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offshore drilling 191 articles

Serious safety violations found aboard Shell Arctic oil rig

Numerous safety violations found aboard one of the Shell Corporation’s Arctic drilling rigs has raised some more red flags about oil drilling in the icy, remote northern seas where cleaning up an oil spill like the one that plagued the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 would be almost impossible. Responding to a request from Democratic staff on the House Natural Resources Committee, the U.S. Coast Guard inspected Shell’s Noble Discoverer drilling rig, a 514-foot-long log carrier that was built in 1966 and converted into a drilling rig 10 years later. What inspectors found did nothing to reassure regulators about Shell’s ... Read More

Gulf’s recovery from BP spill will require maximum fines plus $25 billion, environmental groups say

Using cleanup cost assessments from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, U.S. environmental groups say that BP needs to pay $25 billion on top of the record $17.6 billion in civil fines it may have to pay in order to restore the coast and marine habitats harmed by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. BP heads to trial in New Orleans Monday to face civil fines for violating the Clean Water Act with its massive spill, which erupted from the Macondo well about 50 miles from the Louisiana shore and a mile beneath the surface. But according to ... Read More

Judge slashes BP’s oil spill liability by 810,000 barrels

A federal judge agreed Tuesday to let BP off the hook for 810,000 barrels of the 4.9 million barrels (206 million gallons) of oil released by its blown-out Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, accepting the argument that the company collected that much oil from the source before it contaminated the water. Judge Carl Barbier’s order represents a substantial victory for BP because it reduces the maximum penalty the company would pay for violating the Clean Water Act by $3.4 billion. A federal trial is set to begin Monday in New Orleans to determine how much blame should be ... Read More

No agreement in sight makes BP oil spill trial seem inevitable

With no agreement in sight, BP officials acknowledged Tuesday that it appears the company is headed court to defend itself against civil claims related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Of primary concern to BP is the federal government’s charge that the company acted with “gross negligence” in causing the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. BP says it is prepared to defend itself vigorously against those allegations, which the company’s counsel considers to be overly harsh. “Gross negligence is a very high bar that BP believes cannot be met in this case,” general counsel Rupert Bondy said. “This ... Read More

Judge approves Transocean’s plea deal settling criminal oil spill charge

U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo in Houston has approved an agreement between Transocean Ltd. and the U.S. Justice Department to settle a criminal charge for its role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Swiss company, which leased the Deepwater Horizon rig to BP for exploratory drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, agreed to pay a $400 million penalty to settle a misdemeanor charge for violating the Clean Water Act. Judge Milazzo said that nobody voiced opposition to the proposed settlement, which both parties agreed to last month, nor did she receive any letters objecting to it. When ... Read More

Undercover video shows rig demolition’s toll on Gulf marine life

From agricultural runoff and industrial waste deposits to giant oil spills, the Gulf of Mexico isn’t always treated with the environmentally sound stewardship that a resource of such huge economic and environmental importance deserves. And now, thanks to an undercover video obtained by Mobile’s Local 15, another aspect of this sad mistreatment has gone public. The video shows the cost of demolishing one rusty old, abandoned oil rig in the Gulf not in terms of dollars but in the toll it takes on marine life. After the rig is blown up, thousands of pounds of dead red snapper float to the surface. ... Read More

BP says Gulf states’ oil spill claims are inflated, unrealistic

In its efforts to stop the financial hemorrhaging brought about the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, BP voiced strong objections to the billions of dollars in damages sought by the Gulf States and a number of municipalities harmed by the disaster. Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi are suing BP for economic and property damages under the Oil Pollution Act. For disclosure purposes in releasing the company’s financial results on Tuesday, BP calculated the states’ combined claims, arriving at a total of $34 billion. The states’ claims aren’t included in the $42.2 billion BP provisioned for in estimating the total cost ... Read More

California sues BP for ignoring, breaking state’s anti-pollution laws

California Attorney General Kamala Harris and district attorneys from eight California counties have filed a civil lawsuit against BP and its subsidiary Arco over what appears to be a chronic habit of violating state laws controlling the handling of hazardous materials and hazardous waste. The lawsuit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, accuses BP Products North America, BP West Coast Products, and Atlantic Richfield Co. (Arco) of flouting state laws since 2006 by failing to maintain, monitor, and inspect underground fuel storage tanks at about 800 BP and Arco gas stations throughout California. The lawsuit also accuses the energy companies ... Read More

BP settles criminal charges, shifts focus to civil claims and Feb. trial

BP pleaded guilty to 14 federal criminal charges Wednesday, including charges for manslaughter involving the deaths of 11 workers killed in the Deepwater Horizon explosion and obstruction of Congress for downplaying the quantity of oil that gushed from the company’s blown-out Macondo well. BP will pay $4 billion to resolve the criminal charges. Several million dollars of that money will go toward restoring coastlines harmed by the massive 2010 oil spill, which erupted about 45 miles off the Louisiana Coast.  Gulf currents spread the giant slick to the waters off of Mississippi, Alabama and Northeastern Florida, creating billions of dollars ... Read More

Cleanup on Mississippi River underway after oil barge collides with bridge

A barge carrying more than 80,000 gallons of oil struck a bridge in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Sunday, spilling an unknown amount of crude oil into the Mississippi River and creating bottlenecked traffic both on the heavily used waterway and on land. According to the Associated Press, a barge owned by Third Coast Towing LLC of Corpus Christi, Texas, was heavily damaged after it struck a railroad bridge in Vicksburg Sunday morning around 2:30 a.m. The barge and a second oil barge, also owned by Third Coast, were heavily damaged in the collision, although investigators aren’t sure whether the second barge collided ... Read More