Deepwater Horizon - Transocean Oil Rig Fire


#7481

BP trials start with ex-engineer Kurt Mix

Written by Media Sources // Saturday, 30 November 2013 22:30

http://www.bayoubuzz.com/louisiana-news/baton-rouge-news/item/559592-bp-trials-start-with-ex-engineer

Kurt Mix did not cause the catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. He cannot be blamed for the explosion on BP’s Deepwater Horizon, the corporate recklessness that created it, or the 11 lives lost and 4.2 million barrels of oil poured into the sea.

But on Monday morning, he will become the first man tried in connection with the worst environmental disaster in American history.

To some, the charges against him seem trivial when set against the backdrop of chaos and death on the flaming rig.

Mix, a former rank-and-file BP engineer, was indicted in May 2012 for deleting a string of text messages and voice mails months after the explosion, despite numerous notices from BP to save his communications.

Prosecutors will try to prove Mix got rid of the messages to hamper the government’s investigation into whether executives of the British oil giant knew how much oil was spewing from the runaway Macondo well, and when they knew it.

But his attorneys will likely ask the jury to focus on another question: whether the low-level engineer is simply an easy target to appease a public cry for a pound of flesh.

Mix says he is a patsy in the government’s investigation. He is not the only one who thinks so.

On April 20, 2010, 11 men died in the explosion, 50 miles off the Louisiana coast; their bodies were never found. For 87 days, millions of gallons of heavy crude poured into the Gulf of Mexico, into wetlands and onto the beaches of the Gulf Coast.


#7482

Defendants in BP oil spill say Justice Department scapegoating them | New Orleans | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, LA

http://theadvocate.com/news/neworleans/7715100-148/defendants-in-bp-oil-spill

Defendants say they are scapegoats

BY RICHARD THOMPSON AND CLAIRE GALOFARO
rthompson@theadvocate.com cgalofaro@theadvocate.com
December 01, 2013

Kurt Mix did not cause the catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. He cannot be blamed for the explosion on BP’s Deepwater Horizon, the corporate recklessness that created it, or the 11 lives lost and 4.2 million barrels of oil poured into the sea.

But on Monday morning, he will become the first man tried in connection with the worst environmental disaster in American history.

To some, the charges against him seem trivial when set against the backdrop of chaos and death on the flaming rig.

Mix, a former rank-and-file BP engineer, was indicted in May 2012 for deleting a string of text messages and voice mails months after the explosion, despite numerous notices from BP to save his communications.

Prosecutors will try to prove Mix got rid of the messages to hamper the government’s investigation into whether executives of the British oil giant knew how much oil was spewing from the runaway Macondo well, and when they knew it.

But his attorneys will likely ask the jury to focus on another question: whether the low-level engineer is simply an easy target to appease a public cry for a pound of flesh.

Mix says he is a patsy in the government’s investigation. He is not the only one who thinks so.

On April 20, 2010, 11 men died in the explosion, 50 miles off the Louisiana coast; their bodies were never found. For 87 days, millions of gallons of heavy crude poured into the Gulf of Mexico, into wetlands and onto the beaches of the Gulf Coast. Pictures of oil-caked pelicans and tar balls filled American television screens. BP’s embattled CEO Tony Hayward famously went on television to say he wanted to plug the leak because “I would like my life back.” The company became, to many, synonymous with corporate greed and carelessness. Its spotty safety record was widely criticized.

The government’s announcement that it had launched a criminal investigation made front-page headlines. Eventually, BP admitted it was negligent and that it had misled the public. But a corporation can’t get prison time.

Now, more than three years after the Macondo blowout, just four men have been charged. Three of them are low-level employees, facing the potential of decades in prison.

“It’s extremely difficult to work up the corporate ladder to the higher-level officials that the Justice Department and the public wanted to see charged in this case. It’s the nature of corporate crime: It’s very difficult to go up the chain of command,” said David Uhlmann, a law professor at the University of Michigan and former head of the Justice Department’s environmental crimes division. “The Justice Department probably decided it was going to charge whoever it could. The problem with that approach is that it lends itself to the claim being made, that the individuals are scapegoats.”

Mix was the first to be indicted. Then, in November 2012, came Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine, BP’s top two supervisors on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig at the time of the blowout. Each was indicted on 11 counts of both seaman’s manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter, along with violating the federal Clean Water Act.

The same day, one high-ranking company executive was charged. David Rainey, BP’s former vice president of exploration for the Gulf, awaits trial on obstruction charges for allegedly lying to Congress about how much oil was gushing from the well.

The company itself pleaded guilty to criminal charges this year. BP admitted 11 counts of felony manslaughter, obstruction of Congress and a series of environmental crimes. It agreed to a $4 billion fine.

Transocean, the Swiss company that owned the rig, agreed to pay $1.4 billion in civil and criminal fines and penalties, mostly to resolve federal Clean Water Act civil penalty claims. And in September, Houston-based Halliburton, BP’s cement contractor on the Macondo project, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of destroying evidence and will pay a maximum $200,000 fine, serve five years of probation and donate $55 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

No executives, however, were charged in the admittedly negligent practices that led to the explosion.

“It’s always hard to charge individuals with wrongdoing at higher levels in a company, because the higher-ranking officials are far removed from the day-to-day conduct and decision-making involved in the offense,” Uhlmann said.

“There’s no question that the Gulf oil spill involved substantial corporate wrongdoing, which is why BP paid a $4 billion criminal penalty. It’s a fair question whether, in a case with such corporate malfeasance, it’s appropriate to charge individuals at such low levels.”

When the rig supervisors and Rainey were charged, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder boasted that the indictments would serve as a warning to companies and their employees who play fast and loose.

But Mix, Vidrine and Kaluza maintain essentially the same defense: that the government needed someone to take the fall, and they were the low-hanging fruit.

On Monday, Mix will be the first of them to face a jury.

“To me, it’s almost a laughable case,” said Blaine LeCesne, a law professor at Loyola University who has analyzed the criminal and civil cases stemming from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. LeCesne questioned the government’s motivation for bringing charges against the engineer.

“I’ve got to wonder what they were thinking with that indictment,” he said. “They pounced on the first thing they thought they had a shot at. But they don’t. They have no shot at this.”

A spokesman for the Justice Department declined comment Friday.

Unlike Kaluza and Vidrine, Mix played no role in the explosion or in the many missteps that BP and its partners in the drilling operation made that caused it. Mix, who lives in Texas, was brought in after the fact to analyze how much oil was gushing from the well.

In the days after the explosion, he determined that oil was flowing at a rate of about 64,000 to 110,000 barrels each day.

At the time, BP executives were telling federal investigators and the public that only 5,000 barrels of oil were being released daily.

Mix is charged with two counts of obstruction of justice — and facing a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years — for later deleting two strings of text messages: 200 that he exchanged with a BP supervisor, and another 100 with a contractor.

Federal prosecutors maintain that Mix deleted the messages “corruptly,” in an intentional attempt to dupe federal investigators about how much oil was spewing. They insist that the timing of the deletions is too convenient to be coincidental. The federal Securities and Exchange Commission sent a subpoena to BP in August 2010, and a vendor the company hired to retain records contacted Mix the following month to arrange for getting his records. Mix deleted the entire string of messages with his supervisor the day before the files were to be copied, according to the indictment.

