


Yes, folks: that is oil oozing -- and then gushing -- out of the sea floor itself. There has been speculation that the rapid outflow of oil from the underground reservoir is setting things up for a sinkhole. If that happens, it is almost certain that tens of millions of gallons of petroleum and tons of natural gas will be released all at once.

With this new evidence, the estimated amount of the spill has been upped to as much as 70,000 barrels a day. That is almost 3 million gallons every 24 hours.

There is, as yet, nothing to prove that the seeping oil is related to the drilling or the explosion. It is very likely that there is a causal relationship, however. At these depths (over a mile down, remember) sediment and rock behave differently than they do closer to the surface: rocks that are normally brittle are held together by the immense pressure. Disturbing that rock -- drilling, vibrations caused by drilling, an explosive release of gas, the sudden loss of pressure beneath the rock as oil and gas are removed -- can weaken its integrity and cause massive cracks. This is a well know scientific fact, one of the many that British Petroleum ignored in their greedy quest for profits.

In addition to oil coming out of the seabed, observers have noticed a rapid increase of already high amounts of methane (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methane) (aka natural gas) in the outflow. From the Associated Press via Yahoo (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100618/ap_on_bi_ge/us_gulf_oil_spill):

It is an overlooked danger in the oil spill crisis: The crude gushing from the well contains vast amounts of natural gas that could pose a serious threat to the Gulf of Mexico's fragile ecosystem.

The oil emanating from the seafloor contains about 40 percent methane, compared with about 5 percent found in typical oil deposits, said John Kessler, a Texas A&M University oceanographer who is studying the impact of methane from the spill.

That means huge quantities of methane have entered the Gulf, scientists say, potentially suffocating marine life and creating "dead zones" where oxygen is so depleted that nothing lives.

"This is the most vigorous methane eruption in modern human history," Kessler said. (Emphasis added)

Methane is extremely flammable in the presence of oxygen; it is believed that a sudden outgassing of methane is what caused the Deepwater Horizon rig to explode. As microbes "eat" methane for energy, they remove oxygen from the water, meaning that large quantities of dissolved methane usually results in vast anoxic regions where most life cannot exist. In other words, the outgassing is expanding "dead zones" and creating new ones. And, methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas: when the gas begins to seep into the atmosphere, we will see a rapid increase in global warming and resultant climate change.

Even if the well were capped today and its outflow brought to zero, and even if the integrity of the rock is not further weakened and there is no sinkhole, oil and methane will continue to seep out through the sea bed for a very long time. This is bad, people, very bad. And there is nothing we can do at this point to stop it.

It is starting to look more and more like my use of "ecological armageddon" is not hyperbole after all.

June 22nd, 2010, 11:24 AM
@ who is to blame:

I may be oversimplifying what is undoubtedly a very complex structure of business partnerships, but to me as owner of the lease BP's role is akin to that of a general contractor. They ran the well with the assistance of a group of 'sub-contractors. To that end they bear the ultimate responsiblity for the outcome.

In my view (and please do correct me if I am wrong) this arrangment is similar to a company (can them "A") outsourcing through a BPA arrangment, or sub-contracting key operational functions to other speciality companies. Yes, Company "A" can sub-contract. But they cannot abdicate thier responsibility for the end-to-end result. That is on them.

June 22nd, 2010, 12:07 PM
@ who is to blame:I posted some legal issues here (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23744&p=328043&viewfull=1#post328043). [See Part 2]

June 22nd, 2010, 01:03 PM
Even so, if the 'sub-contractor' was responsible for what failed then they must take on some responsibility as well. They don't get off free.

June 22nd, 2010, 01:18 PM
And we all know how much responsibility the Advertising Firm representing them must bear.... :confused:

June 22nd, 2010, 02:31 PM
Judge overturns 6 month exploration moratorium. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_gulf_oil_spill

June 22nd, 2010, 04:00 PM
Even so, if the 'sub-contractor' was responsible for what failed then they must take on some responsibility as well. They don't get off free.

If I engage a General Contractor to build a house, and that GC contracts with a sub-contractor for plumbing, and the plumbing blows up within the warranty period, my recourse is to th GC not the sub-contractor. Based upon their agreement, the GC may in turn have recourse to the plumbing sub-contractor, but that is immateral to me. I have no businsess relationship with the plumber. My relationship is with the GC.

Again this may be an oversimplification (certainly appears so based on Ziggy's post) but legalities aside, this is how I see it.

June 23rd, 2010, 11:36 AM
Judge who nixed drill ban
reported oil investments

By CURT ANDERSON and MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press Writers

NEW ORLEANS – The Louisiana judge who struck down the Obama administration's six-month ban on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico has reported extensive investments in the oil and gas industry, according to financial disclosure reports. He's also a new member of a secret national security court.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, a 1983 appointee of President Ronald Reagan, reported owning less than $15,000 in stock in 2008 in Transocean Ltd., the company that owned the sunken Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

Feldman overturned the ban Tuesday, saying the government simply assumed that because one rig exploded, the others pose an imminent danger, too.

The White House promised an immediate appeal. The Interior Department had imposed the moratorium last month in the wake of the BP disaster, halting approval of any new permits for deepwater projects and suspending drilling on 33 exploratory wells.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement late Tuesday that within the next few days he would issue a new order imposing a moratorium that eliminates any doubt it is needed and appropriate.

BP's new point man for the oil spill wouldn't say Wednesday if the company would resume deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Asked about it Wednesday on NBC's "Today" show, BP managing director Bob Dudley said they will "step back" from the issue while they investigate the rig explosion.

Also Wednesday, BP said Dudley has been appointed to head the new Gulf Coast Restoration Organization, which is in charge of cleaning up the oil spill.

Several companies that ferry people and supplies and provide other services to offshore rigs argued that the moratorium was arbitrarily imposed after the April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers and blew out a well 5,000 feet underwater. It has spewed anywhere from 67 million to 127 million gallons of oil.

Feldman's 2008 financial disclosure report — the most recent available — also showed investments in Ocean Energy, a Houston-based company, as well as Quicksilver Resources, Prospect Energy, Peabody Energy, Halliburton, Pengrowth Energy Trust, Atlas Energy Resources, Parker Drilling and others. Halliburton was also involved in the doomed Deepwater Horizon project.

Feldman did not respond to requests for comment and to clarify whether he still holds some or all of these investments.

He's one of many federal judges across the Gulf Coast region who have had money in oil and gas. Several have disqualified themselves from hearing spill-related lawsuits and others have sold their holdings so they can preside over some of the 200-plus cases.

Although Feldman ruled in favor of oil interests Tuesday, one expert said his reasoning appeared sound because the six-month ban was overly broad.

