By The Associated Press - Friday, November 16, 2012 - 0 Comments
NEW ORLEANS – Oil giant BP has agreed to plead guilty to a host…
NEW ORLEANS – Oil giant BP has agreed to plead guilty to a host of charges in the deadly Gulf of Mexico spill and pay a record $4.5 billion, including the biggest criminal fine in U.S. history, as three BP employees were also charged, two of them with manslaughter.
The settlement Thursday with the federal government came 2 1/2 years after the fiery drilling-rig explosion that killed 11 workers and set off the nation’s largest offshore oil spill.
In announcing the deal, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said the tragedy “resulted from BP’s culture of privileging profit over prudence.”
BP will plead guilty to charges involving the 11 deaths and lying to Congress about how much oil was spewing from the blown-out well.
“We believe this resolution is in the best interest of BP and its shareholders,” said Carl-Henric Svanberg, BP chairman. “It removes two significant legal risks and allows us to vigorously defend the company against the remaining civil claims.”
The settlement appears to be easily affordable for BP, which made a record $25.8 billion in profits last year. And it will have five years to pay. But the oil giant still faces several billion dollars in additional claims for damage to people’s livelihoods and the environment.
Separately, BP rig workers Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine were indicted on federal charges of manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter, accused of repeatedly disregarding abnormal high-pressure readings that should have been glaring indications of trouble just before the blowout.
In addition, David Rainey, BP’s former vice-president of exploration for the Gulf of Mexico, was charged with obstruction of Congress and making false statements. Prosecutors said he withheld information that more oil was gushing from the well than he let on.
Rainey’s lawyers said he did “absolutely nothing wrong.” And attorneys for the two rig workers accused the Justice Department of making scapegoats out of them. Both men are still with BP.
“Bob was not an executive or high-level BP official. He was a dedicated rig worker who mourns his fallen co-workers every day,” Kaluza attorneys Shaun Clarke and David Gerger said in a statement. “No one should take any satisfaction in this indictment of an innocent man. This is not justice.”
The settlement, which is subject to approval by a federal judge, includes payments of nearly $2.4 billion to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, $350 million to the National Academy of Sciences and about $500 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which accused BP of misleading investors by lowballing the amount of crude that was spilling.
It also includes nearly $1.3 billion in fines.
“This marks the largest single criminal fine and the largest total criminal resolution in the history of the United States,” Attorney General Eric Holder said at a news conference in New Orleans. He said much of the money will be used to restore the Gulf.
Holder said the criminal investigation is still going on. Before Thursday, the only person charged in the disaster was a former BP engineer who was arrested in April on obstruction of justice charges, accused of deleting text messages about the company’s handling of the spill.
The largest previous corporate criminal penalty assessed by the Justice Department was a $1.2 billion fine against drug maker Pfizer in 2009.
Greenpeace blasted the settlement as a slap on the wrist.
“This fine amounts to a rounding error for a corporation the size of BP,” the environmental group said.
Nick McGregor, an oil analyst at Redmayne-Bentley Stockbrokers, said the settlement would be seen as “an expensive positive.”
“This scale of bill is unpleasant,” he said. But “the worst-case scenario for BP would be an Exxon Valdez-style decade of litigation. I think that is the outcome they are trying to avoid.”
Still, for BP, the cost of the tragedy could climb much higher.
For one thing, the U.S. government and the Gulf states are still seeking billions of dollars in civil penalties against BP over the environmental damage.
Also, a federal judge in New Orleans is deciding whether to approve an estimated $7.8 billion settlement between BP and more than 100,000 businesses and individuals who say they were harmed by the spill. They include fishermen, charter boat captains, restaurants, hotels and property owners.
The Deepwater Horizon rig blew up 50 miles (80 million kilometres) off Louisiana on April 20, 2010, in an explosion that investigators blamed on time-saving, cost-cutting decisions by BP and its drilling partners in cementing the well shaft.
Following several failed attempts that introduced the American public to such industry terms as “top kill” and “junk shot,” BP finally capped the well on the sea floor after more than 85 days.
By then, the well had spewed an estimated 172 million gallons (651 million litres) of crude into the Gulf, fouling marshes and beaches, killing wildlife and closing vast areas to fishing.
