Gulf Oil Spill Disaster Summary

From the good folks at NRDC.
Today’s summary
Hindsight is everything but it’s small comfort to the families of the 11 men who died in the April 20 rig explosion or the thousands of people along the Gulf coast who will be living with the effects of this disaster for many years to come. Nevertheless, investigators are learning a few things that will stand to improve safe deep sea oil drilling in the future. And the Interior Department has issued new regulations for oil and natural-gas drilling in US waters with an eye toward improving safety and we-control. But will it work? Meanwhile, BP CEO Bob Dudley says BP engaged in no ‘gross negligence’ that precipitated the devastating spill. Of course, he has to say that because BP would be facing even higher penalties if legal authorities conclude that was the case. BP is pledging assets from its other Gulf oil wells, a move seen by some as a piece of mischief to keep the US from banning future deepwater drilling for any longer than it already has. Claims administrator Ken Feinberg has now paid out $771 million in claims for oil spill victims and has made good on his promise to speed up the process. BP expects to restart paying dividends next year after a hiatus caused by the oil spill.

Quotable Quote
We are raising the bar for safety oversight and environmental protection at every stage of the development and drilling process,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said. “Operators will be required to meet new standards for well design, casing and cementing.”

Also see:
We don’t believe we have been grossly negligent in anything we’ve seen in any of the investigations,” BP CEO Bob
Dudley said.

National News

Los Angeles Times: Interior Dept issues new offshore oil rules
The Macondo well may be dead, but efforts to prevent another catastrophe are very much alive. The Department of Interior issued new rules Thursday to improve the safety of deepwater oil- and gas-drilling operations in the wake of BP’s disastrous oil spill. They include clamping down drilling safety and workplace safety aimed at preventing another one. Administration officials and independent experts said the rules are an important step toward resumption of deepwater exploration.

Read more,0,1474142.story

also see

And check this one out, too

AFP: Dudley: BP sees no ‘gross negligence’ in Gulf oil spill
BP may be paying out billions to clean up the Gulf and making good on claims filed by hundreds of residents. But it doesn’t think it will be accused of “gross negligence.” That’s what Bob Dudley, BP’s new CEO, has to say about it. A finding of gross negligence would dramatically increase the fines assessed due to the spill and could open BP up to criminal charges and more substantial civil liabilities. And so it stands to reason that Dudley is taking the offense on this issue. But the investigation into the worst environmental disaster in US history has only just begun. So we’ll see.

Read more

See this one, too

Reuters: BP pledges Gulf assets for oil spill fund
BP has identified oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico that it will use to help finance its $20 billion fund for victims of the worst oil spill in U.S. history. “It’s quite a clever thing that BP’s done which is, here are our deep water Gulf of Mexico assets, and we’re pledging overriding royalties as collateral which should suggest to the U.S. administration not to in any way meddle with these facilities,” said Seymour Pierce analyst Alan Sinclair.

Read more

Check this one out, too

Press-Register: Oil spill claims payments reach $771 million
Oil spill damage payments from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility reached more than $771 million Wednesday night, more than double the total of a week earlier.

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USA Today: BP puts its total costs at $11.2 billion so far
BP has spent $11.2 billion so far in responding to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the company said Friday as U.S.-born Bob Dudley took over as chief executive officer. The cost covers cleanup, containment, relief well drilling, federal costs and grants to Gulf States.

Read more

Huffington Post: 40 percent increase in carcinogenic compounds in Gulf
Bad news from researchers in the Gulf. Testing the waters off Louisiana in June, they found hugely elevated levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, some of which are known carcinogens. Water samples taken off the Mississippi, Alabama and Florida coasts — as well as air samples taken along the coast — also showed elevated levels of PAHs, but not nearly of the same magnitude.

Read more Number of responders drops off
At the peak of this spill, there were over 47, 000 responders working in vessels, working on shore, doing clean up activity. Today that number is down to 20,600. The workers are now focusing on 588 miles of oiled shore line.

Read more


Wall Street Journal: BP expects to pay a dividend next year
BP may be bruised, battered and hated over its role in the worst environmental disaster in years. But things are looking up, according to CEO Bob Dudley. He expressed confidence that the company can resume paying its dividend next year. You may remember the company suspended dividends after the oil spill much to the dismay of British pensioners who rely on the payments.

Read more

Times-Picayune: No court ruling this week on drill ban
Don’t expect a quick ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman on the Obama administration’s second moratorium on offshore oil drilling. On Thursday, the judge asked for additional information from the parties in the case.

Read more


Press-Register: Man who tried to save drowning toddler gets sick from swallowing oil
An Alabama man who tried to rescue a drowning child in rough Gulf of Mexico waters near Orange Beach became severely ill after swallowing oil and chemical dispersant, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Mobile

Read more


Times-Picayune: Heed those deadlines to file claims
Ken Feinberg has shown progress in the claims process, and he needs to continue adjusting it to make it as efficient as possible. But applicants also need to do their part, filing claims and providing some evidence of their losses, the Times-Picayune writes.

Read more The nightmare is far from over
Just what should happen now? All relevant available resources of the federal government, state and local institutions, including academia, should be harnessed to build a database that can tell us more about the long-lasting effects on the Gulf of Mexico, writes.

Read more


New York Times: Exploration vessel cannot find oil in Gulf
It may be a game of hide and seek or looking for a needle in a haystack. But halfway through a 10-day voyage, a government-sponsored expedition isn’t finding any traces from the Gulf oil spill, directly contradicting findings by several independent research teams.

Read more



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