"There's been some concern that he is biased toward the industry, but I don't see it in this opinion," said Tim Howard, a Northeastern University law professor who also represents businesses and people claiming economic losses in several spill-related lawsuits. "They overreacted and just shut an industry down, rather than focusing on where the problems are."

That was what Feldman essentially said in his ruling, writing that the blanket moratorium "seems to assume that because one rig failed and although no one yet fully knows why, all companies and rigs drilling new wells over 500 feet also universally present an imminent danger."

Josh Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environment Group, said the ruling should be rescinded if Feldman still has investments in companies that could benefit.

"If Judge Feldman has any investments in oil and gas operators in the Gulf, it represents a flagrant conflict of interest," Reichert said.

Feldman's ruling prohibits federal officials from enforcing the moratorium until a trial is held. He wrote: "If some drilling equipment parts are flawed, is it rational to say all are? Are all airplanes a danger because one was? All oil tankers like Exxon Valdez? All trains? All mines? That sort of thinking seems heavy-handed, and rather overbearing."

At least two major oil companies, Shell and Marathon, said they would wait to see how the appeals play out before resuming drilling.

The lawsuit was filed by Hornbeck Offshore Services of Covington, La. CEO Todd Hornbeck said after the ruling that he is looking forward to getting back to work. "It's the right thing for not only the industry but the country," he said.

Earlier in the day, executives at a major oil conference in London warned that the moratorium would cripple world energy supplies. Steven Newman, president and CEO of Transocean, called it unnecessary and an overreaction.

"There are things the administration could implement today that would allow the industry to go back to work tomorrow without an arbitrary six-month time limit," Newman said.

BP stock dropped 81 cents Tuesday, or 2.7 percent, to $29.52, near a 14-year low for the company in U.S. trading. The stocks of other companies associated with the spill remained low despite Feldman's ruling.

In London, British Prime Minister David Cameron's office said he would discuss BP and the oil spill in a meeting Saturday with President Barack Obama. Cameron's spokesman Steve Field told reporters Wednesday the men will discuss the beleaguered energy company during a meeting during the G-8 and G-20 summits in Canada.

Feldman is a native of St. Louis and former Army captain in the Judge Advocate General Corps who was appointed in May to a seven-year term on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, according to court records.

The court meets secretly to consider government requests for wiretaps in national security cases, such as those involving foreign terrorist groups.

A graduate of Tulane University in New Orleans with bachelor's and law degrees, Feldman frequently jokes with lawyers before his court about his friendship with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, known for his strict interpretation of the Constitution as written more than 200 years ago.

Feldman has handled several cases stemming from Hurricane Katrina, among them a lawsuit against the city of New Orleans filed by a retired teacher who sued over his beating by police officers in the French Quarter. The case was settled. Feldman also presided over the first trial in a wave of insurance litigation spawned by the storm.

In August, he will sentence Wayne Read, a former movie studio CEO who pleaded guilty to selling $1.9 million in nonexistent state film tax credits to current and former members of the New Orleans Saints, including head coach Sean Payton and Super Bowl MVP quarterback Drew Brees.


Anderson reported from Miami.
Copyright © 2010 Yahoo! Inc.

June 23rd, 2010, 11:43 AM
I am oddly tempted to put a G or 2 into BP right now.....

You will either lose it completely by some bizzarre re-association of corporate identity in a Bankruptcy/Buyout, or stand to get a poop-load of cash once the "fires" have gone down and people forget how bad they were/are......

June 23rd, 2010, 11:54 AM
Dead money.

June 23rd, 2010, 01:44 PM
Ninja, I know people who have done just that. I probably would have if I had any cash. This will pass.

June 24th, 2010, 07:59 AM
Zip, I would consider it more "Death money" than Dead.

How many times have we screamed at a Mega Corporation and chastised them only to get a settlement that runs out before it is used properly (either by underfunding or mismanagement, or both), a CEO or two "fired", and something J-Z, J-Lo or J-YourMomma does at a local club in NY/LA grabs everyones attension away?

How many reports do we hear about the WAR in Afghanistan these days? It is like it isn't even happening.

BP will weasel out of this, the question is, how?

June 24th, 2010, 09:05 AM
Dead money may be a misnomer. I don't mean the money would disappear; it just wouldn't do as you suggest in the long term.

I don't think the company is in deep financial trouble. Good cash flow and manageable debt. And it has assets in a product that won't go out of favor in the foreseeable future.

But who knows where the bottom price is? There is potential for more bad news: the relief wells don't work; a hurricane; oil slick gets into the Atlantic; political fallout. You buy and the price drops $10. Eventually, it would probably recover and give you a profit, but it would take a lot of time. Dead money.

A good stock for a trader, but I wouldn't touch it as an investor.

How many reports do we hear about the WAR in Afghanistan these days? It is like it isn't even happening.What if it was the War in the Gulf of Mexico?

June 24th, 2010, 10:39 AM
So long as the bullets only reached the shoreline.......

June 24th, 2010, 01:11 PM
My guess is that a 45 year old guy purchasing this stock for the long term has a good chance of doing well over time. Please feel free to comment yea or nay. I have been considering this myself.

June 24th, 2010, 02:45 PM
You don't LOOK 45......

June 24th, 2010, 03:03 PM
Oil Spill Response from “Behind Enemy Lines”

The Mudflats (http://www.themudflats.net/2010/06/24/oil-spill-response-from-behind-enemy-lines/)
June 24, 2010

This is Kindra Arnesen, a Venice Louisiana resident who reports on the spill, the clean up, and the cover up as she saw it from the inside with full security clearance. Cost-cutting, “ponies and balloons,” sickness, and media blackout.

“We are expendable to these people. We do not matter.”

The video is 15 minutes long, but it is a must-see

Kindra Arnesan - Quoted on PBS Newshour 6/23/2010

YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3bzypjTIWg)

Confirmation of the local overview Venice LA - 6/19/10. Quoted on PBS today in one sentence. Hear the horrors of the front lines and behind scenes workings of the BP Gulf Oil Spill Catastrophe. This Venice LA local has been granted security clearance to see it all.


June 24th, 2010, 03:16 PM
Gulf Emergency Summit


June 24th, 2010, 08:53 PM
Wow. I just watched the video of Kindra Arnesan and it is effing disgusting. BP can NOT be allowed to control the Gulf the way she describes!! this is madness.
I shuddered when she described the hundreds of thousands of dead shells she saw floating on the water and birds knocking into her boat as she observed them dying. Oh my God.

This is one of the worst catastrophes I've ever seen in my lifetime and people are blocking media access and playing PR games. The cleanup is a sham. I am so disgusted.