A year later, the government subpoenaed Mix’s messages specifically. Two days before he was scheduled to turn over his cell phone, Mix allegedly deleted the exchanges with the contractor.

He also deleted 350 voice messages on his cell phone, including 40 from his supervisor and 15 from the contractor.

Mix’s attorney, Joan McPhee, scoffs at the charge of obstruction. Some of the messages the government later recovered dealt with mundane matters like yoga lessons and vacation plans.

McPhee contends that documents show that Mix’s estimates of 64,000 to 110,000 barrels a day had, indeed, been turned over to the U.S. Coast Guard in the wake of the explosion. And she accuses federal prosecutors of trying to withhold a Coast Guard report to bolster their case that Mix hid his findings to help BP save face and boost its stock price.

Edward Sherman, a Tulane University law professor who has followed the legal fallout from the spill, said it’s clear the government could not prove Mix conspired with any higher-ups at the company to delete the evidence. Otherwise, prosecutors would have charged those people too.

“Was the government trying to show that they’re tough? There’s a public outcry about the oil spill and what the government was going to do about it. An easy thing to do is let their prosecution wing go after somebody and get some press. That’s the scenario the defense is going to try to sell,” Sherman said. “I think there’s some truth to that. Investigators are put on a particular case, and they like to be able to come up with something.”

BP also put blame on low-level employees this spring during the first phase of a federal civil trial, when the oil giant and the federal government sparred over whether BP or its partners should be held liable for the disaster.

Kaluza and Vidrine were responsible for overseeing operations as the rig crew drilled the Macondo well, which was in about 5,000 feet of water.

BP’s 2010 internal investigation concluded that just hours before the explosion, the men misread a critical “negative pressure test” performed on the oil well to determine whether the well’s bottom was properly sealed. Cement had been pumped down the line to form a barrier against the explosive natural gas and oil deep below the seabed.

A successful reading would have shown no pressure in the drill pipe running into the well; a positive result is a clear signal that the well is not secure.

The 2012 indictment against both men charged that they had missed the warning signs. Despite high pressure readings, they relied on a heavily disputed explanation of a “bladder effect,” a notion that the indictment labeled “scientifically illogical.”

In turn, the rig crew began removing heavy drilling mud from the riser, replacing it with lighter seawater, which allowed oil and gas to flow freely up the riser and onto the rig floor.

The indictment said the pair “negligently and grossly negligently failed to maintain control of the Macondo well.”

Several expert witnesses and employees of the companies involved in drilling the well who testified during the first phase of the civil trial highlighted the significance of the botched pressure test reading.

Richard Heenan, an independent drilling consultant who handles planning, permitting and operational management of drilling operations, testified that the negative pressure test “was a gross and extreme departure from the standards of good oil field practices.”

Heenan, in a 2011 expert report submitted on behalf of the Justice Department for the trial, contended that the “bladder effect” was a myth. “The proposal of the bladder effect, which has no technical basis, and the adoption of that theory, demonstrates the abdication of responsibility of both BP and Transocean,” Heenan wrote. He noted that the pressure test was “a safety-critical test, and the last diagnostic test of the integrity of the well prior to placing it into an under-balanced situation.”

Two hours after the botched reading, the Macondo well blew out and the rig exploded.

Kaluza, who had arrived onboard the Deepwater Horizon only four days earlier, has invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Vidrine, who lives in Lafayette, has cited medical problems in refusing to testify in hearings held after the spill to assess what went wrong.

In court filings, Kaluza and Vidrine have maintained their innocence. Shortly after the charges were filed, Kaluza’s lawyer, former federal prosecutor Shaun Clarke, told reporters his client was a victim of the Justice Department’s desire for flesh-and-blood defendants.

“After spending nearly three years and tens of millions of dollars on this investigation, the federal government needs a scapegoat,” Clarke said. “Unfortunately, they settled on Bob.”

Court watchers have questioned how liable the men should be found, considering the explosion was the result of perhaps a dozen mistakes, only one of which they were responsible for. Moreover, the bad decision put their own lives at risk.

LeCesne acknowledged BP’s long history of safety violations and its documented pattern of cutting safety corners in the name of profits. But there’s a big difference between creating a corporate culture that pushes employees to take risks to make money and knowing, firsthand, about those risks being taken, he said.

Creating the culture is irresponsible — even negligent, maybe — but it’s not necessarily criminal, he said.

“The corporate responsibility does not displace your individual responsibility for taking action that puts lives at risk. You’re still making those decisions,” he said about the rig supervisor’s role in the blowout. “It doesn’t really matter if it’s the night-shift guy or the president of the company. These charges involve manslaughter, and manslaughter is a conscious and callous indifference to the risk of serious harm. What could you have done to avert that risk of harm, given what you knew?”

He believes the cases against Kaluza and Vidrine are stronger than the government’s complaint against Mix.

But Uhlmann believes the jurors will, ultimately, consider the big picture.

“The jury will be asked to make determinations about the defendants’ negligence, not about whether either should be blamed for causing the Gulf oil spill,” he said. “But the defense attorneys will do everything they can to try and shift the jury’s focus away from what the defendants did and toward the larger question of whether it’s fair to blame them for the worst environmental disaster in history. That’s not the factual issue that the jury will be asked to resolve. But that’s the larger issue in the case.”


#7483

BBC News - BP wins reprieve over Gulf of Mexico oil spill payouts
3 December 2013 Last updated at 05:50 ET

Oil giant BP’s attempts to limit claims over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill have been given a boost after a US appeals court ruled in its favour.

The court voted for an injunction to suspend any further payments to firms that had not suffered losses as a result of the disaster.

BP had argued that the settlement deal it agreed last year was being misinterpreted, allowing firms that had not suffered harm to claim losses.

The court voted 2-1 for the injunction.

In its ruling it said that “the district court erred” by not properly taking into account the question of whether losses were caused by the spill.

The ruling means that payments to any business that cannot directly trace its losses back to the spill, will now be suspended temporarily.

BP victory
A BP spokesman said the decision supported its views that the court-appointed administrator was misinterpreting the language of the oil-spill settlement.

“If properly implemented by the district court, the Fifth Circuit’s order will help return the settlement to its original, intended and lawful function - the compensation of claimants who sustained actual losses that are traceable to the Deepwater Horizon accident,” said BP’s head of US communications and external affairs, Geoff Morrell.

In 2012, BP agreed to make payments to those who suffered economic losses as a result of the largest US offshore oil spill.

However, it complained that the payout formula worked out by court-appointed claims administrator Patrick Juneau was too generous and meant that people and businesses were being paid huge sums for false claims.

Compensation awards for business losses have slowed since an initial appeals court ruling in October halted some payments, according to Mr Juneau.

Rising claims
However, BP warned last week that unless the stronger injunction was granted, it expected payments to pick up again.

BP originally projected that the settlement would cost $7.8bn (£4.8bn), but in July increased its estimate to $9.6bn. As of Monday, about $3.78bn has been paid out, according to Mr Juneau.

BP has faced about $42.4bn in criminal and civil charges since the disaster aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which triggered the worst offshore oil spill in US history.


