BP & Oil Partner to Resume Operations of Well located 20 Miles from Deepwater Horizon

Noble Energy, a Houston-based oil company, has received permits from the US Government to continue its operation of a new well only 20 miles away from the site of the Deepwater Horizon and the Macondo Well. Noble Energy will operate the well, but the biggest stakeholder in the ownership of the well is BP, having a 46.5% stake. Noble had begun drilling the well before the oil spill, but ceased its operations when President Obama issued a moratorium on all oil exploration and production in the Gulf. Now that the moratorium is over, Noble & BP are eager to drill.

Deepwater Horizon Burning

The Santiago Well, as it is known, will be the first operational well since the BP Oil Spill disaster. The opening of the well effectively puts BP back into the Gulf of Mexico oil business.

The Law Offices of Charlie Tebbutt represents the Center for Biological Diversity in its Clean Water Act lawsuit against BP & Transocean. The lawsuit seeks to hold those responsible for the disaster in the gulf fully accountable. Check out more at www.charlietebbutt.com.

Bottom of Gulf Still oily from Spill; Methane gas gets another look

Over the weekend scientists reported that portions of the sea floor surrounding the Macondo Well were still oily and dead. Samantha Joye, a marine scientist with the University of Georgia, discovered that oil isn’t degrading nearly as fast as BP claims. Joye stated that “Magic microbes consumed maybe 10 percent of the total discharge.”

Dead crab with oil residue

Joye’s research revealed that the burning of oil left a huge amount of soot on the ocean floor. This soot, combined with the thousands of tons of methane gas that was released in addition to oil, may be hindering the natural processes that degrade petroleum products.

Joye’s research also discusses the effects of the methane gas which was also released from the well. Methane has been largely overlooked by the media, but a recent report in Nature Geoscience estimates that 260,000 to 500,000 tons of the chemical discharged into the ocean during the spill. Methane is concerning because it disrupts the natural oxygen balance in the Gulf, impacting biological cycles and potentially suffocating organisms who live in the deeper regions of the ocean. Methane also can persist for years, increasing the likelihood that biological systems will suffer some form of methane toxicity. Ian MacDonald, a scientist from Florida State University who worked with Joye, said that methane has been completely ignored by both BP and the governmental entities involved.

The Law Offices of Charlie Tebbutt represents the Center for Biological Diversity in its Clean Water Act lawsuit against BP & Transocean. The lawsuit seeks to hold those responsible for the disaster in the gulf fully accountable. Check out more at www.charlietebbutt.com.

Oil Spill Commission: BP Had Opportunity to Prevent Spill

The President’s Oil Spill Commission released more information Thursday highlighting BP’s negligence in the events leading up to the Gulf Oil Spill. In particular, investigators found that BP had engineers aboard the Deepwater Horizon that should have been consulted about unexpected results from pressure tests of the well. The report states that “events likely would have turned out differently” had BP employees discussed the results with BP engineers, as the tests revealed there was something wrong with the way the well was constructed. The report further implicated Halliburton’s cement-job, as the millions of barrels of oil and gas that were released from the well “almost certainly” came through an area that should have been blocked by Halliburton’s cement. Apparently BP knew that Halliburton’s engineers were “just good enough technically to get by,” resulting in BP’s own engineers having to “work around” Halliburton staff because they were “not cutting it.” Still, BP’s engineers “neither reviewed [Halliburton’s] work at Macondo carefully, nor even checked to see if [it] conducted testing in a timely manner…even though they knew that [Halliburton’s] last minute changes to the cement design test could cause problems and that using nitrogen-foamed cement could pose significant stability challenges.”

The report rehashed the Commission’s earlier conclusion: This was an entirely preventable disaster, caused by poor management decisions.

In related news, BP wrote a scathing letter to settlement czar Ken Feinberg, proclaiming that Feinberg’s settlement proposals are too generous. BP argues in its letter that smaller settlement proposals are warranted, as well as stricter rules on proving economic losses.

The Law Offices of Charlie Tebbutt represents the Center for Biological Diversity in its Clean Water Act lawsuit against BP & Transocean. The lawsuit seeks to hold those responsible for the disaster in the gulf fully accountable. Check out more at www.charlietebbutt.com.