June 25th, 2010, 07:14 AM
This is Kindra Arnesen, a Venice Louisiana resident who reports on the spill, the clean up, and the cover up as she saw it from the inside with full security clearance. Cost-cutting, “ponies and balloons,” sickness, and media blackout.

I don't know who this lady is or her authority, but she claims in the video that this disaster will destroy one third of the world's water.



Meanwhile.... this is Florida and it is a must see:


June 25th, 2010, 08:33 AM
This is one of the worst catastrophes I've ever seen in my lifetime and people are blocking media access and playing PR games. The cleanup is a sham. I am so disgusted.

the thing that bothers me is that BP has actually got our own Coast Guard acting as their Media Bouncers.

WTF is up with that?

June 25th, 2010, 09:15 AM
WTF is happening, you ask? BP and other major corporations rule the world, they write the rules, they construct the wars, they own your debt, they tell you what you can and cannot do, they give you the information they want you to hear and co-opt everything along the way. Elected officials are beholden to them (whether due to the money the big companies divvy out or the [implied?] guns they aim at various important heads).

This is our world. It's a dog eat dog world and we're all mere puppies.

June 25th, 2010, 09:30 AM
And if anyone thinks that ^ isn't so, just read on ...

'Despondent' Boat Captain, Hired by BP for Gulf Cleanup, Commits Suicide

The NATION (http://www.thenation.com/blog/36570/despondent-boat-captain-hired-bp-gulf-cleanup-commits-suicide)
Greg Mitchell
June 23, 2010

"I hate to say it, but I'm surprised something like this hasn't already happened." This, tragically, was the death by suicide of a charter boat captain hired by BP to take part in oil leak cleanup or protection efforts in the gulf.

The quote comes from Jason Bell, who worked for William Allen "Rookie" Kruse, 55, for three years as a deckhand and pilot. Kruse put a bullet (http://blog.al.com/live/2010/06/charter_captain_kills_self_on.html) through his head this morning at a marina in Fort Morgan, Alabama. His boat was about to launch today and he was reportedly upset with the oil leak, the cleanup efforts and loss of income, and wondering how he would be paid for taking part in the Vessel of Opportunity program.

The local coroner ruled that the gunshot was self-inflicted. Kruse was found right on the captain's bridge. He had no known health problems, and leaves behind a wife and four children.

"He had just let his deckhands off the boat and sent them to get something," Baldwin County Deputy Coroner Rod Steade told the local newspaper, the Press-Register. "He was going to meet them at the fuel dock. They heard a pop and when the boat didn't come around, they went back and found him."

The newspaper related that Baldwin County Coroner Stan Vinson "said witnesses told investigators that Kruse had been upset about the loss of business caused by the closing of fishing grounds and public perceptions of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill."

Perhaps ominiously, Bell said, "He wasn't any more aggravated with the whole situation than any of the rest of us. "

Mayor Tony Kennon of nearby Orchard Beach told the newspaper (http://blog.al.com/live/2010/06/fishing_captain_who_took_his_o.html) he's concerned about residents' mental health: "I've got people coming into my office every day breaking down."

Coroner Vinson added, "All the waters are closed. There's no charter business anymore. You go out on some of the beaches now, with the oil, you can't even get in the water. It's really crippled the tourism and fishing industry here."

National experts warn of coming surge in mental health problems (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,595202,00.html) related to the oil leak. The Washington Post has a lengthy article (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/23/AR2010062305361.html?hpid=topnews) on "the mental stain."

Kruse had told the Montgomery Advertiser last month, "The phone has stopped ringing." Yet Admiral Thad Allen, the Coast Guard chief, said, according to (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/24/us/24spillweb.html?src=me) The New York Times, that Kruse's death was not "directly related" to the oil disaster.

Ironically, other local fishermen, who admired Kruse, had turned to him for advice on working for BP in the cleanup program. . The Washington Post talked to Capt. Chris Garner, who recalled Kruse telling him, "Don't try to rationalize it. . . . Just sign your name and get on your boat, and don't try to tell anybody how to run the program, and don't try to tell 'em what the local knowledge is." Garner told him, "Rookie, that sounds an awful lot like prison." Kruse replied, 'That's a pretty good analysis, Chris. It's just like prison.'" Less than a week later, he was dead.

The website for Kruse's boat operation, with photos and video, is here (http://www.rookiefishing.com/).

Copyright © 2010 The Nation

June 25th, 2010, 09:54 AM
^ I saw the headline earlier today and didn't want to go any further.

This 40 minute program from NPR's Fresh Air is a good primer on drilling methods used by BP in this disaster, and also includes some detail on this specific accident. This and the NY Times report on the blow-out preventer, posted by lofter a page or two above, provide a good overview of the principal technologies which will be reported on for months to come.

"The Science Behind Deep-Water Oil Drilling," (http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=128047682&m=128081544) 24 June 2010.

June 25th, 2010, 11:03 AM
The local coroner ruled that the gunshot was self-inflicted. Kruse was found right on the captain's bridge. He had no known health problems, and leaves behind a wife and four children.


You think he could have had life in surance and "accidentally" got caught in a fire or something. As bad as his situation was, what about his frigging wife?

June 25th, 2010, 11:24 AM
No light at the end of the tunnel, no way to see clearly.

Maybe he was thinking that BP would be forced to cover all that.

But most likely wasn't seeing the big picture at all.

June 25th, 2010, 12:20 PM
I know he wasn't. People on that particular bent rarely do. Sometimes they need someone to remind them of their own responsibilities and how what THEY do effects others they love.

If it is not right what BP did to all of them, how is it better he "quits" and leaves his wife to handle it all on her own now?

It was something that kept me through many a depressed day. Not what it would do to me, I would be worm-food. What would my death do to those around me and would it be fair to THEM.

June 25th, 2010, 08:53 PM
Hmmm, rational thought and suicides...

June 25th, 2010, 09:58 PM
We don't know how badly this accident will affect the Gulf shore, and for how long, but a comparison with the 1979 Ixtoc I spill suggests it may not be as bad as we fear.

Ixtoc Disaster Holds Clues to Evolution of an Oil Spill (http://www.banderasnews.com/1006/nt-ixtocdisaster.htm)
Matthew O. Berger & Emilio Godoy - Inter Press Service
go to original
June 16, 2010

The Ixtoc I oil well blowout lasted from June 1979 to March 1980. (NOAA)
A Diving Trip Reveals "Tar Blobs"

Decades after the Ixtoc spill, in 2002, biologist Wes Tunnell was on a cruise in the Veracruz reefs with National Geographic.

After only 15 minutes of snorkeling there, he encountered what most snorkelers would think is just a rock or ledge, covered in sand, algae and shells - "I stuck my knife into it. When I pulled it out it was tar."