#7484

Judge tosses “11 seamen’s manslaughter” charges in BP supervisors’ case | News | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, LA

http://theadvocate.com/news/7813639-123/judge-tosses-some-charges-in

2 BP rig leaders still to face 11 involuntary manslaughter counts

BY MICHAEL KUNZELMAN
Associated Press

A federal judge agreed Tuesday to dismiss some of the manslaughter charges against two BP supervisors in the deaths of 11 workers when the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. ruled that charging rig supervisors Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine with 11 counts of “seaman’s manslaughter” exceeded the intended scope of the statute in connection with their job duties as “well site leaders” on the rig that exploded in April 2010, prompting the nation’s worst offshore oil disaster.

But Duval refused to dismiss 11 other counts of involuntary manslaughter that Kaluza and Vidrine were charged with last year in a 23-count indictment. Their trial on the remaining counts is scheduled to start in June.

Prosecutors claim Kaluza and Vidrine botched a key safety test and disregarded abnormally high pressure readings that were glaring signs of trouble before the blowout of energy company BP’s Macondo well. The blowout triggered an explosion that killed the 11 workers and led to millions of gallons of crude spewing into the Gulf.

Lawyers for Kaluza and Vidrine argued that the seaman’s manslaughter charges don’t apply to their clients because, as well site leaders, they weren’t responsible for marine operations, maintenance or navigation of the rig. During a hearing in September, a Justice Department prosecutor maintained that anyone responsible for the safety of the vessel or its crew fits within the scope of the statute.

Duval said no court has previously addressed whether the 175-year-old statute applies in a prosecution related to a drilling rig blowout. The judge said he recognizes the “soundness” of the government’s argument that these blowouts pose risks and safety concerns similar to steamboat explosions of the 19th and 20th centuries.

“The risk of explosion onboard deepwater drilling facilities is a grave matter. Yet, it is for Congress to include such types of disasters within the scope of (the statute), and this Court refuses to expand the scope of the statute unnecessarily without certainty as to Congress’ intent to do so,” he wrote.

Kaluza and Vidrine also face one count of violating the Clean Water Act. Duval hasn’t ruled on a separate request to dismiss that count.

The Deepwater Horizon rig, which London-based BP PLC leased from Houston-based Transocean Ltd., was about 48 miles from the Louisiana coast at the time of the deadly blast.

Duval is currently presiding over a trial in New Orleans for the Justice Department’s separate case against former BP engineer Kurt Mix, who is charged with deleting text messages and voicemails about the company’s response to the incident. Mix has pleaded not guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice.


#7485

Ex-BP engineer Kurt Mix convicted for obstruction in Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon oil spill | Business News | Business and Finance News | | thetelegraph.com.au
AP DECEMBER 19, 2013 3:41AM

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/companies/ex-bp-engineer-kurt-mix-convicted-for-obstruction-in-gulf-of-mexico-deepwater-horizon-oil-spill/story-fnkjk9kq-1226786291580

AN EX-BP drilling engineer has been convicted of deleting text messages to obstruct an investigation into the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

He was acquitted of a second charge.

A federal jury deliberated for more than nine hours since hearing closing arguments on Monday before reaching a verdict on Kurt Mix’s case. The count of obstruction of justice carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $US250,000 ($280,000) fine.

Mix will be released on his present bond, and sentencing is scheduled for March 26.

Mix hugged his friends and family members in the courtroom before leaving hurriedly, getting on an elevator and leaving the courthouse.

"I’m only going to speak through counsel,’’ he said.

Prosecutors argued that Mix, 52, of Katy, Texas, was trying to destroy evidence when he deleted hundreds of text messages to and from a supervisor and a BP contractor. Mix’s indictment also accused him of deleting two voicemails from the same two people.

Mix’s lawyers said their client didn’t hide anything. He preserved other records containing the same information contained in the deleted messages, they told jurors.

Mix, who didn’t testify at his two-week trial, was one of four current or former BP employees charged with crimes related to the spill. His case was the first to be tried.

The April 20, 2010, blowout of BP PLC’s Macondo well triggered an explosion that killed 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and spawned the nation’s worst offshore oil spill.

Millions of gallons of oil spewed into the Gulf while the company scrambled for weeks to seal the well.

Mix was on a team of experts who worked on BP’s unsuccessful attempt to stop the gusher using a technique called "top kill.’’ He had access to internal data about how much oil was flowing from the blown-out well.

On May 26, 2010, the day that top kill began, Mix estimated in a text to a supervisor that more than 630,000 gallons of oil per day were spilling - three times BP’s public estimate of 210,000 gallons daily and a rate far greater than what top kill could handle.

That text was in a string of messages that Mix exchanged with his supervisor, Jonathan Sprague, before deleting it in October 2010. Investigators couldn’t recover 17 of the messages in the string.

In August 2011, Mix also deleted a string of text messages that he exchanged with BP contractor Wilson Arabie. Several weeks earlier, federal authorities issued a subpoena to BP for copies of Mix’s correspondence.

The same count that charges Mix with intentionally deleting those messages also says Mix deleted a voicemail from Mr Arabie and a voicemail from Mr Sprague.


#7486

Judge Barbier Rejects BP’s Attempt to Rewrite Settlement Agreement | New Orleans Legal Examiner |
Posted by Tom Young
December 30, 2013 4:00 AM

You may have seen reports in the media suggesting that Federal District Court Judge Carl Barbier, the trial court judge overseeing the BP Deepwater Horizon civil litigation, has decided that claimants need not provide evidence of spill related losses in order to recover.

Such reports are misleading.

In fact, the Settlement Agreement, authored and signed by BP, requires that most businesses (save for those located directly on the water or in very close proximity to the coast) meet causation tests based on revenue patterns that indicate a spill related loss.

This is as it should be, as only businesses negatively impacted by BP’s spill should receive compensation. It just so happens that the majority of businesses in our area were affected to one degree or another by the economic tsunami that was the Deepwater Horizon blowout.

BP, in seeking court approval of the Settlement Agreement in 2012, told Judge Barbier that such tests were “economically appropriate,” “consistent with economic reality,” “more than reasonable,” “more than fair,” “objective,” “transparent,” “standardized,” and an “efficient” method of establishing causation. In last week’s ruling, (below) Judge Barbier agreed.

Of course, now BP no longer feels such tests are “consistent with economic reality,” et cetera.

The company is seeking to change the tests in ways that would exclude almost all businesses from participating in the Claims Program, no matter how obvious their spill related losses may be.

That is not fair. That is not what was negotiated. That is not what was agreed upon. And according to Judge Barbier, that is not what 1,200 pages of complex formulas say.

While this is a win for our clients and for all claimants, BP has already attacked the Judge’s Order, filing a petition with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals within hours of his ruling.

So the saga continues, but with this battle going to the businesses of the Gulf.