BP will plead guilty to 11 felony counts of misconduct or neglect of a vessel’s officers, one felony count of obstruction of Congress and one misdemeanour count each under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Clean Water Act. The workers’ deaths were prosecuted under a federal law that protects seamen.
Nelda Winslette’s grandson Adam Weise of Yorktown, Texas, was killed in the blast. She said somebody needs to be held accountable.
“It just bothers me so bad when I see the commercials on TV and they brag about how the Gulf is back, but they never say anything about the 11 lives that were lost. They want us to forget about it, but they don’t know what they’ve done to the families that lost someone,” she said.
Sherri Revette, who lost her husband of 26 years, Dewey Revette, of State Line, Mississippi, said the indictments against the employees brought mixed emotions.
“I’m saddened, but I’m also happy at the same time that they will be prosecuted. I feel for them, of course. You never know what impact your actions will have on others,” she said.
Frank Parker, a shrimper from Biloxi, Mississippi, said: “I just hope the money gets down to the people who need it.”
Scientists warn that the spill’s full effect on the Gulf food chain may not be known for years. But they have reported oil-coated coral reefs that were dying, and fish have been showing up in nets with lesions and illnesses that biologists fear could be oil-related. Oil churned up by storms could be washing up for years.
The spill exposed lax government oversight and led to a temporary ban on deep-water drilling while officials and the industry studied the risks and worked to make it safer. BP’s environmentally friendly image was tarnished, and CEO Tony Hayward stepped down after some gaffes that included lamenting at the height of the crisis: “I’d like my life back.”
The cost of the spill far surpassed that of the Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989. Exxon ultimately settled with the government for $1 billion, which would be about $1.8 billion today.
The government and plaintiffs’ attorneys have also sued Transocean Ltd., the rig’s owner, and cement contractor Halliburton, but a string of pretrial rulings by a federal judge undermined BP’s strategy of pinning blame on them.
By Colby Cosh - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 1:32 AM - 0 Comments
“Learning about Enbridge’s poor handling of the rupture, you can’t help but think of the Keystone Kops,” said Deborah Hersman, chair of the NTSB. “Why didn’t they recognize what was happening? What took so long?” she said in a statement. She said that despite alarms and pressure differentials, Enbridge staff twice pumped more oil, about 81 per cent of the total release, into the ruptured pipeline. Hersman said that oil gushed from the rupture for more than 17 hours before the leak was discovered.
This is a fair bottom line when it comes to Enbridge’s Line 6B leak, which poured about a million gallons of diluted bitumen into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River on July 26, 2010. As an Albertan, with all the prejudices and interests that implies, I’ve been reading primary documents in the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation of the spill. What I slowly came to understand, to my considerable horror, is that the leak may physically have happened to a bunch of poor bastards in Michigan, but the real problem was here, in Edmonton. This is where pipeline controllers—tired, young, inexperienced pipeline controllers working in a somewhat dysfunctional environment—struggled for long hours to interpret pressure readings as anything but the unthinkable. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, June 29, 2012 at 12:37 PM - 0 Comments
The NDP dispatched Megan Leslie and several BC MPs for a tour of the province this week to discuss the environment and the Northern Gateway pipeline, including a stop in Terrace and a tour of the Douglas Channel. Video of the forum in Vancouver has been uploaded to YouTube.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 10:34 AM - 0 Comments
And later, on CBC’s Power & Politics with Evan Solomon, Oliver said tailings ponds created through oilsands development are being cleaned up. ”The fact is the tailings ponds are being cleaned up and you’ll be able to drink from them, you’ll be able to fish from them,” Oliver said. “The land will be brought back to its original state.”
Meanwhile, an oil spill has been discovered in northwest Alberta.
By Alex Ballingall - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 10:24 AM - 0 Comments
A pipeline spill in northernwestern Alberta has dumped 22,000 barrels of oil and salt…
A pipeline spill in northernwestern Alberta has dumped 22,000 barrels of oil and salt water in the muskeg outside the community of Rainbow Lake. The pipeline carries roughly 70 per cent water and 30 per cent oil, the Globe and Mail reports.
The line is owned by Calgary-based Pace Oil and Gas. The Energy Resources Conservation Board told the Canadian Press Thursday that the Pace well has been shut off, and that crews are on the ground to contain and clean up the spill.