He describes this "tar blob" as inert, "just laying there," with black sediments around the base that indicated there were extremely low levels of oxygen there.

"It means there may be a little bit of impact going on right adjacent to the base of it, but on the top of it, I think it was pretty inert or sealed off there because other living things were crawling around on it and growing on it," Tunnell said."[These blobs] just continue to weather over time and get smaller and smaller."

Tunnell recently asked a friend that was on the same 2002 cruise to search for the blobs again, but "he couldn't find anything".

This week Tunnel is flying back to Veracruz himself to see what remnants - if any - are still present. "We're going to do a really good search to see if there's any left or if they're all gone, just to fill in the story," he said.

"It's a question I've had from so many people - both the public and scientists: 'Well, what happened to all of [the oil]?' For the most part, I think it's gone and we won't find much, but we're going to go back just to check and make sure."

Washington/Mexico City - On a spring day in the Gulf of Mexico, a pipe issuing from the sea floor ruptured, sending an explosion rippling up to the drilling platform above and spewing oil into the surrounding waters. Experts scrambled to seal off the ever-increasing mass of oil by capping the pipe, clogging it or covering it. Nothing worked.

Work began on the drilling of a relief well. Oil continued to gush into the ecologically fragile and economically critical waters.

That was 31 years ago.

The 1979 explosion at Pemex's Ixtoc I offshore oil rig was the worst accidental oil spill in history, releasing an estimated 140 million gallons of crude oil before the relief well could plug the leak 290 days after it began.

The amount of oil issuing from the well under the BP-owned Deepwater Horizon rig - relatively young at only 56 days old - is expected to surpass Ixtoc's record. Some estimates say it already has.

What effect that oil will ultimately have on the surrounding environment and communities is far from clear, but the Ixtoc spill is certainly the most logical place to look for answers. Unfortunately, strikingly few studies were done in the wake of that catastrophe.

One, titled "Impacto ecológico de la industria petrolera en la Sonda de Campeche, México, tras tres décadas de actividad" (Ecological Impact of the Oil Industry in the Bay of Campeche, Mexico, After Three Decades) found that the most persistent issues were pollution of estuaries and coastal lagoons lining the bay, and especially the effects on breeding and growth of several food fish species.

Wes Tunnell, a biologist at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies based at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi, has been studying the impacts of the Ixtoc spill since even before it took place.

He has studied the southern Gulf of Mexico and the Bay of Campeche - where the Ixtoc I rig was located - for about 45 years, including regular visits to certain spill-impacted localities in the 30 years since 1979.

But even he admits, "It's pretty baffling for most of us who studied that spill to know what happened to that oil and where it all went."

He does know a few things about its impact, though.

The blowout that led to the spill occurred on Jun. 3. Currents eventually washed the crude oil ashore in the Mexican states of Campeche, Tabasco, Veracruz and Tamaulipas. By the time it reached the south Texas coast in the first week of August, Tunnell was ready.

"Over the next six weeks it pretty much coated the south Texas beaches for about 30 miles - a 20- to 30-foot wide band of oil and tar about a half-an-inch thick to one-foot thick in some places," he told IPS in a phone interview.

With other researchers, he had taken samples before the oil got there, in July. They returned for more studies in September, after the oil had arrived and "been stirred up by some storms".

What they discovered was that two groups of organisms that "can be found by the thousands per metre squared in the sand beneath your feet when you're walking along in the surf zone" - marine worms and amphipods - were reduced by 80 percent in the inter-tidal zone and 50 percent in the sub- tidal zone, though he emphasises that those numbers represent the averages of lots of different samples.

"So we didn't see a drop in the number of species but a drop in the number of individuals. We thought 'Oh, boy, this is really severe'," Tunnell said.

Two and half years after the spill, he got a graduate student to go do a thesis project on the same Texas beaches. It was discovered that by then the worm and amphipod numbers had rebounded.

"So you can probably say that within two to three years the beach fauna or beach populations were back to where they were before the spill. I think that's probably a pretty standard thing. Fine-grain, sandy beaches can be cleaned up pretty easily," Tunnell explained.

He also recalls a colleague who had studied the shrimp fishery based in Campeche, Mexico - the largest in the southern gulf - assuming that the fishery "would be devastated for years to come" by the oil from Ixtoc.

But, he says, "The second year after the spill the shrimp populations were back to where they were before the spill, which is, again, pretty amazing to us."

Tom Shirley, also of the Harte Institute, has some insights into why these organisms were able to bounce back so quickly.

The equivalent of an oil tanker seeps into the water from oil deposits under the sea floor each year, and organisms have adapted to cope with the constant presence of oil in the water. That coping means that the animals in the gulf have a striking capacity to break down oil molecules, Shirley said.

"So the gulf, due to these seeps, is more ready to deal with oil than most anywhere else," he said. "[It's] an amazingly resilient habitat."

But, he explained, the naturally-occurring seeps happen in a much more gradual way that is likely much easier for organisms to manage and cope with than the tens of thousands of barrels in the water right now.

"As long as oil spills remain out on the open sea, the effects are relatively limited," Daniel Lluch-Cota, a biologist at the state Northwest Biological Research Centre and one of the four authors of the 2004 study, told IPS. "The real trouble begins when they reach the shore."

Remnants of the Ixtoc spill could still be seen and touched as recently as seven years ago, and Tunnell is setting out this week to determine whether they are still there today.

In the fall of 1979, while he was studying the impact of the oil washing up in Texas, he sent a couple graduate students to the reefs in the southern gulf, near Veracruz. They found that the oil had come in on a tropical storm and was floating over the top of the reefs where it did not directly impact them. It had, however ringed a lot of the reef islands with 12 to 15 inch-thick mats of oil.

He continued to track and map these mats, returning each June with his class. "They slowly continued to break down, particularly in the next five to six years after the spill. After that time it was pretty hard to find any remnants of the spill," he said.

Still, environmental campaigners note that no authoritative assessment has ever been made.

"We don't know if the damage done [at Ixtoc] has been remedied. Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX, the state oil company) has limited capacity for cleaning up pollution," Gustavo Ampugnani, Greenpeace International political coordinator for Latin America, told IPS.

Emilio Godoy reported from Mexico.

June 26th, 2010, 08:59 AM
Little spent on oil spill cleanup technology

By PHUONG LE and JOHN FLESHER, Associated Press Writers Phuong Le And John Flesher, Associated Press Writers Sat Jun 26, 3:27 am ET

ON BARATARIA BAY, La. – While oil companies have spent billions of dollars to drill deeper and farther out to sea, relatively little money and research have gone into finding new, improved ways to respond to oil spills in deepsea conditions like those in the Gulf of Mexico.