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Click Below to Read Judge Barbier’s entire 43 Page Opinion

Judge Barbier’s December 2013 ruling referenced to BP CASE

Q:\MDL 2179\Settlement (Economic & Medical)\Updated BSA Draft Language Addressing Causation under Exhibit 4B.wpd

http://www.tlylaw.com/files/2013/12/Barbier-Ruling-on-Matching-Causation.pdf


#7487

Halliburton manager gets probation in Gulf spill :: WRAL.com

http://www.wral.com/judge-to-sentence-ex-halliburton-manager/13314368/

By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — A former Halliburton manager was sentenced Tuesday to one year of probation for destroying evidence in the aftermath of BP’s massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Anthony Badalamenti, of Katy, Texas, had faced a maximum of one year in prison at his sentencing by U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey. Badalamenti pleaded guilty in October to one misdemeanor count of destruction of evidence.

The 62-year-old also has to perform 100 hours of community service and pay a $1,000 fine.

Badalamenti was the cementing technology director for Halliburton Energy Services Inc., BP’s cement contractor on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. Prosecutors said he instructed two Halliburton employees to delete data during a post-spill review of the cement job on BP’s blown-out Macondo well.

The judge said that the sentence of probation is “very reasonable in this case.”

“I still feel that you’re a very honorable man,” he told Badalamenti. “I have no doubt that you’ve learned from this mistake.”

Badalamenti apologized to his family and friends for causing them “undue stress”

“I am truly sorry for what I did,” he said.

Halliburton cut its own deal with the Justice Department and pleaded guilty in September to a misdemeanor charge related to Badalamenti’s conduct. The company agreed to pay a $200,000 fine and make a $55 million contribution to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, but the latter payment wasn’t a condition of the deal.

Tai Park, one of Badalamenti’s lawyers, said in October that guidelines calculated by prosecutors call for Badalamenti to receive a sentence ranging from probation to six months in prison. Zainey, however, isn’t bound by the sentencing guidelines.

Four current or former BP employees also have been charged in federal court with spill-related crimes.

On Dec. 18, a jury convicted former BP drilling engineer Kurt Mix of trying to obstruct a federal probe of the spill. Prosecutors said Mix was trying to destroy evidence when he deleted a string of text messages to and from a BP supervisor.

Mix faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. His sentencing is set for March 26.

BP well site leaders Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges stemming from the deaths of 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon. Prosecutors claim Kaluza and Vidrine botched a key safety test and disregarded abnormally high pressure readings that were glaring signs of trouble before the April 2010 blowout of BP’s Macondo well triggered a deadly explosion.

Former BP executive David Rainey was charged with concealing information from Congress about the amount of oil that was gushing from BP’s well before the company sealed it.

Prosecutors said Badalamenti instructed two Halliburton employees to delete data from separate runs of computer simulations on centralizers, which are used to keep the casing centered in the wellbore. The data could have supported BP’s decision to use six centralizers instead of 21 on the Macondo project, but prosecutors said the number of centralizers had little effect on the outcome of the simulations.

Halliburton notified the Justice Department about the deletion of the data, which couldn’t be recovered.

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PERSONAL OPINION

By the way, this Had nothing to do with lab test on physical materials but about pitting two Halliburton Simulators (Displace 3D and Opticem) against each other then deleting test results from the Displace 3D simulation which was run weeks after the blowout. Basically Halliburton provided the evidence against itself. When the two sim results didn’t match the Displace 3D in house simulation was deleted.

The Displace 3D incident is described in the governments document as
"On or about May 14, 2010, HESI’s Cementing Technology Director directed a HESI Senior Program Manager for the Cement Product Line (“Program Manager”) to run two computer simulations of the Macondo well cementing job using a HESI computer simulation program named “Displace 3D.” (Id.) Displace 3D was a next-generation simulation program that was being developed to model fluid interfaces and their movement through the wellbore and annulus of a well"

So the Displace 3D simulation was being developed by Halliburton. Several test runs executed about 24 days after the blowout were deleted. The ACT OF DELETING is the basis for for the guilty pleas by HESI and Badalamenti. Pleas are NOT related to the cause of the blowout.

Beginning on page 3 the government describes Halliburton’s cooperation in this matter.

II. HESI’S COOPERATION

HESI has provided full, truthful, substantial and valuable cooperation during the Deepwater Horizon Task Force’s investigation of the events at Macondo. HESI’s cooperation was forthright, extensive and ongoing since the outset of the investigation. Counsel for HESI contacted the Task Force within days of its formation and provided continuous and meaningful cooperation. Overall, it is the Task Force’s view that HESI’s cooperation was exceptional.
HESI promptly produced hundreds of thousands of documents to the Task Force and other agencies and made dozens of witnesses available for interview on a wide variety of topics. HESI proactively provided information, quickly responded to questions and made a team of lawyers available to immediately address any inquiry by the Task Force. Notably, in the course of providing this cooperation, HESI proactively disclosed the offense conduct giving rise to the charge in this matter as soon as it learned about it. It also undertook considerable efforts to attempt to recover and then recreate the Displace 3D models. As noted above, HESI, pursuant to the Cooperation Guilty Plea Agreement, must continue to cooperate in the Task Force’s investigation.


#7488

LINK TO HALLIBURTON PLEA AGREEMENT with comments.

Had nothing to do with lab test on physical materials but about pitting two Halliburton Simulators (Displace 3D and Opticem) against each other then deleting test results from the Displace 3D simulation which was run weeks after the blowout. Basically Halliburton provided the evidence against itself. When the two sim results didn’t match the Displace 3D in house simulation was deleted.

The Displace 3D incident is described in the governments document as
"On or about May 14, 2010, HESI’s Cementing Technology Director directed a HESI Senior Program Manager for the Cement Product Line (“Program Manager”) to run two computer simulations of the Macondo well cementing job using a HESI computer simulation program named “Displace 3D.” (Id.) Displace 3D was a next-generation simulation program that was being developed to model fluid interfaces and their movement through the wellbore and annulus of a well"

So the Displace 3D simulation was being developed by Halliburton. Several test runs executed about 24 days after the blowout were deleted. The ACT OF DELETING is the basis for for the guilty pleas by HESI and Badalamenti. Pleas are NOT related to the cause of the blowout.

Beginning on page 3 the government describes Halliburton’s cooperation in this matter.

II. HESI’S COOPERATION

HESI has provided full, truthful, substantial and valuable cooperation during the Deepwater Horizon Task Force’s investigation of the events at Macondo. HESI’s cooperation was forthright, extensive and ongoing since the outset of the investigation. Counsel for HESI contacted the Task Force within days of its formation and provided continuous and meaningful cooperation. Overall, it is the Task Force’s view that HESI’s cooperation was exceptional.
HESI promptly produced hundreds of thousands of documents to the Task Force and other agencies and made dozens of witnesses available for interview on a wide variety of topics. HESI proactively provided information, quickly responded to questions and made a team of lawyers available to immediately address any inquiry by the Task Force. Notably, in the course of providing this cooperation, HESI proactively disclosed the offense conduct giving rise to the charge in this matter as soon as it learned about it. It also undertook considerable efforts to attempt to recover and then recreate the Displace 3D models. As noted above, HESI, pursuant to the Cooperation Guilty Plea Agreement, must continue to cooperate in the Task Force’s investigation.


#7489

Gulf Coast residents not showing higher chemical exposure post-BP oil spill than rest of nation | NOLA.com
By Benjamin Alexander-Bloch, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
on January 28, 2014 at 2:15 PM, updated January 28, 2014 at 5:21 PM

Gulf Coast residents in areas affected by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill don’t appear to have higher chemical exposure than others across the nation, the head of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ epidemiology branch said Tuesday.