The leak was reportedly spotted May 19 from a passing aircraft. It now covers 4.3 hectares.
From the Globe:
The company is now setting up a 50-person camp near the spill site, and has hired contract workers to clean it up. By Monday, it had recovered some 3,700 barrels of emulsion. It’s unclear how long it will take to clean up. Alberta’s Environmental Resources Conservation Board is investigating the spill.
It is just the latest of several large pipeline spills for an industry pushing to break ground on future projects to carry oil through the Rockies to the Pacific Ocean. Last year, an Enbridge pipeline leak spilled about 19,500 barrels of oil into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River.
A week earlier, a pipe operated by Plains All American Pipeline burst and dumped 28,000 barrels of oil near a small Cree community in northern Alberta. It was billed as the largest spill in nearly 36 years.
By Chris Sorensen - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at 11:50 AM - 0 Comments
After gaining infamy during the Gulf of Mexico spill, the former BP CEO is now drilling for oil in Iraqi Kurdistan
He became infamous during the Gulf of Mexico spill. Now he’s drilling for oil in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Drilling for oil has become an increasingly risky business. Most unexploited reservoirs are either far below the ocean, or in parts of the world where extracting the fossil fuel is either exceedingly expensive (like Alberta’s oil sands), or too dangerous. And Tony Hayward, the former chief executive of BP, doesn’t seem fazed by any of it.
After leaving BP last year in the wake of the disastrous Gulf of Mexico spill, Hayward recently re-emerged at the helm of a London-based energy investment company that, far from playing it safe, is hoping to strike it rich in one of the most geopolitically challenging places on earth: Iraqi Kurdistan. With Americans still furious about his now infamous Gulf crisis remark, “I want my life back,” Hayward earlier this year joined forces with financier Nat Rothschild, ex-Goldman Sachs banker Julian Metherell and entrepreneur Tom Daniels to create a so-called “blank cheque” investment company. Called Valleres PLC, it promised to buy and run an oil company somewhere in the world—and raised US$2.2 billion. “He is one of the most talented oil executives in the world,” says Karl Moore, a business professor at McGill University. “And some rich people saw that and said, ‘Hey, now we can get this guy to work for us.’ ”
By Joseph Boyden - Monday, May 2, 2011 at 10:35 AM - 3 Comments
It’s been a year since the BP disaster, and nobody has learned anything
Already it’s been a year since the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon. Eleven men lost their lives in that tragic—and absolutely avoidable—event, one that ushered in a new, dark era for the population of the Gulf Coast. What we witnessed slowly, sickeningly unfold down here over the next several months, like some crawling black plague into the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, was not just the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, but one of the worst in recent world history.
Yes, we along the coast were already steeled to face federal, state and local government inaction and plain old confusion, masked by lies that tried to downplay the scope of the crisis. A hurricane half a decade ago prepared us for that. What many of us sadly weren’t prepared for was to have British Petroleum, that monstrous multinational powerhouse, whisper sweet nothings into our ears about how everything was going to be just fine, us little guys bent painfully over its leaking oil barrels. Apparently, it’s the whole “fool me once, shame on you” scenario playing out its second chorus, and so shame on us for not wanting to dare envision that after only one short year of BP playing out its good cop/bad cop act, or should I say responsible corporation/profitable corporation ruse, it now begins the act of walking away, wiping its hands of any further blame or restitution.
People down here seem to me to exist in two very different worlds of anger when it comes to what BP has rendered in our lives. There are those most directly impacted by the spill—the commercial fishermen, oystermen and shrimpers, the very ones who deserve to be most livid—who seem to be the ones who’ve learned to temper their anger in an almost Zen-like way. And then there are the rest of us who care, a large and amorphous group, the ones who were less directly affected and yet, ironically, seem the most deeply angry at this mess that’s been left behind on our doorstep.