Experts say the massive Gulf spill has exposed a failure by the industry and the federal government to commit adequate resources to oil cleanup and response technology.

"Why they didn't start working on it after the (Ixtoc 1) Mexican spill in 1979 is beyond me," said Gerald Graham, president of Worldocean Consulting, an oil spill prevention and response planning firm in British Columbia. "Now they're trying to catch up."

Only a fraction of the estimated 69 million to 131.5 million gallons of oil that have spewed into the Gulf have been recovered. About 10 million gallons of oil have been burned off, and 25 million gallons of oil-water mix have been mopped up.

The mainstays of the two-month-long cleanup effort are oil booms, mechanical skimmers and oil dispersants — the same tools used to fight the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska.

Improvements to these methods have been incremental and few new ones have been developed, critics say, because oil companies have no financial incentive.

"The technology rapidly advanced for drilling, because there was money to be made," said Tim Robertson, general manager of Nuka Research & Planning, which specializes in oil spill response planning, and who worked on Seldovia, Alaska's response during the Exxon spill. "There was nothing similar that applies to oil spill recovery."

Five companies — Shell Oil, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Chevron Corp., BP America — together spent about $33.8 billion to explore for new oil and gas in the past three years, according to answers the companies provided this month to a House Energy & Commerce subcommittee.

But their spending on research for safety, accident prevention and spill response is "paltry" by comparison, said Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass), who co-chairs the subcommittee and introduced a bill Friday that would redirect $50 million per year in oil and gas royalty payments for such technology.

In answers to Congress, most of the companies said they could not segregate costs for the safety- and spill-related research.

For example, ConocoPhillips said it spent $1.3 million over three years on research on safer drilling technologies, but did not specify how much it spends on accident prevention and spill-related research.

ExxonMobil said it spends $50 million a year on oil spill response, drilling and deepwater development research activities. The company says it has maintained an internal spill research program for 40 years.

BP said the company spent $29 million over three years on safer drilling operations research. But spokesman Robert Wine said BP does not research oil spill cleanup technology. Instead, he said BP supports oil spill response organizations, such as the nonprofit Marine Spill Response Corp.

MSRC's overall spending was $88 million in 2008, the most recent year for which its IRS filing was available. But it has no budget for research, MSRC spokeswoman Judith Roos told USA Today. Roos did not respond to calls and e-mails from The Associated Press.

The oil and gas industry now is taking steps to explore new technology. And BP has pledged $500 million for research efforts.

For its part, the federal government has spent relatively little to advance cleanup technology for spills.

Congress appropriated only about one-sixth of the $30 million in research grants to universities authorized under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 after the Exxon Valdez, according to the Coastal Response Research Center.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement — which was known as the Minerals Management Service until this month — collects $13 billion a year in oil drilling royalties. But the agency has been spending between $6 million to $7 million a year since 1995 on oil spill research.

And the Coast Guard's annual oil spill research budget has steadily dropped from about $5.6 million in 1993 to about $500,000 for each of the past four years.

U.S. Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.), who recently held hearings on oil spill cleanup technologies, said there hasn't been much federal spending for cleanup because the political pressure is to drill for more oil.

"Our priorities have been about how to extract more oil in greater volumes and for greater profits, and there haven't been corresponding priorities on how to do so safely and how to prepare if there is an accident," he said in an interview.

BP also has scrambled to try different cleanup techniques since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers and creating one of the U.S.'s worst environmental disaster.

The company recently ordered 32 centrifuge devices made by a company co-founded by Hollywood actor Kevin Costner, who had invested about $24 million in the project. The company says the largest of the devices can process about 210,000 gallons a day, separating gunk from water.

Deployed on barges, the centrifuges are intended to help skimmers work more efficiently by letting them unload the oil and water mix and cleaning it at sea instead of returning to port each time the tank is full.

Advances in drilling technology have enabled a boom in exploration and drilling in deep waters, where lower temperatures and higher pressures require sophisticated equipment.

"We've pushed the envelope more and more on offshore drilling in deep waters," said Nancy Kinner, co-director of the Coastal Response Research Center, a partnership between the University of New Hampshire and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

Yet, she said, not much is known about how to collect oil from deep sea spills or how chemical dispersants used to break up oil behave at such depths.

Oil spill experts say that despite some improvements in containment booms and skimmers, they're still limited in what they can do. Booms generally work best in calm weather and waves, and need lots of maintenance.

In Barataria Bay, absorbent boom placed around numerous marshy islands didn't stop oil slicks from reaching wetlands. Some sections of boom were torn apart or doubled over. The stems of marsh grasses and other vegetation near the edge were stained dark brown with oil.

"In many case, all we have is that very basic technology and of course we use it," said Dennis Takahashi Kelso, vice president of the Ocean Conservancy and former Alaska Commissioner of Environmental Conservation during the Exxon Valdez spill.

"We ought to do better though if we take seriously how harmful a spill can be," he said.


Le reported from Seattle.
Copyright © 2010 Yahoo! Inc

June 26th, 2010, 07:51 PM
BP Is Pursuing Alaska Drilling Some Call Risky (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/24/us/24rig.html)

July 8th, 2010, 08:44 AM
Kevin Hostler, former BP Exec and now CEO of ALYESKA (Alaskan Oil Pipeline project), is jumping ship after investigations reveal cost cutting and dangerous operational procedures ...

Alyeska CEO Steps Down Following Truthout Exposé

t r u t h o u t (http://www.truth-out.org/alyeska-ceo-resigns-following-truthout-expose61134)
by: Jason Leopold
Wednesday 07 July 2010

Kevin Hostler, the chief executive officer of Alyeska Pipeline, informed company employees Wednesday morning that he "plans to retire to Houston and to spend time with his family."

The announcement comes one day after Truthout published an extensive investigative report (http://www.truth-out.org/alyeska-pipeline-yet-another-example-how-bp-runs-things61097) that was highly critical of his leadership of the company and revealed details, based on hundreds of pages of intenal documents and in interviews with more than a dozen senior employees, of severe cost-cutting measures Hostler implemented that threatened the safety and integrity of the pipeline.

According to one email, "the budget cuts over the last couple of years is creating a large 'bow wave' of deferred projects and program work ... The oversight of the integrity of the system is at risk."

"Reductions in the budgets for the Aboveground [pipeline] program; fuel gas line; and mainline pipe can place the integrity of the system at risk," the email says. "There is a risk ranking exercise that is used and the concern that the risk ranking is being used primarily for budget reductions and although work is shown as lower risk it still should be done to protect the environment."