But researchers have found increased rates of depression and anxiety among people who worked in the spill cleanup.

“Residents and oil spill cleanup workers worry about health symptoms,” Dale Sandler, the epidemiology branch director, said at a conference in Mobile, Ala. But she said blood test results are showing levels of benzene, toluene, and other oil-related volatile organic compounds at similar levels in residents along the Gulf Coast as the United States population at large.

The testing is part of a study of possible human health effects from the Deepwater Horizon disaster off Louisiana’s coast in April 2010 and the subsequent oil spill affecting coastal areas from Texas to Florida. Sandler discussed the study’s progress during the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference, which is set to end Wednesday. Scientists from across the nation are discussing ongoing research to measure the effects of the spill.

Sandler said concerns about health effects of the spill "have been encouraged by media reports, lawyers and advocates.” She said reports of supposed exposure to chemicals from the spill or its cleanup often “have been repeated over and over and continue to fan fear of having high levels of chemicals in your blood today.”

But she said preliminary studies of blood work and questionnaires from about 1,000 Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida residents have found similar chemical levels as the nation’s population.

While volatile organic compounds were detected in some of the Gulf residents’ blood work, Sandler said the initial research has found that smoking cigarettes accounted for much of that exposure, as opposed to contact with oil, eating Gulf seafood, living and working along the Gulf cost, or other oil spill-related factors.

However, she said researchers need to "understand background levels of exposure so that we understand what has changed” from before the oil spill compared to today.

Researchers are now preparing individual reports to sent to the study’s participants next month discussing their individual blood results, she said.

(Article continues at link above)


#7490

BP Proceeds With Medical-Benefits Pact After Appeal Ends - Bloomberg

BP Plc. (BP/) won the right to move ahead with implementing the medical-benefits portion of its $9.2 billion settlement of oil spill claims with Gulf Coast residents after an appeals court dismissed the remaining plaintiffs at their request.

Several groups of coastal residents and cleanup workers sued BP last year over claims its accord didn’t adequately compensate them for exposure to oil and chemical dispersants during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill.

They appealed a lower court’s approval of BP’s 2012 settlement of most private damage claims as “substantively unfair” to the estimated 200,000 victims who risk long-term health effects from chemical exposure from the spill.


#7491

Civil litigation stayed as lawyer undergoes investigation for fraud concerning ‘phantom’ BP claims
February 28, 2014 2:19 PM By KYLE BARNETT

NEW ORLEANS – A federal court has stayed litigation brought against Texas-based plaintiff’s attorney Mikal Watts by BP while he is under criminal investigation for allegedly falsely representing himself as counsel for several deckhands and fishermen supposedly affected by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. A further motion by BP requesting a second distribution of the Seafood Compensation Fund was denied by the court.U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier stayed the civil litigation and mandated that parties involved make a report to the court on the status of the criminal within 120 days. In mid-December BP filed a lawsuit against Watts claiming he had faked half of the social security numbers of the nearly 43,000 claimants he asserted he was representing. BP called those who could not be linked to social security numbers as “phantom” claimants and also found some of the names on the list belonged to deceased people. The list of claimants Watts provided to BP in 2011 comprised 76 percent of claimants to the BP Seafood Fund for which BP set aside $2.3 billion for payments. However, Watts only pursued 648 claims against the fund and of those only eight were found to be eligible for compensation. After it was revealed that the majority of the claimants on Watts’ list were thought to be faked, a group of Vietnamese fishermen also filed suit claiming that Watts signed them up as clients even though they had never asked him to represent them. Watts requested the stay in the lawsuit after he revealed in late January that he was under investigation by the Secret Service.


#7492

First Look at the Trailer for ‘The Great Invisible,’ the BP Oil Spill Documentary


#7493

Federal judge delays June trial for BP employees - Elgin Courier News
February 20, 2014 2:02PM
http://couriernews.suntimes.com/business/25721464-420/federal-judge-delays-june-trial-for-bp-employees.html

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The trial for two BP employees charged in the deadly 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig has been put on hold while a federal appeals court considers the dismissal of some of the manslaughter charges filed against them.

The case involves BP well site leaders Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine. They were indicted on 22 manslaughter counts in connection with the deaths of 11 rig workers. Both have pleaded not guilty.

On Dec. 10, U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. ruled that charging them with 11 counts of “seaman’s manslaughter” exceeded the intended scope of the statute in connection with their job duties.

The U.S. Department of Justice appealed Duval’s decision to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Eleven involuntary manslaughter counts remain against the two. However, Duval suspended all remaining activity in the case pending the appeal on the other 11 charges.

“While it is clear that the statute affords the appellate court jurisdiction over the counts dismissed by this court, it is uncertain whether this court retains jurisdiction over the remaining counts,” he wrote.

The suspension postpones a scheduled June 12 trial date.

Prosecutors claim Kaluza and Vidrine botched a key safety test and disregarded abnormally high pressure readings that were glaring signs of trouble before the April 2010 blowout of BP’s Macondo well. The blowout triggered an explosion that killed the 11 workers and led to millions of gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana.


#7494

BP Gulf of Mexico Spill, From Disaster to Trial: Timeline - Bloomberg

By Margaret Cronin Fisk and Laurel Brubaker Calkins Feb 24, 2013 6:00 PM CT

The trial that will determine the extent of any liability London-basedBP Plc (BP/) and its partners must face for the April 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill is set to begin today in federal court in New Orleans.

The following is a timeline of the events leading up to the destruction of the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig, which killed 11, the subsequent spill of millions of barrels of oil and resulting litigation. All dates and events are from court, agency and securities filings, or company and government statements.

Jan. 30, 2010: The Deepwater Horizon moves onsite about 45 miles south of the Louisiana coastline to resume drilling the Macondo well after another rig withdrew due to storm damage.

April 1: ModuSpec USA Inc. begins a two-week condition assessment of the rig at the request of Vernier, Switzerland- basedTransocean Ltd. (RIG), which operates the Deepwater Horizon.

April 15: One of two BP well-site leaders assigned to the rig leaves to attend a conference on well-control techniques. His replacement lacks any experience as a well-site leader on the Deepwater Horizon, according to a U.S. Coast Guard investigation.

An employee of Houston-based Halliburton Co. (HAL), designer of a cement job meant to seal the well against leaks, advises his contact at BP by e-mail that 21 centralizers are needed to center the drill pipe in the well, according to court filings. The Halliburton engineer warns the well has a “severe risk” of natural gas leaks with only six of the devices, which could lead to an explosive blowout, the court filings state. A BP well engineer orders 15 additional centralizers flown out to the rig, which has only six on hand.

April 16: A BP manager overrules the well engineer’s decision and orders the job to proceed with six centralizers, according to court papers. BP operations engineer Brett Cocales sends an e-mail to the Macondo drilling engineer, Brian Morel, saying six centralizers should be adequate to obtain a proper cement seal in the well.

“Who cares, it’s done, end of story, will probably be fine and we’ll get a good cement job,” he wrote, according to a copy of the e-mail cited in court papers.