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 4:31 PM - 1 Comment
One-year anniversary of the BP oil spill
Drilling has resumed in the Gulf of Mexico, which only a year ago suffered widespread environmental devastation on a scale the U.S. has never seen. The CBC reports that Washington has approved a handful of permits which will allow for oil exploration in the Gulf, with some Republicans pushing for even more. “The fact of the matter is we have a tremendous abundance of fossil fuels that we need to utilize,” said Representative Doc Hastings, a Republican from Washington state. Hastings is shepherding three bills through the House that would allow drilling on the west and east coasts following a 30-year-ban.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 12:41 PM - 2 Comments
Oil company points to signs of recovery in the Gulf
BP has complained that Kenneth R. Feinberg, the man appointed to oversee the fund to compensate victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, is overstating the cost of future damages and is being too generous with his estimates of final settlements to claimants. BP concluded that there is “no credible support for adopting an artificially high future loss factor based purely on the inherent degree of uncertainty in predicting the future and on the mere possibility that future harm might occur.” The rules laid out by Feinberg in determining final settlements paid out by the fund state that damages would be double the 2010 losses for most claims, minus any money previously paid out by the fund. BP, on the other hand, places the cost of likely damage at just 25-50 percent of 2010 losses, saying that all fishing grounds have been reopened and the tourist sector is recovering steadily. Thus far, the recovery fund has given out over $3.5-billion in emergency funds, with about 100,000 people filing for a final settlement. 90,000 claimants have opted for a quick-pay process that hands out $5,000 to individuals and $25,000 to small businesses. While Feinberg was appointed by BP to oversee the settlements process, this public disagreement has bolstered Feinberg’s credibility as an independent overseer.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 12:29 PM - 4 Comments
Companies chose saving money, time over safety
A presidential commission is blaming oil companies and federal regulators for the BP oil disaster that left 11 rig workers dead and the Gulf of Mexico awash in millions of gallons of oil. While BP bears the brunt of the blame, the commission’s report also faults Transocean, which owned the Deepwater Horizon rig, and Halliburton, which oversaw the sealing of the well, for making decisions aimed at saving time and money. Inadequate oversight and regulation on the part of the Department of the Interior, which did not have enough qualified staff to inspect the drilling operation, allowing the companies to cut corners. The report concludes that the disaster was an avoidable and recurring consequence of “systemic” inadequacies in industry practices and government policies.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 11:26 AM - 3 Comments
Settlement for rig explosion could reach into the tens of billions of dollars
The U.S. Department of Justice has launched a lawsuit against BP and eight other companies over the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s not yet clear how much money is at stake in the suit, but the potential fines and penalties could reach into the tens of billions of dollars. To go along with its civil suit, Attorney General Eric Holder also said the department was “making progress” on its criminal investigation of the spill. The suit hinges on the government’s allegations companies working on the Deepwater Horizon rig violated federal regulations, including the failure to take necessary precautions in securing the rig before the explosion and the failure to use the safest drilling technology.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 4:20 PM - 0 Comments
Huge plume is unaccounted for in government reports
A report published in the journal Science asserts there’s a 35-kilometer long submerged plume of oil in the depths of the Gulf of Mexico. The oily cloud measured two kilometers wide and 200 meters thick, and was drifting through the Gulf at a depth of at least 900 meters. The report is the most authoritative challenge yet to White House assertions that most of the 5 million barrels of oil that leaked into the Gulf are gone. “These results indicate that efforts to book-keep where the oil went must now include this plume,” said Christopher Reddy, one of the members of the team from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. The report also said that the plume was slow to break down by natural forces, which means the oil could have traveled long distances in the Gulf before it was degraded.
By Colby Cosh - Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 9:35 AM - 0 Comments
From the courts to Capitol Hill, America is turning on Alberta oil
Karl Marx said that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. The April 20 explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico was certainly an epic tragedy, from the all-but-forgotten deaths of 11 workers on the platform to the eventual fall of CEO Tony Hayward—a man handpicked for the job when his mentor John Browne succumbed to the political after-effects of a refinery explosion. By comparison, the July 26 rupture of line 6B in Enbridge’s Lakehead pipeline system seems a trivial matter. The total volume of crude oil dumped into the Michigan countryside before isolation valves closed the pipe is estimated by Calgary-based Enbridge at 19,500 barrels—somewhere between seven and 13 hours worth of flow from the Horizon wellhead.