The employee who wrote the email alleged that Alyeska's 2010 budget was cut from $680 million to $600 million on orders from BP.

Over the past several months, Alyeska Pipeline and Hostler have been under intense scrutiny by a Congressional oversight committee and an independent investigator, who has been probing explosive allegations leveled by managers that severe cost-cutting efforts could put the integrity of the 800-mile Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) at risk.

TAPS transports crude oil from production fields in Prudhoe Bay to Valdez for deepwater tanker loading. It moves anywhere from 600,000 to 700,000 barrels of oil per day, which represents approximately 15 percent of US crude oil production.

Last week, as Truthout first reported, Hostler was called into Washington for the second time in a month to meet with staffers from Rep. Bart Stupak's office. Stupak (D-Michigan) is the chairman of the House Energy Committee's subcommittee on oversight and investigations.

The meeting focused on the circumstances behind several mishaps, including a recent oil spill that took place at one of Alyeska's pump stations on the North Slope, which forced the company to shut down TAPS for more than three days in May, and the loss of communication connections used to control pumps and valves at the northern end of pipeline system that also forced its temporary closure.

Staffers also queried Hostler about the findings of an investigation conducted by attorney Charles Thebaud, of the law firm Morgan Lews. Thebaud launched his probe in February after some Alyeska managers anonymously filed complaints with BP's Office of the Ombudsman about a number of issues, including failures to address matters concerning safety and maintenance and a controversial decision Hostler made last year to relocate about 30 safety and integrity management engineers from Fairbanks to Anchorage, Alaska - hundreds of miles away from the pipeline.

In a statement Wednesday, Stupak said, "In our committee's staff meeting with Mr. Hostler last week, we expressed serious concerns about a recent internal report showing significant issues with the management culture at Alyeska."

"That report found widespread dissatisfaction among employees of Alyeska regarding decisions made by management and the management style within the company," Stupak said ...

Prior t r u t h o u t Report (http://www.truth-out.org/alyeska-pipeline-yet-another-example-how-bp-runs-things61097):

Dangerous Cost Cuts at Alyeska Pipeline: "Yet Another Example of How BP Runs Things"


July 8th, 2010, 09:03 AM
600,000 barrels A DAY!

The price is about $75 a barrel today.

$75/barrel x 600K = $45M a DAY in resources.

That comes out to $16.425B a year. And this guy "saved" $80M on cutting safety projects? 0.49%? Amazing.

"Time with family". Yeah. Right. I hope he lives near the coast. :mad:

July 16th, 2010, 10:26 AM
BP is reporting that the new cap is holding. This may be the first really good news since April:

BP oil cap may have spill under control

Vice-president says pressure is holding inside cap, indicating that oil is being successfully contained
Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington and agencies in New Orleans
guardian.co.uk, Friday 16 July 2010 14.42 BST
larger | smaller

Images of the BP oil spill taken from live video on 26 May (top L), 1 June (top R), 13 July (bottom L) and 15 July (bottom R) after the leak was contained. Photograph: BP/Reuters
BP held out hope today that it had finally brought America's worst oil spill under control, when a senior executive expressed optimism about a new cap that for the first time since April has stopped oil gushing from a deepwater well.

The vice-president, Kent Wells, said pressure was holding up inside the cap, indicating that oil was being successfully contained under the 75-tonne device. Valves on the cap were shut late yesterday and pressure will be tested regularly over the next 36 hours. A fall in pressure would indicate another leak.

BP is also planning to start drilling again on a relief well that will cut into the compromised well and enable it to be sealed permanently. The BP share price, which has lost almost 50% of its value since the original blowout on 20 April, rose almost 4% in London after the developments, though executives and officials were still warning that the nightmare wasn't over yet.

"I think that it is a positive sign," said the US president, Barack Obama, after the initial announcement that oil had stopped spewing from the well.

"It's far from the finish line. It's not the time to celebrate," added the BP chief operating officer, Doug Suttles.

Suttles said engineers would be checking carefully to make sure no oil was escaping from previously undiscovered leaks.

It took about two hours yesterday to close off all the valves to the containment cap. But after it was done, there was a welcome sight for Gulf coast residents, many of whose livelihoods have been hammered by the spill: for the first time, video from BP's live feed on the ocean floor showed no sign of crude billowing out of the crippled well.

The new cap is at best a temporary solution. The US coastguard chief, Thad Allen, said engineers might reopen the seal and collect the flow of oil, though he noted that a new, improved containment facility would reduce the amount of crude fouling the Gulf. "It remains likely that we will return to the containment process using this new stacking cap connected to the risers," he said.

BP hopes it can prevent the flow of any more oil into the Gulf until it manages to intercept the well and seal it off permanently with heavy drilling mud and cement some time in August. Suttles told CNN the relief well was about 4ft away from reaching the main well.

But the BP executive also acknowledged that the Gulf would be feeling the effects of the spill for some time, a thought voiced by several others. "This is like the very early stages of a bone marrow transplant," Ed Markey, the Massachusetts Democrat who is leading a congressional investigation into the environmental effects of the spill, told CNN. "There is still a possibility that the well cannot, in fact, take this pressure, but we are all hoping and praying that it will."

Even if the well does hold, BP and the Obama administration acknowledge there will be tar balls washing up on the beaches of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida for months.

Cleansing sensitive Louisiana wetlands of oil could take several more months, if not years, and marine biologists have warned that it could be decades before the full impact of the oil, and the dispersants used to break up the slick, is fully understood.

Aside from the cost to BP, which has spent more than $3bn (£2bn) on the cleanup, seen its share price plummet and had to set aside $20bn, the spill has caused widespread economic harm across the Gulf. Vast areas of water remain closed to fishing and there has been a rash of hotel cancellations during the school holiday season.

"This body has lost a lot of blood," Norm Coleman, a former Republican senator, told CNN. "This is good news but that doesn't mean that the pressure is off."

Yesterday's success followed days of uncertainty about how the sealing cap would perform, and whether it could stop the oil without blowing a new hole in the well. The administration put a 24-hour hold on BP's plans while it reviewed the risks of the operation.

July 18th, 2010, 11:19 PM
BP, feds clash over reopening capped Gulf oil well

The Associated Press / Yahoo (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_gulf_oil_spill;_ylt=AhUZUvd9x.TEXJq1RapNHFes0NU E;_ylu=X3oDMTNoODFlZzhvBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTAwNzE4L3V zX2d1bGZfb2lsX3NwaWxsBGNjb2RlA21vc3Rwb3B1bGFyBGNwb 3MDMQRwb3MDMgRwdANob21lX2Nva2UEc2VjA3luX3RvcF9zdG9 yeQRzbGsDb2ZmaWNpYWxzZWVw)
Associated Press Writers
July 18, 2010

NEW ORLEANS – BP and the Obama administration offered significantly differing views Sunday on whether the capped Gulf of Mexico oil well will have to be reopened, a contradiction that may be an effort by the oil giant to avoid blame if crude starts spewing again.