April 18: Halliburton tests an innovative cement formula for the well and doesn’t provide all of the results to BP. Halliburton engineer Jesse Gagliano again advises BP the well is at risk for leaks if fewer than 21 centralizers are used, according to court filings.

April 19: Drilling is completed to target depths. Casing is installed and cement pumped.

April 20: Drilling and completion operations are finished. The well subsequently fails, resulting in blowout and explosion.

At 7:30 a.m. BP decides not to run a “cement bond log,” a test that determines whether the cement has properly sealed the sides of the well against leaks. In the afternoon, crews continue well-completion tasks in preparation to move the rig to another location. About 5:30 p.m., engineers debate the results of a critical pressure test conducted to ensure the well isn’t leaking. The test is ultimately declared successful.

In the evening, visiting company officials and rig supervisors hold a “leadership meeting” which culminates with some guests on the bridge of the rig, taking turns practicing controlling the Deepwater Horizon’s positioning system in a training simulator.

At 9:41 p.m. drilling mud shoots out of the pipe connecting the rig to the well on the seafloor. The first of two explosions comes about nine minutes later, and the rig is quickly engulfed in flames. Workers, unable to contain the blowout or fight the fire, abandon the Deepwater Horizon. Eleven die.

April 22: BP and Transocean are sued by the family of Shane Roshto, one of the 11 workers killed.

April 29: A Louisiana fishing charter boat operator sues on behalf of the state’s $2.6 billion industry, one of the first of thousands of litigants against companies involved in the rig project, including states and the federal government.

May 6: The U.S. Justice Department asks the companies to preserve evidence, a signal that the government had begun an investigation into possible criminal acts.

May 10: A BP investor sues the company’s directors claiming its alleged pursuit of profit at the expense of safety led to the explosion and resulting spill, the first of many such suits.

May 13: Transocean asks a court to cap its liability at $26.7 million under an 1851 law designed to protect the shipping industry from catastrophic legal awards.

June 1: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder formally opens a criminal and civil investigation into the spill.

June 16: BP agrees to put about $20 billion into a fund to pay damages resulting from the Gulf spill, with claims administered byKenneth Feinberg, the lawyer who oversaw executive compensation for the U.S. government’s financial bailout. Less than two months after the spill began, more than 225 lawsuits in 11 states had been filed by businesses, individuals and investors over the disaster.

July 15: BP and the Coast Guard successfully cap the blown- out well, stopping a geyser of oil that gushed more than 4 million barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico over 85 days. Lawsuits tied to the disaster exceed 300.

Aug. 3: Bloomberg News reports the U.S. is examining whether BP made misleading statements after the spill, and whether company executives traded stock based on inside information about the accident. It’s revealed that the Justice Department is investigating possible criminal wrongdoing and the Securities and Exchange Commission is probing potential civil violations, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Aug. 10: A panel of judges orders that all claims tied to the disaster be consolidated before one judge, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbierin New Orleans.

Sept. 19: The Macondo well is permanently sealed with cement pumped in through an emergency relief well drilled nearby.

Oct. 20: Environmental groups sue BP, saying it should pay damages and create a fund to restore wildlife and habitats harmed by the spill. At least 27 federally protected species inhabiting the Gulf region were harmed by the spill, the groups said.

Oct. 27: Halliburton is ordered by the judge overseeing the spill suits to turn over cement used on the Deepwater Horizon project to investigators from the Coast Guard and the Department of the Interior in connection with a probe of the spill.

Oct. 28: The National Oil Commission reports that Halliburton cement used on the BP well in April was unstable.

Dec. 15: The Obama administration sues BP and four other companies for violating environmental laws, seeking damages under the Clean Water Act. The suit seeks a declaration that four of the defendants are liable under the Oil Pollution Act for all removal costs and damages caused by the oil spill, including damages to the environment. In addition to London- based BP, the owner of the well, defendants include units of Transocean, which owned the rig, as well as Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (APC) and MOEX Offshore 2007 LLC, part owners of the well.

BP shares fall the most in almost four months.

Jan. 13, 2011: The family of Karl Kleppinger Jr. becomes the first to settle a lawsuit against rig owner Transocean over the deaths of the 11 crew members of the Deepwater Horizon.

March 3: Louisiana sues BP and its partners in the well, seeking $1 million a day for damages caused by the spill.

April 15: Cameron International Corp. (CAM) said in a court filing that it isn’t to blame for the rig explosion because oil and gas were surging toward it when workers tried to activate blowout-prevention equipment. Plaintiffs suing the companies claim Houston-based Cameron’s blowout preventer wasn’t designed to handle the extreme environment and thicker drill pipes found in ultra-deep wells such as the Macondo.

April 19: Mitsui & Co. (8031)’s Moex Offshore LLC unit, a 10 percent partner with BP in the blown-out well, sues BP for economic losses as a result of the project’s failure and the spill that followed. Moex, claiming BP broke its partnership agreement, asked the judge in the case to declare it isn’t responsible for damages and cleanup costs.

April 20: BP sues Transocean, blaming the owner and operator of the Deepwater Horizon for the accident and seeking to recover costs for billions of dollars in damages. BP said that without Transocean’s “misconduct” there wouldn’t have been any explosion, fire, deaths or oil spill. BP also sued Halliburton, contending the contractor provided defective cementing services and concealed problems with the cement before and after the explosion.

Aug. 23: The Gulf Coast Claims Facility, which draws on the $20 billion set aside by BP after the spill, has received more than 947,000 claims from 50 states and 36 nations, according to a summary by claims administrator Feinberg. BP has paid more than $5 billion to 204,434 claimants in the past year from the fund, created to compensate victims of the spill. In total, about $6.7 billion has been drawn from the fund, which also pays for clean-up costs and restoration projects through payments provided to local governments.

Aug. 26: Businesses and individuals suing BP and other companies involved in the spill win the judge’s approval to seek punitive damages in pursuing claims of economic and environmental losses. BP and the other companies claimed the U.S. Oil Pollution Act prevented plaintiffs from collecting punitive damages. Barbier rules the statute is “silent as to the availability of punitive damages” and plaintiffs can pursue such claims under maritime law. Barbier dismisses economic loss claims by individuals and businesses filed under state law.

Sept. 15: BP won’t have to face some lawsuits filed by institutional investors on behalf of the company, a federal judge in Houston rules. U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison agrees with BP’s argument that the claims should be filed in U.K. courts because the company is based there.

Sept. 30: Barbier rules Anadarko won’t have to face personal injury claims arising from exposure to oil and other chemicals in the cleanup of the spill. Anadarko and Moex can’t be held responsible for these claims under maritime law, he said.

Nov. 1: A Transocean unit asks the judge to order BP to honor a blanket indemnity against oil spill damages that the rig owner claims was part of its drilling contract.

Nov. 14: The judge rules BP must face claims over the spill by Louisiana and Alabama. The states can sue for negligence and product liability under general maritime law and are eligible for punitive damages, Barbier said. He dismisses claims brought under state environmental laws, including demands for civil penalties, finding they were pre-empted by federal law governing the Outer Continental Shelf. The states and parishes are appealing Barbier’s dismissal of the state-law environmental claims.

