A reaction to the reckless…

You still suck...
A horrible, no good, very bad “green” company…

 

Yesterday, Judge Carl Barbier ruled British Petroleum was guilty of gross negligence in the lead-up to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, stating BP made “profit-driven decisions” during the drilling of the well and “these instances of negligence, taken together, evince an extreme deviation from the standard of care and a conscious disregard of known risk.” Barbier went on to say that due to the “egregious” nature of BP’s actions, if legal precedent had permitted, he would have found it appropriate to tack on punitive damages in the case.

British Petroleum, feeling justice had run its due course, nodded solemnly and agreed it was time to truly make things right by dropping any further legal proceedings and began to immediately pay claims again. They also issued a heart-felt apology to all it had harmed through it’s actions over the past years.

Right.

No…instead BP immediately threatened to appeal the ruling and called the decision “erroneous,” while insinuating the court isn’t being impartial.

Now that sounds more like the oil company we all know and loathe and so, a few reactions to these events:

1. The immediate would of course be to simply express towards BP, “Good. Deal with it you responsibility shirking, PR department hiding greed-merchants. You put profit first, ruined many and you get what you deserve.”

2. A more thoughtful response could simply be wonderment…is it possible that a mega-corporation is finally being held legally responsible for their actions, and in a way that actually helps those the company has harmed? The increased fines from this ruling will benefit coastal restoration projects, and coastal restoration is good for all in Louisiana. The oil spill did much, much damage to the coast, to the wildlife, to businesses and to people. British Petroleum made a lot of promises when this was headline news, but appears to be trying to extricate themselves from their mess as much as possible now that the media has gone. This ruling puts them financially back on the hook for their reckless behavior in a way that can make a strong impact in coastal restoration.

3. BP will appeal, of course. Why not? Nothing for them to lose here in an appeal process, nothing at all. Exxon dragged the whole Valdez thing out for how long, twenty years? So of course British Petroleum will do the same. And we haven’t even gotten to the legal arguments about how many barrels of oil were actually spilled, there being a vast difference between BP’s estimate and the government’s. With the fine potentially being $4,300 dollars a barrel, there will be a huge financial difference.

4. The government could respond to BP’s endless appeals by putting financial pressure on the company. As I wrote before, the government has some leverage, for while it is certainly BP’s right to fight each and every legal ruling with time consuming appeals while people go broke, the environment continues to degrade and the coast disappears, it is also the government’s right to step in and say, “You know what? That oil spill thing has become so contentious and we just don’t want to muddy the waters any further so, BP? Yeah, we’re just going to suspend your Gulf oil leases until this is all over, settled, until everybody’s happy and then we can move forward again as partners, in good faith.”

But for now, British Petroleum continues to drill in the Gulf while at the same time play the victim in the aftermath of their own, created destruction. They say the judge is not impartial, the people are demanding too much, we can’t be blamed for the decline in oyster harvest; there isn’t enough proof. And this goes on and on and on…all while they maintain how they’re a wonderful and even “green” company who is nothing more but your humble steward doing everything they can to right what’s wrong.

It’s bullshit…like BofA, like Chase: BP’s just another company doing some, but not enough to fix the problems they created when they put profit before all. British Petroleum should, and can do a lot more by dropping their appeals, the delay tactics and any pretense at being a victim and pay up, make good on their promises.

Much appreciation to Judge Carl Barbier for an important ruling, one that might go a ways in making sure this actually happens.

Have a nice day.

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BP: encouraging the responsibility of others…

Personally, I'd love to meet him...

So, when the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement hit British Petroleum and their contractors with 15 “incidents of non-compliance,” BP expressed their hopes that now, finally, Transocean and Halliburton would admit responsibility, quit their complaining and put in the effort necessary to join BP in their current “safety first” environment.

“BP said it has taken steps to enhance safety and the sanctions show that its contractors also played a role in the spill, “We continue to encourage other parties, including Transocean and Halliburton, to acknowledge their responsibilities in the accident,” BP said in a statement.”

Because over the past 18 months, isn’t safety for the environment all British Petroleum has strived for? Of course, certainly…since the Macondo Well was plugged, BP has given nary a thought to profit and/or saving money. It is quite likely a moment of pure coincidence that such an admission of guilt by Transocean or Halliburton, as BP has asked for, would certainly bolster BP in their lawsuits against the two companies and/or avoid a declaration by the courts of “gross negligence.”

And I’m sure the savings involved in such possible events, why they never ever entered the mind of BP’s corporate personhood. Really, British Petroleum, in their new-found sense of responsibility is now all about safety, and only about safety, so it would make perfect sense for them to hope and pray that Halliburton and Transocean also make such strong safety goals a priority, you know, just like BP has and…wait, what?

