Gulf Coast Disastor Summary

This morning’s summary: From the Good Folks at NRDC
It’s been a long weekend of frustration on the Gulf of Mexico, but there’s no real progress to report. There is nothing sadder than the sight of beautiful powder-white beaches that are empty or hotels and rental units vacant and restaurants shuttered. The oil spill has drowned out the rental market and so much more along the once-vibrant Gulf coast. The giant skimmer – ‘A Whale’ – the next great hope to suck up 21 million gallons of oil a day – is still in the testing phase with no sign it will be deployed anytime soon. Let’s hope this week brings better news about the Gulf oil spill. A new and tighter cap may be installed on the spill site by July 15, bringing new hope that something, anything, will be able to turn off the gushing oil. It may not be soon enough. Forecasters are warning that another tropical storm may be heading to the Gulf in the next few days. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Libya’s national oil company may seek to buy a stake in troubled BP. And a new report on BP’s top management indicates that BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg and CEO Tony Hayward may be shown the door by August.

Quotable Quote:
The enormity of the Gulf oil disaster hasn’t yet begun to be comprehended. We are just now starting to see the preliminary effects on people, coastline, and animals … The impact may be felt on our (dinner) plates and in our personal health for decades to come – Fabian Cousteau, grandson of famed ocean explorer, Jacque Cousteau

National News:

Times-Picayune: ‘A Whale’ of a skimmer not ready for action in Gulf
Everyone pinned their hopes on a giant Taiwanese oil skimmer, named A Whale, but it’s not yet ready to attack the Gulf of Mexico oil spill after a weekend of testing proved inconclusive, according to a statement by the vessel’s owner. More tests are planned to make sure the 10-story, 350-yard-long vessel is able to suck up massive amounts of the oil spill – as much as 21 million gallons of oil a day.

Read more:

See this one, too: BP’s top management may be out next month – Hayward, too
It’s no surprise there are reports that “I want my life back” Tony Hayward is just hanging onto his job and may be out next month along with “We care about the small people” Carl-Henric Svanberg. The BP chairman, came under attack for waiting so long to come out in front on the BP oil spill. And we know why Hayward, the BP CEO, isn’t winning any popularity contests. It may have been that his visit to a British yachting race as the oil spill gushed was the last straw for the oil giant and the public.

Read more:

USA Today: BP’s total cost for cleanup hits $3 .12 billion
It’s all about money on the Gulf oil spill, at least right now. And it’s a good thing that BP has such deep pockets. BP’s costs for the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill climbed nearly half a billion dollars in the past week, raising the oil giant’s tab to just over $3.12 billion for work on cleaning and capping the gusher and payouts to individuals, businesses and governments. Meanwhile, BP is taking advantage of its friendship with powerful moneyed institutions, getting at least eight banks to lend around $1 billion each to the oil giant on a bilateral basis. About $130 million has been paid out so far to help local businesses, employees and others affected by the massive Gulf oil spill and much more to come out of BP’s $20 billion escrow account.

Read more:

Check this one out:
Wall Street Journal: BP’s loan coverage up to $9 billion

And see this one:
Los Angeles Times: BP escrow pays out $130 million so far

Washington Post: Pentagon continues to do business with BP
It’s really no surprise that the Defense Department continues to shake BP’s oily hand. It turns out that DoD has kept up its immense purchases of aviation fuel and other petroleum products from BP even as the oil company comes under scrutiny for potential violations of federal and state laws related to Gulf of Mexico well explosion.

Read more by R. Jeffrey Smith:

Huffington Post: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dismissed risks of deepwater drilling
It turns out that a second federal agency ignored the risks of deepwater drilling. A September 2007 memo from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said large oil spills from the proposed Gulf drilling projects under review were “low-probability events” that weren’t likely to affect brown pelicans, sea turtles and other animals with Gulf Coast habitats. That conclusion is similar to one by the former Mineral Management Service that said there was little danger in deepwater drilling.

Read more by Michael Kunzelman:

Check out this one, too
New York Times: A faulty MMS conclusion: An oil spill no risk to wildlife (subs. required)

CBS News: A new cap brings new hope
BP is still working on new ways to cap that spewing leak. A new cap the oil company plans to fit over the gushing Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico has a shot at completely containing the oil and natural gas that have been spewing out for weeks, said retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the National Incident Commander for the spill. BP hopes to have it in place by July 15. It would be bolted to the riser pipe and fitted with a rubber seal.