Dec. 9: Mexican states and Alabama cities that are deemed too far removed from the spill to have been physically harmed by it are barred by the court from bringing some claims against BP. Barbier throws out state law claims by six Louisiana parishes seeking penalties over wildlife killed or injured by the spill. He said the parishes, as counties in the state are called, can still sue BP and other spill companies under U.S. law to recover wildlife losses, spill damages and removal costs.

Jan. 2, 2012: BP seeks to have Halliburton pay all of the oil company’s related costs and damages tied to the spill. BP has paid more than $21 billion in cleanup costs and economic damages to individuals, businesses and governments harmed by the spill as of Dec. 1, the company said. BP reserved more than $40 billion to cover costs related to the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon.

Jan. 26: BP can’t collect from Transocean part of the $40 billion in cleanup costs and economic losses caused by the 2010 oil well blowout and spill, Barbier ruled. He also holds that BP must indemnify Transocean for pollution-related economic damage claims under its drilling contract. Any awards for punitive damages against Transocean or civil penalties under the U.S. Clean Water Act won’t have to be covered by BP, the judge wrote.

Jan. 31: BP is ordered to cover some of any direct damage claims awarded against Halliburton for the $40 billion in cleanup costs and economic losses caused by the spill. BP must indemnify Halliburton for compensatory damage claims under its drilling contract, Barbier ruled. BP had sued Halliburton to recover a share of any damages and costs from the spill. Any punitive damages awarded against Halliburton don’t have to be paid by BP, the judge said.

Feb. 9: Bloomberg News reveals BP is negotiating with U.S. officials to settle the pollution claims tied to the oil spill. The U.S. seeks fines of as much as $4,300 for each of the more than 4 million barrels spilled after the rig explosion.

BP wins a ruling barring the introduction of evidence at trial of previous accidents involving the oil company. Barbier grants a BP motion blocking the introduction of exhibits pertaining to prior industrial accidents, including the 2005 explosion at its Texas City, Texas, refinery and a 2006 oil spill at its Prudhoe Bay field in Alaska.

Feb. 13: BP is told it must face fraud claims by investors who said the company lied before and after the 2010 spill about its accident response capability. Judge Ellison in Houston allows holders of BP American depositary receipts to pursue claims alleging violations of U.S. securities law. He dismisses claims by investors who bought ordinary shares of London-based BP, saying his court has no jurisdiction over them.

Feb. 17: MOEX agrees to pay $90 million to the U.S. and five states to settle pollution violations related to the spill while BP and its drilling fluid provider for the Macondo well agree to dismiss claims against each other. The U.S. files a consent order outlining the MOEX settlement of Clean Water Act violations. The agreement requires MOEX to pay $45 million in civil penalties to the U.S. and about $25 million total to Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. MOEX will also pay $20 million for land acquisition projects.

Feb. 24: Transocean claims BP officials overseeing the Macondo well ignored questions about whether safety tests done hours before a fatal blast on the drilling rig were flawed. Donald Vidrine, the senior BP manager on the Deepwater Horizon on April 20, 2010, talked with an engineer about unsatisfactory well tests less than an hour before the explosion aboard the rig, Transocean’s attorneys say in a filing. While Mark Hafle, a Houston-based BP drilling engineer, warned Vidrine in a phone call that stability tests on the well might be flawed, “neither man stopped work” at the facility, Transocean said.

Feb. 26: The scheduled Feb. 27 trial is delayed by Barbier until March 5 to allow settlement negotiations to continue.

March 2: BP and a steering committee of lawyers representing spill victims reach an estimated $7.8 billion settlement to resolve most private claims for property damage, economic loss and medical injuries, postponing the March 5 start of the trial to apportion liability for oil-spill damages. The settlement doesn’t resolve BP’s risk of pollution fines under the U.S. Clean Water Act, natural resources damages assessments, claims by state and local governments, casinos, financial institutions, individuals or by companies located in Florida and Texas. BP also still faces claims by those harmed by the deep- water drilling moratorium imposed by the U.S. after the spill. BP said the settlement is uncapped, except for the portion designed to cover losses by the Gulf seafood-processing and fishing industries, which are collectively limited to $2.3 billion.

March 30: BP employees can’t sue managers of the company’s retirement savings plan over multimillion-dollar losses the plans suffered when BP shares plunged after the spill, Ellison rules. The workers alleged that BP retirement-plan managers should have known the company’s stock was an “imprudent investment” given BP’s safety and compliance record before the Macondo spill. The cases were brought under the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA.

April 11: The U.S. agrees to give BP about 100 government documents detailing Macondo’s flow rate after the company complained in court that the papers were being improperly withheld. The government claims more than 4.9 million barrels of oil flowed into the Gulf, while BP posited a lesser number.

April 18: BP and the plaintiff lawyers’ committee submit their proposed settlement agreement to Barbier, who sets a Nov. 8 fairness hearing on the accord. Under terms of the deal, lawyers will be paid $600 million for their work on the settlement, all of which will be paid by BP instead of spill victims.

April 25: Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood asks Barbier to throw out settlements by victims who accepted early, cheap offers from BP so they can participate in the settlement accord. Hood claims these victims signed away their rights to sue BP under “economic duress” caused by intentional claim- payment delays by the BP-sponsored Gulf Coast Claims Facility. Individuals who took early deals received $5,000, while businesses that agreed to release their claims to avoid protracted litigation received $25,000 each.

Kurt Mix, a former BP engineer who worked on the Macondo well control team, is arrested and charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly deleting text messages from his mobile phone in violation of an evidence-preservation order from U.S. prosecutors investigating BP’s spill response.

His is the first criminal case resulting from the spill.

May 3: BP wins preliminary approval of its $7.8 billion economic and medical settlement from Barbier, who sets a January 2013 date to restart the postponed trial over liability for remaining spill-damage claims.

Ex-BP engineer Mix pleads not guilty to obstruction of justice at an arraignment in New Orleans federal court, as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said additional charges may result from the Justice Department’s continuing spill investigation.

Sept. 5: The U.S. reiterates in court papers its intention to seek a gross-negligence finding against BP, which could quadruple pollution fines the company might have to pay under the Clean Water Act. The $1,100 per-barrel fine BP faces could jump to $4,300 per barrel if Barbier determines BP acted with reckless indifference in causing the spill. If BP is determined to have been grossly negligent, the maximum pollution fine could exceed $21 billion, depending on the quantity of oil spilled.

Sept. 11: Spill victims ask Barbier to reject BP’s settlement accord as premature after Hurricane Isaac strikes the Gulf Coast near New Orleans and reveals continuing oil contamination in coastal waters. BP had urged Barbier to approve the accord on claims that significant future contamination from the spill was unlikely.

Sept. 19: The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service said Gulf of Mexico fisheries are rebounding from the spill, with fishermen landing larger catches during the 2012 fishing season than they did in 2009, the year before the spill. The report claimed some species are recovering better than others in the Gulf, which provides about a fifth of the seafood caught in U.S. waters. The fishing industry disputes the report, saying large areas of the Gulf remain affected by the spill, which is causing fishing boats to travel further at greater cost for the same catch.