Pilloried for nearly three months as it tried repeatedly to stop the leak, BP PLC capped the nearly mile-deep well Thursday and wants to keep it that way. The government's plan, however, is to eventually pipe oil to the surface, which would ease pressure on the fragile well but would require up to three more days of oil spilling into the Gulf.

"No one associated with this whole activity ... wants to see any more oil flow into the Gulf of Mexico," Doug Suttles, BP's chief operating officer, said Sunday. "Right now we don't have a target to return the well to flow."

An administration official familiar with the spill oversight, however, told The Associated Press that a seep and possible methane were found near the busted oil well. The official spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday because an announcement about the next steps had not been made yet.

The concern all along — since pressure readings on the cap weren't as high as expected — was a leak elsewhere in the wellbore, meaning the cap may have to be reopened to prevent the environmental disaster from becoming even worse and harder to fix.

The official, who would not clarify what is seeping near the well, also said BP is not complying with the government's demand for more monitoring.

Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the Obama administration's spill response chief, demanded BP provide results of further testing of the seabed by 9 p.m. EDT Sunday night.

"When seeps are detected, you are directed to marshal resources, quickly investigate, and report findings to the government in no more than four hours. I direct you to provide me a written procedure for opening the choke valve as quickly as possible without damaging the well should hydrocarbon seepage near the well head be confirmed," Allen said in a letter to BP Managing Director Bob Dudley.

When asked about the situation earlier Sunday before the letter was released, BP spokesman Mark Salt would only say that "we continue to work very closely with all government scientists on this."

Allen insisted Sunday that "nothing has changed" since Saturday, when he said oil would eventually be piped to surface ships. The government is overseeing BP's work to stop the leak, which ultimately is to be plugged using a relief well.

Allen decided to extend testing of the cap that had been scheduled to end Sunday, the official who spoke on condition of anonymity said. That means the oil will stay in the well for now as scientists continue run tests and monitor pressure readings. The official didn't say how long that would take.

Officials at the Department of Homeland Security referred questions to a statement issued by Allen; neither he nor BP officials could explain the apparent contradiction in plans.

Suttles' comments carved out an important piece of turf for BP: If Allen sticks with the containment plan and oil again pours forth into the Gulf, even briefly, it will be the government's doing, not BP's.

The company very much wants to avoid a repeat of the live underwater video that showed millions of gallons of oil spewing from the blown well for weeks.

"I can see why they're pushing for keeping the cap on and shut in until the relief well is in place," said Daniel Keeney, president of a Dallas-based public relations firm.

The government wants to eliminate any chance of making matters worse, while BP is loath to lose the momentum it gained the moment it finally halted the leak, Keeney said.

"They want to project being on the same team, but they have different end results that benefit each," he said.

Oil would have to be released under Allen's plan, which would ease concerns that the capped reservoir might force its way out through another route. Those concerns stem from pressure readings in the cap that have been lower than expected.

Scientists still aren't sure whether the pressure readings mean a leak elsewhere in the well bore, possibly deep down in bedrock, which could make the seabed unstable. Oil would be have to be released into the water to relieve pressure and allow crews to hook up the ships, BP and Allen have said.

So far, there have been no signs of a leak.

"We're not seeing any problems at this point with the shut-in," Suttles said at a Sunday morning briefing.

Allen said later Sunday that scientists and engineers would continue to evaluate and monitor the cap through acoustic, sonar and seismic readings.

They're looking to determine whether low pressure readings mean that more oil than expected poured into the Gulf of Mexico since the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 people and touching off one of America's worst environment crises.

"While we are pleased that no oil is currently being released into the Gulf of Mexico and want to take all appropriate action to keep it that way, it is important that all decisions are driven by the science," Allen said in a news release.

"Ultimately, we must ensure no irreversible damage is done which could cause uncontrolled leakage from numerous points on the sea floor."

Both Allen and BP have said they don't know how long the trial run will continue. It was set to end Sunday afternoon, but the deadline — an extension from the original Saturday cutoff — came and went with no word on what's next.

After little activity Sunday, robots near the well cap came to life around the time of the cutoff. It wasn't clear what they were doing, but bubbles started swirling around as their robotic arms poked at the mechanical cap.

To plug the busted well, BP is drilling two relief wells, one of them as a backup. The company said work on the first one was far enough along that officials expect to reach the broken well's casing, or pipes, deep underground by late this month. The subsequent job of jamming the well with mud and cement could take days or a few weeks.

It will take months, or possibly years for the Gulf to recover, though cleanup efforts continued and improvements in the water could be seen in the days since the oil stopped flowing. Somewhere between 94 million and 184 million gallons have spilled into the Gulf, according to government estimates.

The spill has prevented many commercial fishermen from their jobs, though some are at work with the cleanup. Some boat captains were surprised and angry to learn that the money they make from cleanup work will be deducted from the funds they would otherwise receive from a $20 billion compensation fund set up by BP.

The fund's administrator, Kenneth Feinberg, told The Associated Press on Sunday that if BP pays fishermen wages to help skim oil and perform other cleanup work, those wages will be subtracted from the amount they get from the fund.

Longtime charter boat captain Mike Salley said he didn't realize BP planned to deduct those earnings, and he doubted many other captains knew, either.

"I'll keep running my boat," he said Sunday on a dock in Orange Beach, Ala., before heading back into the Gulf to resupply other boats with boom to corral the oil. "What else can I do?"

Weber reported from Houston. Associated Press writer Jay Reeves in Orange Beach, Ala., Tom Strong in Washington and AP video journalist Haven Daley in Biloxi, Miss., contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2010 Yahoo! Inc.

July 19th, 2010, 08:03 AM
Nice incentive.

"You work for us and we won't give you any additional money".


August 19th, 2010, 06:29 PM
Partner says BP hiding oil spill documents

AFP American Edition (http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2010/08/partner_says_bp_hiding_oil_spill_documents.php?ref =fpa)
Aug 19, 2010

The company that leased the rig behind the Gulf of Mexico disaster has sharply criticized the oil giant, accusing it of hiding key data needed for a probe, according to a letter seen Thursday.

Transocean accused BP of trying to stop any other entity from probing the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig which killed 11 workers and unleashed the worst oil spill in history.

The charges risk turning into a new political debacle for BP as Transocean copied the strongly worded letter to three members of President Barack Obama's cabinet and leading members of Congress.