Read more:

Wall Street Journal: Libya may seek a stake in BP
To see how complicated oil politics really are, Shokri Ghanem, chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corp., said he will recommend buying a stake in BP to the Libyan Investment Authority, the North African state’s sovereign-wealth fund. “BP is interesting now with the price lower by half and I still have trust in BP, I will recommend it to the LIA,” Ghanem said Monday. “It’s a good opportunity for bargain hunters.” Okay, so Libya was taken off the list state-sponsored terrorist countries three years ago. Nevertheless, do we really want a country with such a rogue record on so many issues near US shores? However, do we really have a choice?

Read more:

Washington Post: How much oil is BP really skimming?
BP is collecting far less spilled oil than it originally promised, according to an article in Tuesday’s Washington Post. BP said it had the capacity to skim and remove 491,721 barrels of oil each day in the event of a major spill. As of Monday, with about 2 million barrels released into the Gulf, the skimming operations that were touted as key to preventing environmental disaster have averaged less than 900 barrels a day.

Read more by Kimberly Kindy:

AP: US to take over spill response web site
The Department of Homeland Security wants the federal government to take over control of a central information website on the Gulf oil spill response. It’s been run jointly by various agencies and BP for the 2 1/2 months since the rig explosion. Right now, it’s The only change the public will see is conversion to a dot-gov site.

Read more:

New York Times: BP begins billing partners for oil spill costs
Newly released documents show that BP sent out demands for nearly $400 million to its partners in the well, the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation and the Mitsui Oil Exploration Company of Japan, or roughly 40 percent of the $1 billion BP spent in May. The amounts demanded by BP — $272 million from Anadarko and $111 million from Mitsui. Each company shares liability equal to each company’s share of ownership. But this might be just another court battle for BP to get a check.

Read more: (subs.required)

Reuters: Presidential spill panel opens hearings July 12-13
Another big investigation into the Gulf oil spill is opening its doors. A presidential panel to probe the cause of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and recommend new rules to prevent future disasters will hold its first public meeting in New Orleans on July 12 and 13, its co-chairs announced on Saturday.

Read more:


Fabien Cousteau, grandson of the famous ocean explorer, on the Gulf Oil spill
Cousteau, whose grandfather Jacque Cousteau was the great ocean explorer, says the good news is that the Gulf will eventually recover. “Whether this takes 10, 100, or 1,000 years is completely up to us,” he tells

Read more:


CBSNews: BP messes with Texas – Tar balls hit state beaches
Tar balls from the Gulf oil spill have been found on state beaches in Texas, marking the first known evidence that gushing crude from the Deepwater Horizon well has now reached all the Gulf states – Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and now Texas.

Read more:

Times-Picayune: Moratorium goes deeper than just six months
Although President Barack Obama’s shut-down order is nominally for six months, the legislative and rule-writing process it will invoke means that realistically businesses should expect it will be a year or more before it is lifted — and longer yet before deepwater rigs resume operations.

Read more by Bruce Nolan:

Times-Picayune: Gulf area closed to fishing expands
The areas of the Gulf coast closed to fishing just got bigger. Federal officials late Sunday closed more expanses of the Gulf of Mexico to fishing as the BP oil slick shifts to new areas. The decision is a precaution against tainted seafood, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It expands the closed area to 81,181 miles, or about a third of federal waters in the Gulf.

Read more:


Times-Picayune: Is the Coast Guard working for the American people or BP?
The Coast Guard says that rules aimed at keeping the public and news media away from the oil spill response are necessary to protect the environment and the people and equipment involved in the cleanup. So far, the Coast Guard has not justified its position. the Times-Picayune writes.

Read more:

Stories you may have missed over the long, hot weekend:

Wall Street Journal: Groups seek removing of judge in moratorium case

AP: Obama awards $2B for solar-powered plants

Examiner: Fallout from oil spill: Fishing and tourism increase in Carolinas

CBS: Beautiful beaches deserted for July Oil spill may hurt duck hunting, too Not a good July 4 for northwest Florida


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