BP Is Nailed For Deepwater Horizon Catastrophe
by Deacon Blues
BP Plc rejoined bidders for exploration and production leases in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday and won 24 tracts after the U.S. government lifted a 16-month ban barring the company from new federal contracts.
The Environmental Protection Agency in late 2012 barred BP from bidding on new federal contracts, citing a "lack of business integrity." The action came after the company's 2010 Macondo oil well blowout killed 11 rig workers and unleashed more than 4 million barrels of crude into the Gulf in the worst offshore oil disaster in U.S. history.
Last week, the EPA lifted the ban which barred BP from bidding on new Gulf leases as well as other new contracts, such as fuel supply for the U.S. military. The deal came after the oil major committed to a set of safety, ethical and corporate governance requirements.
A federal judge ruled on Thursday that BP was grossly negligent in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil well blowout that killed 11 workers, spilled millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and soiled hundreds of miles of beaches.
“BP’s conduct was reckless,” United States District Court Judge Carl J. Barbier wrote in his sternly worded decision. Judge Barbier also ruled that Transocean, the owner of the rig, and Halliburton, the service company that cemented the well, were negligent in the accident.
But the judge put most of the blame on BP, opening the way to fines of up to $18 billion.
In a 153-page, densely technical decision, Judge Barbier described how BP repeatedly ignored mounting warning signs that the well was unstable, making decisions that he says were “primarily driven by a desire to save time and money, rather than ensuring that the well was secure.”
Judge Barbier painstakingly recreated the hurried effort to temporarily shut in a problematic well, deemed by some to be “the well from hell,” and shows how a series of problems, many of which were suspected by the rig’s crew, led to the blowout. Even after noting these anomalies, BP crew members ignored test results that should have reinforced caution, and, if heeded, could have prevented the disaster even in its final minutes, he wrote.
So a lone federal judge is able to clearly demonstrate that BP was grossly negligent based on technical evidence, and yet the Obama administration, while in the midst of suing BP over the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, still clears BP to resume drilling in the Gulf and win bids?
It's good to know Obama's EPA and Department of the Interior are so concerned about the public's interest.