"BP has continued to demonstrate its unwillingness, if not outright refusal, to deliver even the most basic information to Transocean," Steven L. Roberts, a counsel at the company, wrote in the letter obtained by AFP.

"This is troubling, both in light of BP's frequently stated public commitment to openness and a fair investigation and because it appears that BP is withholding evidence in an attempt to prevent any other entity other than BP from investigating," he wrote.

Transocean said BP had stopped even acknowledging requests for documents that "only BP has and that are critical to an honest assessment of the incident and the identification of possible improvements for the entire industry."

Transocean, which is based in Switzerland, said earlier this month it was facing 249 lawsuits of claims over the disaster. The company has asked a court to limit its liabilities to 27 million dollars, saying it was not responsible.

Transocean is seeking 16 pieces of information from BP, including laboratory tests, logs that show transfers to the Deepwater Horizon and a chart identifying BP personnel involved on the oil rig.

© 2010 TPM Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.

August 19th, 2010, 09:37 PM
Gulf Oil Plume Is Not Breaking Down Fast, Research Says

NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/20/science/earth/20plume.html?_r=1&hp)
August 19, 2010

New research confirms the existence of a huge plume of dispersed oil deep in the Gulf of Mexico and suggests that it has not broken down rapidly, raising the possibility that it might pose a threat to wildlife for months or even years.

The study, the most ambitious scientific paper to emerge so far from the Deepwater Horizon spill, casts some doubt on recent statements by the federal government that oil in the gulf appears to be dissipating at a brisk clip. However, the lead scientist in the research, Richard Camilli, cautioned that the samples were taken in June and circumstances could have changed in the last two months.

The paper, which is to appear in Friday’s issue of the journal Science (http://www.sciencemag.org/), adds to a welter of recent, and to some extent conflicting, scientific claims about the status of the gulf. While scientists generally agree that the risk of additional harm at the surface and near the shore has diminished since the well was capped a month ago, a sharp debate has arisen about the continuing risk from oil in the deep waters.

So far, scientific information about the gulf has emerged largely from government reports and statements issued by scientists. Many additional research papers are in the works, and it could be months before a clear scientific picture emerges.

The slow breakdown of deep oil that Dr. Camilli’s group found had a silver lining: it meant that the bacteria trying to eat the oil did not appear to have consumed an excessive amount of oxygen in the vicinity of the spill, alleviating concerns that the oxygen might have declined so much that it threatened sea life. On this point, Dr. Camilli’s research backs statements that the government has been making for weeks.

Dr. Camilli, of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass., said the plume, at the time he studied it, was dissipating so slowly that it could still be in the gulf many months from now. Assuming that the physics of the plume are still similar to what his team saw in June, “it’s going to persist for quite a while before it finally dissipates or dilutes away,” he said.

Concentrations of hydrocarbons in the plume were generally low and declined gradually as the plume traveled through the gulf, although Dr. Camilli’s team has not yet completed tests on how toxic the chemicals might be to sea life.

In a report (http://documents.nytimes.com/noaa-usgs-report-shows-gulf-of-mexico-oil-spill-poses-little-additional-risk) on Aug. 4, a team of government and independent scientists organized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated (http://www.noaa.gov/) that 74 percent of the oil from the leak had been captured directly from the wellhead; skimmed, burned, dispersed chemically or by natural processes; evaporated from the ocean surface; or dissolved into microscopic droplets.

The report found that the remaining 26 percent of the oil had mostly washed ashore or collected there, was buried in sand and sediment, or was still on or below the surface as sheen or tar balls.

While the government report expressed concern about the continuing impact of the spill, it was widely viewed as evidence that the risk of additional harm in the gulf was declining.

This week, scientists at the University of Georgia, who in May were among the first to report the existence of the large plume studied by Dr. Camilli’s team, sharply challenged (http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/17/tussle-over-gulf-oil-tally-drags-on/) the government’s assessment. They contended that the government had overestimated rates of evaporation and breakdown of the oil.

“The idea that 75 percent of the oil is gone and is of no further concern to the environment is just incorrect,” said Samantha Joye (http://www.marsci.uga.edu/directory/mjoye.htm), a professor of marine sciences at the University of Georgia. She has studied the spill extensively but has not yet published her results.

Responding to the criticism, Jane Lubchenco, the NOAA administrator, said the government stood by its calculations. “Some of those numbers we can measure directly,” she said. “The others are the best estimates that are out there.”

Dr. Lubchenco has noted repeatedly that some of the remaining oil existed in the form of undersea plumes and cautioned that this subsurface oil could pose a threat to marine life.

In another report this week, researchers from the University of South Florida said they had found oil droplets scattered in sediment along the gulf floor and in the water column, where they could pose a threat to some of the gulf’s most important fisheries.

The dispersed oil appeared to be having a toxic effect on bacteria and on phytoplankton, a group of micro-organisms that serves as a vital food for fish and other marine life, the scientists said, although they cautioned that further testing was needed.

Dr. Camilli’s paper tends to support the view that considerable oil may be lingering below the surface of the gulf. He said he was not especially surprised by the slow rate of breakdown, considering that the waters of the gulf are about 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the vicinity of the plume.

“In colder environments, microbes operate more slowly,” Dr. Camilli said. “That’s why we have refrigerators.”

For weeks, BP, the company that owned the out-of-control well, disputed claims from scientists that a huge plume of dispersed oil droplets had formed in the gulf, with its chief executive at the time, Tony Hayward, declaring at one point, “There aren’t any plumes.” (BP subsequently acknowledged the existence of dispersed oil and pledged $500 million for research on the environment of the gulf.)

NOAA, while initially skeptical, ultimately confirmed the existence of such plumes. The new paper appears to dispel any lingering doubt, providing detailed evidence that one major plume and at least one minor plume existed and contained large quantities of hydrocarbons, albeit dispersed into tiny droplets.

Dr. Camilli’s team measured the main plume at roughly 3,600 feet below the surface; it extended for more than 20 miles southwest of the well. It was more than a mile wide in places and 600 feet thick, traveling at about four miles a day.

At the time his team studied it in June, the plume appeared to have narrowed from measurements reported early in the spill by a team that included Dr. Joye and Vernon Asper, a marine scientist from the University of Southern Mississippi, but Dr. Camilli’s results otherwise matched their report.

The slow breakdown of the plume, if verified by additional research, suggests that scientists may find themselves tracking the toxic compounds from BP’s well and trying to discern their impact on sea life for a long time.

“I expect the hydrocarbon imprint of the BP discharge will be detectable in the marine environment for the rest of my life,” Ian MacDonald, an oceanographer at Florida State University, told Congress in prepared testimony on Thursday. “The oil is not gone and is not going away anytime soon.”

Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company