Oct. 1: BP won’t have to face millions of dollars in spill- damage claims by recreational users, company-branded gasoline stations and businesses alleging loss of reputation, Barbier rules. He determined these claims for “emotional, non-pecuniary damages” weren’t covered by applicable law.

Oct. 17: Halliburton urges Barbier to reject BP’s proposed economic and medical settlement because it alleges the deal creates an unfair “collusive alliance” between the oil company and plaintiffs’ lawyers against Halliburton.

Oct. 26: Barbier delays the start of the liability trial until Feb. 25 so that lawyers won’t lose their hotel accommodations to Super Bowl and Mardi Gras crowds.

Nov. 1: Lawyers for as many as 10,000 potential spill claimants report their clients will opt out or reject the company’s $7.8 billion proposed settlement. Victims choosing not to participate in the deal must pursue their claims individually.

Nov. 8: BP’s exploration unit is ordered to pay Alaska $255 million in damages for a 2006 oil pipeline spill at its Prudhoe Bay field, according to the state attorney general’s office. The state won an arbitration award against BP for damages for oil production shortfalls caused by leaks and pipeline replacements.

Nov. 15: BP agrees to pay $4 billion to settle all criminal charges stemming from the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and oil spill, including the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history. BP agreed to plead guilty to 11 felony counts of seaman’s manslaughter for the rig workers who died, two counts of violating environmental-protection laws, and one count of obstructing justice by lying to Congress about the size of the spill. The settlement includes designated sums for wildlife and drilling-safety initiatives. BP agrees to pay an additional $525 million to resolve civil securities violations with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The accord doesn’t address potential fines BP faces under the Clean Water Act or natural resources damages claims. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency temporarily suspends BP from future fuel-supply and oil lease contracts with the U.S. government until independent safety and ethics monitors agree the company has sufficiently improved its safety performance.
Separately, three present or former BP managers are criminally charged on counts tied to the rig explosion and resulting spill. BP well-site leaders for the Deepwater Horizon, Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine, are charged with manslaughter and environmental violations on allegations they recklessly disregarded multiple signs that a Macondo well blowout was imminent. David Rainey, BP’s former vice president of exploration for the Gulf, is charged with obstructing Congress and lying about the size of the spill.

Nov. 28: BP’s two well-site leaders from the Deepwater Horizon, Kaluza and Vidrine, and former deputy Gulf operations chief Rainey enter pleas of not guilty to criminal charges stemming from the fatal rig explosion and resulting spill.

Separately, Barbier dismisses claims against Ecolab Inc.’s Nalco unit by individuals claiming medical effects from exposure to oil spill dispersants manufactured by the firm.

Dec. 21: Barbier gives final approval to the economic portion of BP’s $7.8 billion settlement with the plaintiffs’ steering committee, resolving most business and individual-loss claims from the spill.

Jan. 3, 2013: Transocean agrees to pay more than $1.4 billion, including a $400 million criminal fine, to settle all Justice Department criminal and civil allegations from the rig explosion and oil spill. Under terms of the deal, the drilling contractor will pay $1 billion in civil penalties and plead guilty to one misdemeanor count of violating the Clean Water Act.

Jan. 11: Barbier gives final approval to the medical portion of BP’s estimated $7.8 billion settlement with plaintiffs lawyers, resolving most of the medical injury claims stemming from the spill.

(ARTICLE CONTINUES AT REFERENCE LINK)


#7495

BP Set to Expand Gulf of Mexico Drilling - NationalJournal.com

By Clare Foran
March 19, 2014

http://www.nationaljournal.com/energy/bp-set-to-expand-gulf-of-mexico-drilling-20140319

Nearly four years after the infamous Gulf of Mexico oil spill, BP is expanding its footprint in the Gulf of Mexico.

The British oil and gas giant won 24 out of 31 bids entered in an Interior Department offshore drilling lease sale held Wednesday, the first time the company has been allowed to participate in an auctioning off of Gulf waters since its 16-month federal contract suspension ended. BP will pay out more than $41 million for the rights to explore for oil and gas along the Outer Continental Shelf. 50 oil and gas companies placed bids to lease central Gulf waters with 1.7 million acres off the coast of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama auctioned off during the sale.

For over a year, BP was barred from participation in federal lease sales in the Gulf, a verdict handed down in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The suspension was lifted last week when the company reached an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency. Now that deal is paving the way for the company’s expansion into central Gulf waters.


#7496

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. found not culpable in well drilling with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon tragedy - Houston Business Journal
Jordan Blum
Reporter-
Houston Business Journal

http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/morning_call/2014/03/anadarko-found-not-culpable-in-welldrilling-with.html?page=all

A federal judge found that Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: APC) was not culpable in the well-drilling operations that led to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico.

The March 21 ruling came after the Justice Department made the push for the Woodlands-based Anadarko be held responsible along with BP PLC (NYSE: BP) for the April 20, 2010, drilling disaster and rig explosion that killed 11 workers and led to the nation’s worst offshore oil leak.

The Justice Department had pointed to internal emails from Anadarko officials that discussed drilling the well deeper than BP had planned prior to the explosion.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier told Justice Department lawyers that the argument was not going to work because he had already ruled that “Anadarko had no legal duty to intervene in the well and could not be negligent” because BP was in charge of the well-drilling decision making.

“Today’s ruling is consistent with previous court determinations that we were not at fault for the Deepwater Horizon event,” Anadarko President and CEO Al Walkersaid in a prepared statement. "We look forward to seeing the Clean Water Act portion of the trial resolved soon."
BP is facing civil fines of up to $17 billion, mostly through the Clean Water Act penalties and fines. As a partial drilling partner with BP, Anadarko could potentially still be held liable though for some of the spill damages.

In emails, Anadarko agreed to a drilling halt prior to the explosion. “In the event BP concludes it is safe and prudent to continue drilling,” Anadarko said it “would not oppose BP doing so.”

But Bloomberg reported that Anadarko employee Robert Quitzau, an Anadarko employee, told colleagues in an email 11 days prior to the explosion that the company should wait for a better time to request that BP drill to deepen the Macondo well.
“My sense is that BP doesn’t like to make changes to a plan at the last minute,” Bloomberg reports Quitzau as saying in the email. “So it might be better to propose any further drilling deeper after new plans and budget can be put in place.”

In its March 13, 2014, court motion to have the court exclude all evidence regarding Anadarko’s culpability, Anadarko attorneys argued that the company “had no operational control over the Deepwater Horizon, and as a matter of law Anadarko was not negligent, breached no legal duty, did not cause or contribute to the discharge, and bears no fault.”


#7497

dear Infomania…

In case you haven’t noticed but you are the only person positing to this thread now for at least a year and considering that the news is almost 4 years old, I think this is now something everybody else no longer cares too much about anymore. Besides you don’t post any original content but words written by others elsewhere. Why not just trying to let go and allow this thread go to a quiet death in the night?


#7498

Alcor,where are you??? I would love to hear from you,


#7499

[QUOTE=New Orleans Lady;135256]Alcor,where are you??? I would love to hear from you,[/QUOTE]

I don’t know who Alcor is but I am hoping this thread can become dead and buried…please contribute to that goal by not…


#7500

This thread is now closed.
Or, feel free to start up a new discussion - but please make it a discussion and not a series of news stories copied from other sources.