By macleans.ca - Friday, August 6, 2010 at 12:35 PM - 0 Comments
‘Static kill’ ensures no oil will leak into the water, U.S. government says
BP announced Thursday its engineers have successfully plugged the hole at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico with mud and concrete, sealing it permanently. By 2:15 p.m. on Thursday, the company said it had pumped enough concrete and heavy mud into the hole—a process known as a “static kill”—to push the oil back to its original reservoir. BP will also pump mud and concrete through a relief well this month to suffocate the source of the oil. Retired U.S. Coast Guard admiral Thad Allen, the government’s point man on the oil spill disaster, said the plug will “virtually assure us that there will be no oil leaking into the environment.”
By macleans.ca - Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 11:53 AM - 0 Comments
Environment minister says Mexico has spent $35 million monitoring spill
The Mexican government is planning to make BP and the U.S. government pay for damages and costs associated with BP’s ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. Mexican Environment Minister Juan Elvira told the state news agency Notimex the government will sue BP for environmental damages and for the money Mexico spent monitoring the spill. Although the Notimex report indicated the Mexican government plans to make both BP and the United States pay, it was not clear from the story whether Mexico is planning to file suit against the U.S. government as well as the company. Though no oil has been found in Mexican waters, Elvira said Mexico has already spent $35 million monitoring the spill.
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 3:07 PM - 0 Comments
U.S. government report to conclude most of the oil from the Gulf spill is no longer in the water
A report that’s yet to be released by the U.S. government is expected to concludes that 74 percent of the oil that spilled out from BP’s well in the Gulf of Mexico is no longer contaminating the water due to capture, burning, skimming, evaporation, dissolution or dispersion. Though the report says long term effects remain unknown, the oil poses no immediate threat. “There’s absolutely no evidence that there’s any significant concentration of oil that’s out there that we haven’t accounted for,” said Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The new report is being met with skepticism—advocacy groups and other scientists only became aware of it on Tuesday—given that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was the same agency that lowballed early oil gush estimates and downplayed the spill’s environmental impact. The news comes as BP has started operation Static Kill, which the company hopes will stop the flow of oil until relief wells are drilled.
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, August 3, 2010 at 11:53 AM - 0 Comments
Estimate now at 5 million barrels
Scientists have confirmed that the BP disaster is the worlds’ largest oil spill. U.S. federal scientists estimate that since the Horizon rig exploded on April 20, nearly five million barrels of oil have gushed from the rig. The 3.3 million barrel spill into the Bay of Campeche by the Mexican rig Ixtoc in 1979 was believed to be the largest spill. Though the BP spill was acknowledged to be the largest in American history, it was unclear whether it was bigger than Ixtoc. Since April, the estimates of the BP flow rate have steadily increased. Under the Clean Water Act, the U.S. government will penalize BP $1,100 a barrel. If the government finds that gross negligence led to the spill they could be charged $4,300 per barrel. Today, BP is undergoing tests to decide whether it’s safe to drill mud into the Macando well and seal it by the end of the week. That will curb the oil gush until the relief wells are operating. The relief wells are scheduled to work by Aug. 15, at which time engineers can pump cement into the well in the hopes of permanently sealing it.
By macleans.ca - Sunday, July 25, 2010 at 1:47 PM - 0 Comments
BP believes the only way to repair relations in U.S. is for the CEO to step down
BP CEO Tony Hayward is said to be in meetings this weekend finalizing his exit deal—reportedly a one-million pound package and a 10-million pound pension. While the company denies any change, the Guardian newspaper reports that the reins will be handed over to Bob Dudley, who is overseeing the cleanup operation in the Gulf of Mexico. The company came to realize that in order to repair their dealings with the U.S., Hayward would have to go. Dudley is a U.S. citizen, with a strong track record at BP and Amoco before that.
By macleans.ca - Friday, July 23, 2010 at 11:54 AM - 0 Comments
Tropical storm Bonnie expected to delay work by 10-12 days
Workers building the relief well to permanently stop the BP oil leak are heading back to safety on shore today as Tropical Storm Bonnie blows west over Florida in the direction of the spill site. The leaking well has been capped for a week but officials say it’s only a temporary solution until the “static kill” procedure is performed or the relief well is completed. Bonnie is expected to delay work on the relief well for 10 to 12 days, making mid-August the new target for completion, says BP. The storm is expected to reach the well site late Saturday or early Sunday.