DOJ Budget Request – Give us Money to Prosecute BP

US DOJ

As reported by Lawrence Hurley, E&E Daily, the US DOJ is requesting additional funding from Obama’s 2012 budget proposal to prosecute BP and others in relation to the Gulf Oil Spill. In particular, the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of DOJ is asking for $117 million to fund a total of 93 additional attorney positions. These positions would enable DOJ to handle the massive workload that has developed as the oil spill litigation evolves. Overall, DOJ is requesting a 2% increase, seeking a total of $28.2 billion.

Charlie spoke with Mr. Hurley in connection with his piece. Charlie noted that the request indicates that the feds have “recognized the enormity of the case,” and that Congress “had better fund them fully.” If not, “they shouldn’t complain about what happens.”

The Law Offices of Charlie Tebbutt represents the Center for Biological Diversity in its Clean Water Act lawsuit against BP & Transocean. The lawsuit seeks to hold those responsible for the disaster in the gulf fully accountable. Check out more at www.charlietebbutt.com.

Sierra Club Intervenes in Fed’s BP Lawsuit

The Sierra Club has announced that it will intervene in the Department of Justice’s lawsuit against BP, Transocean, and others. The Government’s case seeks relief under the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act.

The Sierra Club’s intention is to push for the maximum penalties against the defendants. Environmental groups like the Sierra Club have greater flexibility in buttressing the government’s arguments.

CBD Logo

The Center for Biological Diversity brought the first Clean Water Act case against BP and others in the wake of the gulf oil disaster, months before the Sierra Club or the Federal Government became involved. As Center attorney Brendan Cummings noted, “we filed our case in part because it was unclear whether the Obama administration will actually attempt to hold BP fully accountable for the damage caused by the spill and seek fines commensurate with the damages.”

The Law Offices of Charlie Tebbutt represents the Center in its Clean Water Act lawsuit against BP and others.

BP oil spill will cause longterm health impacts

According to NOLA.com, scientists have discovered excessive concentrations of toxic chemicals in individuals who had direct contact with waters fouled by oil and the dispersant Corexit. A man in his 40s had more than five times the amount of ethylbenzene in his blood than the average person; a three-year-old had three times the normal level of organic hydrocarbons. Wilma Subra, an environmental scientist and advocate, believes these results demonstrate that the long-term health impacts of the oil spill will be felt for generations. Most of those tested also had elevated levels of benzene and Xylene in their bloodstream.

Symptoms felt by those examined included skin irritation, nausea, headaches and vomiting. Liver and kidney damage, as well as cardiac arrhythmia and chronic respiratory problems have also been observed. Benzene, ethylbenzene and Xylene can cause any or all of these symptoms, and are constituents of the crude oil spilled into the Gulf.

The Law Offices of Charlie Tebbutt represents the Center for Biological Diversity in its Clean Water Act lawsuit against BP & Transocean. The lawsuit seeks to hold those responsible for the disaster in the gulf fully accountable. Check out more at www.charlietebbutt.com.

Judge Barbier Requires More Transparency from BP, Feinberg

U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier has determined that BP and Kenneth Feinberg, the man in charge of the $20 billion Gulf Coast Claims Facility, must be more transparent in their handling of settlement claims. Importantly, the Judge found that Feinberg is not a neutral party and certainly not “independent,” as BP described him. Instead,Mr. Feinberg role as administrator of the fund is really just that of a BP agent. This, of course, would explain why the first major payment out of the claims facility was to a BP partner, as described here. As part of Judge Barbier’s decision, BP must disclose in all communications to potential claimants that the Gulf Coast Claims Facility is acting on behalf of BP.

Feinberg still gets a pretty good deal: BP is allegedly paying his firm a whopping $850,000/month to handle the fund. Hard to argue with a straight face that Mr. Feinberg is “independent,” given the amount of compensation he is receiving from his client. One can understand now why things seem to be going slowly…

Courtesly of ai.com

Judge Barbier summed it up nicely:

“The clear record in this case demonstrates that any claim of the GCCF’s neutrality and independence is misleading to putative class members and is a direct threat to this ongoing litigation, as claimants must sign a full release against all potential defendants before obtaining final payments.”

The Law Offices of Charlie Tebbutt represents the Center for Biological Diversity in its Clean Water Act lawsuit against BP & Transocean. The lawsuit seeks to hold those responsible for the disaster on the gulf coast fully accountable. Check out more at www.charlietebbutt.com.