Oil giant BP believes a worst-case oil spill nearly a mile below the Atlantic off Scotland would dwarf the U.S. Gulf oil spill, internal documents indicate. The contingency plans for a worst-case spill from a proposed exploratory well in wildlife-rich British waters off the Shetland Islands indicate a sea-floor oil gusher would spew 75,000 barrels of crude oil a day for 140 days before it could be capped — more than double the Gulf of Mexico spill’s 88-day average 53,000 barrels a day from April 20-July 15, 2010, the documents reviewed by Britain’s Independent newspaper indicated. The Gulf spill’s wellhead released about 4.9 million barrels before it was capped. The proposed North Uist exploratory well’s worst-case gusher would release 10.5 million barrels, the BP documents forecast.

Environmentalists say the well’s planned seabed location is in waters among the most wildlife-rich in all of Britain. Seabirds, including many rare species, are found in enormous concentrations, along with large numbers of whales, dolphins and seals and substantial fish stocks.

A BP spokesman told the newspaper the global oil and gas company was required by law to model the worst-case scenario, “But the reality is, the chances of a spill are very unlikely,” he said.

“Very unlikely,” he said.

Okay, that begs a question: what did BP consider the chances of the Deepwater Horizon blowing up to be?

Really likely? Kind of likely? Maybe kinda sorta once in a blue moon likely?

No, probably about as likely as Transocean and Halliburton are to suddenly acknowledge their responsibilities in the Macondo blowout. Or maybe just as likely as British Petroleum is to finally make all the Gulf Coast residents whole again…

No, I know, BP considered the possibility of the Deepwater Horizon exploding about as likely as BOEMRE again granting their company deep water drilling leases in the Gulf.

Wait…what?

U.S. Allows BP to Return to Gulf-Lease Bidding

Fuck.

Well, that isn’t encouraging at all.

Have a nice day.

I have a sneaking suspicion…

Woah...BP did it...almost got that one past me...

…that this whole Deepwater Horizon thing, the oil spill? Yeah, I think British Petroleum’s to blame.

Could be due to the testimony of their own employees:

“BP petrophysicist Galina Skripnikova in a closed-door deposition two months ago told attorneys involved in the oil spill litigation that there appeared to be a zone of gas more than 300 feet above where BP told its contractors and regulators with the then-Minerals Management Service the shallowest zone was located. The depth of the oil and gas is a critical parameter in drilling because it determines how much cement a company needs to pump to adequately seal a well. Federal regulations require the top of the cement to be 500 feet above the shallowest zone holding hydrocarbons, meaning BP’s cement job was potentially well below where it should have been.”

Or maybe it was due to the report released yesterday by the Joint Investigative Team of the Federal Bureau of Ocean Management, Regulation and Enforcement and the US Coast Guard which states:

“BP’s failure to fully assess the risks associated with a number of operational decisions leading up to the blowout was a contributing cause of the Macondo blowout,” and “BP’s cost- or time-saving decisions without considering contingencies and mitigation were contributing causes of the Macondo blowout.” The report notes that “at the time of the blowout, operations at Macondo were significantly behind schedule” and more than $58 million over budget.”

In any case…what concerns this writer most is whether or not British Petroleum’s actions will fall into the categories of “gross negligence” and “willful misconduct.” Simply put, the basic fine under the Clean Water Act is $1100 dollars per barrel spilled, but if the company doing the spilling is found to be “grossly negligent” that fine jumps to $4300 dollars per barrel and at a government estimate of 4.9 billion barrels, that’s a big difference in price.

And considering the joint report, it would certainly appear what many have suspected all along, British Petroleum, in a rush for profits, put at risk the safety of its own workers, the entire environment of the Gulf and all those who live along it and beyond.

But did BP’s decisions reach the level of being grossly negligent?

According to the New York Times:

“The report concluded that BP, as the well’s owner, was ultimately responsible for the accident.”

BP was ultimately responsible, that’s pretty damning, especially when one considers one of the best ways to dispute a claim of gross negligence is to spread the blame around as much as possible…which is why it is of little surprise British Petroleum’s response to the report is the following:

“BP agrees with the report’s core conclusion — consistent with every other official investigation — that the Deepwater Horizon accident was the result of multiple causes, involving multiple parties, including Transocean and Halliburton,” the company said. It added that it had taken steps to improve its safety practices and strengthen oversight of its contractors.”

Improving its safety practices…

Because Prudhoe Bay and Texas City weren’t enough of an indication something was very wrong…nope, needed the Deepwater Horizon for them to finally get it, or say they got it, again…

Make them pay.

They’re still picking up tar balls on Gulf Coast beaches, what…17 months later?

Have a nice day.