Yourlawyer.com (BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Shareholder Lawsuits News) http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/BP-Deepwater-Horizon-Oil-Spill-Shareholder-Lawsuits Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:51:39 -0400 Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:51:39 -0400 pixel-app en BP Oil Spill Compensation Fund Claimants May be Asked to Transfer Legal Rights http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/bp-oil-spill-compensation-fund-claimants-may-be-asked-to-transfer-legal-rights Thu, 18 Nov 2010 00:00:00 -0500 http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/bp-oil-spill-compensation-fund-claimants-may-be-asked-to-transfer-legal-rights It’s already been determined that victims of the BP oil spill who accept a payment for final damages from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility will have to waive their right to sue the oil company. However, according to a Reuters report, claimants may also soon be required to transfer to BP their right to sue other defendants deemed to have partial responsibility for the disaster.

Those other defendants would include Transocean LTD., owner of the doomed Deepwater Horizon oil rig, and Halliburton Co., which performed cement work on the rig. 

According to Reuters, the proposal on the transfer of legal rights is part of a final set of rules being circulated by Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of the BP oil spill compensation fund. If adopted, the rule would still offer victims the opportunity for full payment for documented damages, Reuters said. If it is adopted, the rule could help BP’s efforts to collect billions of dollars from its partners on the Deepwater Horizon rig.

According to the Reuters report:

“Language in the draft proposal requires that claimants transfer, or subrogate, their legal rights to BP. Claimants would sign over their right to sue those responsible for the spill in the same way a car owner might when accepting an insurance payment after being hit by a negligent driver.”

That would enable BP to pursue its partners for a portion of the claims it paid.

Feinberg circulated the proposed rules to lawmakers and attorneys for comment, but he has made clear the decision to implement the rules will be his, not BP’s, Reuters said.

Over the summer, BP agreed to set aside at least $20 billion to pay economic loss and physical damage claims stemming from the BP oil spill. Feinberg, who had previously administered the 9/11 Victims’ Compensation Fund, was tapped to oversee the BP fund.

Businesses, individuals and government entities who suffered economic losses or physical injury as a result of the BP oil spill are eligible to file two types of claims: Emergency Advance Payments and long-term final damage claims. They have until November 23, 2010 to file Emergency Advance Payment claims for up to 6 months of economic losses or physical injuries. Claims forms for final payments must be submitted by August 23, 2013.

Claimants may accept an Emergency Advance Payment without waiving any of their legal rights. Accepting a final payment of long-term damages requires that claimants waive their right to sue BP or any of the parties responsible for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Any Emergency Advance Payments will be deducted from any final long-term damage payment a claimant receives. However, it is important to note that claimants may accept an Emergency Advance Payment and still reject the final payment if they find it to be unsatisfactory.

Help filing claims and other legal assistance for the victims of the BP oil spill is available at www.bigspill.com.

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BP Oil Spill Report Questions Rig Workers' Training http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/bp-oil-spill-report-questions-rig-workers-training Wed, 17 Nov 2010 00:00:00 -0500 http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/bp-oil-spill-report-questions-rig-workers-training A report on the BP oil spill from the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the National Research Council (NRE) has concluded that “an insufficient consideration of risk and a lack of operating discipline” contributed to the disaster. The interim report also says that important decisions made by key personnel aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig “raise questions about the adequacy of operating knowledge” on the part of those individuals.

The two groups are examining the probable causes of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, fire, and oil spill at the request of the US Department of the Interior in order to identify measures for preventing similar harm in the future.
 
According to a report in The Washington Post, the committee of academic experts conducting the study appears to have been taken aback by the education and training levels of people on the rig.

“Personnel on the Deepwater Horizon were mostly trained on the job, and this training was supplemented with limited short courses,” the report said. “While this appears to be consistent with industry standard practice and current regulations it is not consistent with other safety-critical industries such as nuclear power or chemical manufacturing.”

The panel also takes issue with the cementing job on the BP well, The Washington Post said. It noted that the well design complicated the drilling operation, especially given that there were multiple hydrocarbon zones. It also criticized the failure to run one kind of cement test and the failure to pay any attention to bad results from another test of the cement. The rig workers’ failure to determine why a critical pressure test failed, “suggests a lack of onboard expertise and of clearly defined responsibilities” and “a lack of management discipline that is inconsistent with the stakes involved,” the report said.

The study does not address any issues associated with the subsequent fire and release of oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico, such as the rescue and fire response, plans for the spill response, spill response and clean up, or the related consequences of the oil spill on the environment or human health.

