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Judicial panel rejects motion to create another BP oil spill multidistrict litigation

A group of claimants allegedly harmed by BP’s 2010 oil spill who opted out of the March 2012 settlement agreement or were excluded from it have had their request to form a new multidistrict litigation (MDL) denied. The parties asked the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) that their claims against BP be consolidated into a new multidistrict litigation in the Southern District of Mississippi, separate from the giant MDL the JPML formed in federal court in New Orleans in August 2010. The settlement agreement reached between BP and the plaintiffs’ lawyers in March 2012 is designed to resolve hundreds ... Read More

Court orders BP to pay $130-million administrative bill, BP loses appeal

U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan on Wednesday ordered BP to pay $130 million in administrative costs to the Deepwater Horizon Claims Center – an advance payment for the oil-spill fund administrator’s third-quarter costs, which BP had earlier refused to pay. Judge Shushan said that BP’s demands for analysis, metrics and explanatory notes of each item in the DHCC’s budget request were unwarranted. In an August 3 letter, BP officer Maria Travis told a senior claims official within the center that administers damage claims to individuals and businesses harmed by BP’s massive 2010 Gulf oil spill that BP would not pay ... Read More

New report finds dispersed BP oil penetrates Gulf sand deeper, lasts longer

Scientists are finding more troubling news that the chemical oil dispersants BP used in the Gulf of Mexico to break up its massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill may be doing more environmental damage than good. While previous studies documented how BP’s oil dispersants created giant toxic plumes of dissipated oil that could remain on the Gulf floor for the next century, a new study has found the same dispersed oil is penetrating deep into the sand on shore. Markus Huettel, a professor in Florida State University’s Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science, and Alissa Zuijdgeest, a graduate student at ... Read More

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

Hercules Offshore rig partially collapses in Gulf as blown-out well feeds fire

A natural gas drilling rig owned by Walter Oil & Gas caught fire Tuesday night and partially collapsed off the Louisiana coast, a few hours after a blowout in the well forced the evacuation of 44 workers. The Hercules Offshore rig, situated in 154 feet of water about 55 miles off the coast of Grand Isle, continues to spew tons of natural gas into the Gulf. The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) reported that the beams supporting the derrick and rig floor on the Hercules Offshore rig had caved in and fallen over the rig structure. Nobody ... 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