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BP ordered to appear in court after refusing to pay oil-spill claim center’s operating bill

BP is refusing to pay a $130.3-million bill for the Deepwater Horizon Claims Center’s operations, and a U.S. magistrate judge wants to know why. The Deepwater Horizon settlement fund, which pays claims to individuals and businesses harmed by BP’s 2010 Gulf oil spill, forwarded a letter it received from BP that said the oil giant would not make the third-quarter advance payment to operate the claims center. BP said that the bill would go unpaid until it is satisfied that fund administrators are paying claims properly. The problem is that the claims are being paid on terms that BP designed, ... Read More

BP’s Dudley says he’ll keep fighting claims paid under the oil spill settlement terms

LONDON — BP has hit dead ends in its all of its efforts to freeze payments on oil-spill claims under the settlement agreement terms it helped craft, but chief executive officer Robert Dudley vows to keep fighting. BP says that claims administrators are resolving “false and fictitious” claims made by some businesses with excessive payments and has asked U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans to stop claims administrator Patrick Juneau from paying any further damages until the settlement terms can be reconsidered by the court. Judge Barbier has rejected BP’s allegations and its request to halt payments pending ... Read More

Halliburton pleads guilty to criminal charges for destroying BP oil spill evidence

Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. has agreed to plead guilty to destroying evidence that could have helped investigators understand the company’s role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, which killed 11 workers and set off the largest oil spill in U.S. history. According to the U.S. Justice Department, Halliburton will pay the maximum statutory fine of $200,000 under the plea agreement, which will also put the company on three years of probation. Halliburton has also agreed to cooperate with the U.S. government’s ongoing criminal investigation of the spill. In what the DOJ says is a “separate” arrangement, Halliburton will also make ... Read More

Transocean must hand over BP oil spill documents, appeals court rules

Transocean lost a motion it hoped would allow it to avoid turning over internal documents related to the 2010 BP oil spill. A panel of three judges in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans denied the company’s motion to stay judgment pending its appeal and hand over documents subpoenaed by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), a federal board that investigates the release of regulated substances from a stationary source into the environment. The CSB has been investigating Transocean’s potential role in BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster, which killed 11 people and set off the ... Read More

Judge again rejects BP’s request to halt claims payments

The federal judge overseeing BP litigation in New Orleans has struck down BP’s latest effort to freeze payments made to claimants harmed by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The court’s decision means the oil giant could be running out of options to suspend payments being made under the terms of the settlement it agreed to last year. BP had asked Judge Carl Barbier to stop claimant payments while an investigation of two lawyers connected to claims administrator Patrick Juneau is underway. BP alleges that Lionel Sutton and his wife Christine Reitano, who were helping ... Read More

Gulf oil sheens coming from Deepwater Horizon rig debris, study finds

BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill has been making encore appearances ever since it erupted in the Gulf of Mexico a few dozen miles off the Louisiana coast, a group of researchers has concluded in a recent report. In the fall of 2012, many Gulf Coast residents were alarmed by news that more mysterious oil sheens were being found in the vicinity of BP’s Macondo well, which blew out more than three years ago, killing 11 workers and toppling the Deepwater Horizon rig. The new oil elevated concerns that BP’s well, which company engineers and contractors had capped and plugged ... Read More

ExxonMobil fights to keep recent pipeline inspections a secret

ExxonMobil last week provided a copy of a metallurgical analysis to federal regulators detailing flaws in its Pegasus pipeline that researchers believe formed the root cause of the March 29 oil spill in Mayflower, Ark. But the oil giant is fighting to keep the information about recent inspections of the 850-mile pipeline out of the public eye, triggering concerns that the 70-year-old tube may have many more oil spills in store for those in its path. According to Fox 16 in Little Rock, “Six weeks before the spill happened ExxonMobil sent a piece of equipment through the line during a ... Read More

BP’s request to halt oil-spill damage payments to be heard on Friday

As BP’s blown-out Macondo well gushed oil in the Gulf of Mexico throughout the spring and summer of 2010, BP engineers tried repeatedly to cap the runaway well and kill the oil spill, and repeatedly they failed. Now, years later, the BP legal team’s strategies mirror that frantic effort, only instead of capping oil, its lawyers are trying to stop the financial bleeding by fighting damage claims. The settlement that defines who is entitled to oil-spill damages and how those damages are calculated, like the Macondo well itself, is a product of BP’s design and approval. Facing the true scope ... Read More

Scientific analysis underscores risks of ExxonMobil’s Pegasus pipeline

ExxonMobil has released information concerning the cause of a March 29 rupture in its Pegasus oil pipeline, which flooded a Mayflower, Ark., neighborhood and surrounding woodlands with more than a million gallons of dense Canadian tar sands oil. According to the oil company, an independent metallurgical analysis of the 70-year-old pipeline determined that original manufacturing defects formed the root cause of its failure. Those defects included small hook cracks near the seam where the breach occurred. “Additional contributing factors include atypical pipe properties, such as extremely low impact toughness and elongation properties across the … seam,” ExxonMobil said in a ... Read More

New report says U.S. isn’t fully accounting for BP’s environmental damages

The U.S. government’s current methods of estimating the environmental destruction BP’s 2010 oil spill unleashed on the Gulf of Mexico are inadequate and don’t fully account for all the damage done to the Gulf, a panel of scientists concluded in a National Research Council report. The 254-page report, compiled by 16 scientists at the request of Congress, provides a detailed analysis of how the government’s efforts to put a price on the destruction fail to capture the full scope and magnitude of the environmental and economic damages the BP spill caused to the Gulf’s ecology, marine life, fisheries, and economy. ... Read More