The BP oil spill began with an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 men on April 20. All attempts to staunch the gusher failed, until a cap was successfully deployed over the well on July 15. By that time roughly 4.4 million barrels of oil had leaked into the Gulf of Mexico.

Help filing claims and other legal assistance for the victims of the BP oil spill is available at www.bigspill.com.

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BP Oil Spill Could Have Long-Term Impacts on Wildlife, Scientists Say http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/bp-oil-spill-could-have-long-term-impacts-on-wildlife-scientists-say Thu, 11 Nov 2010 00:00:00 -0500 http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/bp-oil-spill-could-have-long-term-impacts-on-wildlife-scientists-say A group of scientists says the long-term affects of the BP oil spill on Gulf of Mexico wildlife are not yet apparent, and that the federal government needs remain on guard for signs of collapse of species in the future. The scientists, a total of 40 from academia, government agencies and nonprofit groups, were attendees at a symposium at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida to discuss long-term responses to the disaster. The symposium was co-sponsored by Mote, the National Wildlife Federation and the University of South Florida.

At the symposium, it was pointed out that five years after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, the region’s herring fishery collapsed, at least in part because of the oil spill. The scientists hope that by planning now, similar collapses can be avoided in the Gulf of Mexico. 

To that end, the group is recommending the creation of a unified research and monitoring effort to detect the first signs of trouble with Gulf species and provide that information to management agencies in an effort head off disastrous effects.

“Right now there is no agency that pulls together and coordinates all the information we need about the Gulf,” marine biologist Michael Crosby, senior vice president for research at Mote Marine Laboratory, said at the end of the two-day gathering. “Scientists at different institutions might be collecting different pieces of data — but if we don’t put those together, we could miss the big picture until populations crash.”

The scientists expressed concerns about some changes already being observed in the Gulf. That includes dead and dying coral discovered near the site of BP’s ruptured well that we reported last week. The scientists who made that discovery noted that the coral was covered with a brown substance thought to be rotting tissue. Tests are needed to determine if the coral is being killed off because of the spill.

Some of the scientists expressed concerns that predatory species already endangered, including sharks or blue fin tuna, could be pushed closer to extinction because of the spill. Other wildlife that could face long-term impacts include shrimp, menhaden, blue crabs, various types of plankton, coral reefs, sargassum algae, seabirds, tuna, dolphins, sea turtles, and mackerel, tarpon and other sport fish. On Monday, researchers reported that non-toxic components of oil already have made it up the food chain from oil-eating microbes to plankton that are an important food source for fish.

The symposium plans to release a final report in January. In addition to recommending a unified research and monitoring effort, it will recommend the creation of science-based models of how oil could affect the Gulf, creation of long-term research sites to monitor for future oil spill effects and other environmental problems, and money to pay for the new research programs.

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BP Oil Spill Panel Commissioners Fault Lack of Safety Culture http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/bp-oil-spill-panel-commissioners-fault-lack-of-safety-culture Wed, 10 Nov 2010 00:00:00 -0500 http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/bp-oil-spill-panel-commissioners-fault-lack-of-safety-culture The White House BP oil spill commission has faulted the oil company and its partners on the doomed Deepwater Horizon oil rig over a complacent safety culture. The commission also said that BP, Transocean and Halliburton personnel made serious mistakes prior to the April 20 explosion aboard Deepwater Horizon that led to the worst offshore oil disaster in US history.

Bill Reilly, the commission’s Republican co-chair, said in his opening statements yesterday that each company was “responsible for one or more egregiously bad decision,” called them “safety laggards,” and said the firms were “in need of top-to-bottom reform.” Reilly, former Environmental Protection Agency chief under during the George H.W. Bush administration, also singled out BP for having “been notoriously challenged on matters of process safety.” 

BP owned the Gulf of Mexico oil well, Halliburton performed critical cement work on the well, and Transocean was the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig.

In making his remarks, Reilly pointed to the commissions’ staff reports that cited a host of decision made by the companies. These included “failed cement tests, premature removal of muds underbalancing the well, a negative pressure test that failed but was adjudged a success, apparent inattention, distraction or misreading of a key indicator that gas was rising toward the rig,” Reilly said.

Reilly and another co-chair, former Democratic Senator Bob Graham, also commented on statements by the commission’s chief investigator that his probe did not find any evidence that the companies cut corners on safety to save money.

“The problem here is that there was a culture that did not promote safety … leaders did not take risks seriously enough, didn’t identify risks that proved to be fatal,” Graham said.

