Reuters: Scientists link oil on dolphins to BP spill

Reuters reports oil has been found on a handful of dead dolphins that washed ashore along the U.S. Gulf Coast last year.

“Fifteen of the 406 dolphins that have washed ashore in the last 14 months had oil on their bodies, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists said during a conference call with reporters,” according to the article.

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Should We Be Surprised? Commission Says Firms Knew of BP Well Flaws

Can’t say this is a shocker:

From”> the New York Times:

Firms Knew of Cement Flaws Before Spill, Panel Says

Halliburton and BP knew weeks before the fatal explosion of the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico that the cement mixture they planned to use to seal the bottom of the well was unstable but still went ahead with the job, the presidential commission investigating the accident said on Thursday.

In the first official finding of responsibility for the blowout, which killed 11 workers and led to the largest offshore oil spill in American history, the commission staff determined that Halliburton had conducted three laboratory tests that indicated that the cement mixture did not meet industry standards.

The result of at least one of those tests was given on March 8 to BP, which failed to act upon it, the panel’s lead investigator, Fred H. Bartlit Jr., said in a letter delivered to the commissioners on Thursday.

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Watch “The Spill” Tonight at 9 p.m. on PBS

We urge you to watch this program tonight at 9 p.m. on PBS about BP, and its practice of choosing money and marketing over safety.

From the PBS press release:

Long before the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf, BP was widely viewed as a company that valued deal making and savvy marketing over safety, a “serial environmental criminal” that left behind a long trail of problems — deadly accidents, disastrous spills, countless safety violations — which many now believe should have triggered action by federal regulators. Could the spill have been prevented? Through interviews with current and former employees and executives, government regulators, and safety experts, FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith joins with the investigative non-profit ProPublica to examine the trail that led to the disaster in the Gulf. From BP’s vast oil fields in Alaska to its refineries in Texas and its trading rooms in New York and London, the film raises new questions about whether BP’s corporate culture will finally be forced to change.

More information here:

If you watch, let us know what you thought!

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Mission Accomplished?

Beware proclamations trumpeting the official “end” of somethings. Unless it’s the end of a book, it’s hard to imagine. From the New York Times

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In Drilling, Timing is Everything

Chalk this one up to good timing. Employees from the Apache Mariner, the rig that exploded today, were laying into President Obama yesterday about his deepwater drilling moratorium. Will we ever learn the lessons of low-regulatory policy?

From the blog Think Progress, quoting a piece from the Financial Times:

Companies ranging from Chevron to Apache bussed in up to 5,000 employees to the Houston convention centre to underline to Washington the industry’s contribution to the country. […]

“I have been in the oil and gas industry for 40 years, and this administration is trying to break us,” said Barbara Dianne Hagood, senior landman for Mariner Energy, a small company. “The moratorium they imposed is going to be a financial disaster for the gulf coast, gulf coast employees and gulf coast residents.”

While the well, owned by Mariner Energy Inc., was too shallow to be affected by any drilling moratorium, TP goes on to cite a report in The Washington Post that references a recent SEC filing that was critical of any anticipated, increased drilling regulations.

The company said the Interior Department’s moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico had affected Mariner’s operations. It said its operations “may be impacted in the future by increased regulatory oversight, which may increase the cost of” Outer Continental Shelf wells “and delay drilling and production therefrom.”

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Coast Guard: Another Rig Explodes in the Gulf

From the Associated Press:

GRAND ISLE, La. (AP) — An offshore oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, west of the site of the April blast that caused the massive oil spill.
A commercial helicopter company reported the blast around 9:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, Coast Guard Petty Officer Casey Ranel said. Seven helicopters, two airplanes and four boats were en route to the site, about 80 miles south of Vermilion Bay along the central Louisiana coast.

The Coast Guard said initial reports indicated all 13 crew members from the rig were in the water. One was injured, but there were no deaths.

The platform owned by Mariner Energy (NYSE:ME) is in about 2,500 feet of water, the Coast Guard said, and was not currently producing.

About 206 million gallons of oil from an undersea well spilled into the Gulf after BP’s (NYSE:BP) Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers.

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Drilling for Hyperbole

For all intents and purposes, at least in the foreseeable future, the BP oil spill did nothing to change the hearts and minds of Americans, or the people that represent them. Comprehensive energy legislation, once a potential hallmark of this Congress, is going nowhere because of a palpable lack of political will, as well as careful capitalization off the anti-everything sentiment.

But remember all the fire & brimstone about the so-called job-killing drill moratorium? I’m no fan of policy moratoriums: I think they’re kind of gimmicky, and often do nothing to add to a sound, comprehensive review process, but the job killing part of the drill, baby, drill narrative didn’t pan out as promised, according to a report in the New York Times:

“[T]he worst of those forecasts has failed to materialize, as companies wait to see how long the moratorium will last before making critical decisions on spending cuts and layoffs. Unemployment claims related to the oil industry along the Gulf Coast have been in the hundreds, not the thousands, and while oil production from the gulf is down because of the drilling halt, supplies from the region are expected to rebound in future years. Only 2 of the 33 deepwater rigs operating in the gulf before the BP rig exploded have left for other fields.”

The article goes on to say that even the “government’s estimate of the impact of the drilling pause — 23,000 lost jobs and $10.2 billion in economic damage — is proving to be too pessimistic.”

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