Category Archives: BP

What are we hearing from BP and how are they handling the cleanup?

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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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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No Political Will

The New York Times, on its Caucus blog tonight reports that Congressional Democrats have abandoned not only sweeping clean energy policy but also a whittled down version that would serve as a response to the BP oil spill, which was recently determined to be the largest accidental spill in history.

The piece quotes Sen. John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, who worked on comprehensive energy legislation, characterizing America’s so-called oil addiction as a non-partisan issue:

“Ask anyone outside of Washington, and they’ll tell you that this isn’t a Democrat or a Republican issue, it’s an American issue,” Mr. Kerry said. “It’s American troops whose lives are endangered because we’re dependent on oil companies in countries that hate us. It’s American consumers who are tired not just of prices at the pump that soar each summer, but sick and tired of our oil dependency that makes Iran $100 million richer every day that Washington fails to respond.”

He’s right on all counts except for one: it’s very much a partisan issue when the obstacle facing clean energy legislation–the Republican Party–has absolutely no interest in clean energy.

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No Celebrating This Record

On Day 73 of the BP Oil Spill, with 140 million gallons already spilled, there is a particularly atrocious distinction: the spill is about to become the worst spill ever in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to the Associated Press:

Based on some government estimates, more than 140 million gallons of crude have now spewed from the bottom of the sea since the April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform, eclipsing the 1979-80 disaster off Mexico that had long stood as the worst in the Gulf.

Of course, that pales in comparison to the worst spill ever — that spill during the first Persian Gulf War (that other Gulf) when Iraqi forces opened valves and let loose about 460 million gallons of oil, but that’s hardly a comforting fact.

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BP Trying to Shut Out Safety Overseer?

According to CNN, BP, has is attempting to jettison an internal safety oversight body that the petroleum giant set up four years, ago, well before the current mess in the Gulf of Mexico. The so-called “Ombudsman Program” was set up in 2005 following an explosion at BP’s Texas City Refinery that killed 15 workers and a subsequent spill in Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay, the largest-ever spill in Alaska’s north slope.

The Ombudsman Program was specifically set up to hear BP workers’ complaints regarding possible safety infractions, and, according to CNN, “112 employees have filed complaints, and 35 of them have dealt with ‘system integrity or safety issues’ that the office says are extremely serious.”

But the report goes on to cite sources close to BP that the company has a distaste for an independent investigative body, and has quietly demoted, terminated, or shutout workers in the program. The report goes on to quote Rep. Bart Stupak, the chairman of the United States House Energy Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations that is investigating the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent spill, as saying that the head of BP’s American subsidiary, Lamar McKay, told him earlier this year that the ombudsman’s office was slated for elimination.

“One of the first things Mr. McKay said was, ‘I’m going to replace the ombudsman. I’m going to shut her down,’ ” Stupak told CNN. “He wasn’t even on the job for more than a few weeks, maybe a month or two, and he wanted to shut down the ombudsman. We encouraged him not to do so.”

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