By macleans.ca - Friday, July 23, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
The Clintons are pleased to announce almost nothing, Arcade Fire’s class act, and Rowan Atkinson’s cunning plan
If they had a million dollars
Montreal rockers Arcade Fire will match donations up to $1 million to Kanpe, a charity rebuilding family life after the Haitian earthquake. “We’re all family in times like this,” said Régine Chassagne, whose parents were born in Haiti. “Please,” her husband Win Butler urged fans, “take our money.”
For better and worse, check
In 1984, Steve Fonyo ran across Canada, raising $13 million for cancer research, an epic achievement for a 19-year-old with a prosthetic leg. His life since, always in the shadow of the late Terry Fox who attempted a similar feat in 1981, has been a train wreck. He was stripped of the Order of Canada last year after a long battle with addictions and multiple criminal convictions. He’d hoped a planned Aug. 28 wedding would signal a turnaround, but that, too, went off the rails when it was revealed last week that his fiancée, Lisa Greenwood, is serving a jail sentence for theft and assault. Victoria-area business people, who had planned to underwrite the ceremony at the city’s Fonyo Beach, where he’d ended his run, rescinded their offer. John Vickers, executive director of the Victoria Truth Centre, who helped arrange the event, said the couple’s “lives are too complicated at this time for a supported wedding to occur.”
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 2:08 PM - 0 Comments
London Times reports that BP’s Chief executive to leave before October
BP has announced CEO Tony Hayward is planning to step down before October 1 and that it plans to sell $7 billion of gas assets for its Gulf of Mexico clean up fund according to The Times of London. The new strategy was conceived by a group called Future BP. Hayward’s departure is a defense against a buyout by ExxonMobil or Royal Dutch Shell. An American running BP’s Gulf Coast Restoration Organisation, Robert Dudley, is rumoured to take Hayward’s position. However, despite the report, a BP spokesperson has said that Hayward “has full support from the board and will remain in place”.
By macleans.ca - Sunday, July 18, 2010 at 1:10 PM - 0 Comments
BP: Tests show no damage to undersea well
BP is claiming success after a sealing cap has managed to block oil from gushing into the Gulf of Mexico for the first time since April 20, with tests showing no damage to the undersea well. The experimental cap could remain in place until the well is permanently plugged by cement and mud, says Doug Suttles, the company’s chief operating officer. The U.S. government estimates the well pumped up to 9.5 million litres of oil into the sea every day since the initial explosion.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 4:29 PM - 0 Comments
New cap should at least temporarily halt oil spill
Three months and nearly 200 million gallons of oil later, BP announced Thursday afternoon it has finally stopped the gushing from its deepwater well in the Gulf of Mexico. BP vice president Kent Wells nonetheless says the cap that’s in place is only a test to see whether the well remains strong enough to withstand the pressure from the leak. However the new cap is believed to be the first realistic opportunity to cap the leak and at least limit the damage to the Gulf.
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 2:31 PM - 0 Comments
Drilling on relief well and tests on a new cap both postponed
BP has stopped drilling on a relief well that is believed to be the only permanent fix available for the spill the Gulf of Mexico for at least 48 hours, delaying its completion by a few days. BP also announced that it would be delaying the integrity testing of a new cap designed to be fitted on top of the well. Government officials and BP say they need more time for analysis before testing can proceed. No date has been set for when testing will begin.
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 1:10 PM - 0 Comments
BP prepares attempt to stop the spill through pressure tests
For the first time, BP will attempt to completely stop the spewing BP oilrig in the Gulf of Mexico. On Tuesday, the oil company prepared to conduct pressure tests with a new, tighter-fitting cap to see if they can stop the
leak. Kent Wells, a senior vice president of the company, said at a briefing that the installation of the new cap was completed Monday evening. “It really went extremely well,” he said. “But we know that the job’s not over
yet.” First, they must test the cap for 48 hours. If tests show that the pressure is rising and holding with no significant damage to the casing pipe that runs to 13,000 feet below the seafloor, BP could decide to leave the valves closed, which would mean the well is shut. Tests could also reveal pressures that are lower than expected, Mr. Wells said, which would mean the well is damaged and that oil and gas are still leaking into the surrounding rock.