Reilly noted that the investigators “didn’t rule out cost, just said they weren’t prepared to attribute mercenary motives to men who cannot speak for themselves because they are not alive.”

The BP oil spill began with an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 men on April 20. All attempts to staunch the gusher failed, until a cap was successfully deployed over the well on July 15. By that time roughly 4.4 million barrels of oil had leaked into the Gulf of Mexico.

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BP Unprepared for Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, Former CEO Admits http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/bp-unprepared-for-gulf-of-mexico-oil-spill-former-ceo-admits Tue, 09 Nov 2010 00:00:00 -0500 http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/bp-unprepared-for-gulf-of-mexico-oil-spill-former-ceo-admits The former CEO of BP PLC has admitted the oil giant was unprepared for a disaster like the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. In an interview with the BBC, Tony Hayward said his company’s contingency plans were inadequate and “we were making it up day to day.”

The BP oil spill began with an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 men on April 20. All attempts to staunch the gusher failed, until a cap was successfully deployed over the well on July 15. By that time roughly 4.4 million barrels of oil had leaked into the Gulf of Mexico. It was the largest offshore oil disaster in US history. 

Hayward has been a frequent target of criticism since the spill, and his unfortunate habit of putting his foot in his mouth – “I want my life back” – angered many. In July, BP announced Hayward would be stepping down as CEO, effective October 1. He was be replaced by American Bob Dudley, who had been overseeing BP’s spill response.

In excerpts of his interview released by the BBC, Hayward expresses anger at the scorn levied against him. He tells the network he is not certain he would do anything different, and goes so far as to defend his decision to take part in a yacht race with his family at the height of the crisis.

Hayward also reveals that BP came close to financial disaster during the spill, as its credit sources evaporated. He said that before a meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House in June, “the capital markets were effectively closed to BP.”

In other news, investigators on a special presidential commission investigating the BP spill are saying that there is no evidence that BP took shortcuts aboard the rig to save money.

“To date we have not seen a single instance where a human being made a conscious decision to favor dollars over safety,” commission chief attorney Fred H. Bartlit Jr. said yesterday in a presentation before the commission.

However, according to The New York Times, Bartlit also told the commission a number of “critical questions about the accident remained in dispute, including the cause of the failure of the cement at the bottom of the well, why BP and its partners went ahead with trying to close in the well after it failed an important pressure test and why crew members failed for too long to recognize that oil and gas were gushing up the well bore.”

“The interesting question is why these experienced men out on that rig talked themselves into believing that this was a good test that indicated well integrity,” said Sean Grimsley, one of Bartlit’s deputies, according to the Times. “None of them wanted to die or jeopardize their safety. The question is why.”

Bartlit also said he could not reach any conclusions about the well’s blowout preventer because it is currently in the hands of federal agents as possible evidence in criminal and civil trials. According to the Times, the government has hired a Norwegian engineering firm to examine it and determine if and how it might have failed. Bartlit said he is awaiting the results of that study.

Finally, Bartlit said his probe had been handicapped by Congress’s refusal to grant the commission subpoena power. The commission does plan to ask Congress to reconsider granting the panel subpoena power, the Times said.

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BP Oil Spill Fund Claims Administrator Will Allow Emergency Payouts to Realtors http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/bp-oil-spill-fund-claims-administrator-will-allow-emergency-payouts-to-realtors Mon, 08 Nov 2010 00:00:00 -0500 http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/bp-oil-spill-fund-claims-administrator-will-allow-emergency-payouts-to-realtors Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of the BP oil spill compensation fund, has decided to set aside $60 million of the $20 billion fund to pay Gulf Coast Realtors for business lost due to the spill. It’s an about-face for Feinberg, who had originally said he would not allocate fund money toward real estate businesses or Realtors.

Over the summer, BP agreed to set aside at least $20 billion to pay economic loss and physical damage claims stemming from the BP oil spill. Feinberg, who had previously administered the 9/11 Victims’ Compensation Fund, was tapped to oversee the BP fund. Businesses, individuals and government entities who suffered economic losses or physical injury as a result of the BP oil spill are eligible to file two types of claims: Emergency Advance Payments and long-term final damage claims. They have until November 23, 2010 to file Emergency Advance Payment claims for up to 6 months of economic losses or physical injuries. Claims forms for final payments must be submitted by August 23, 2013. 

The $60 million is being set aside to pay Realtors’ emergency claims. Feinberg is deferring decisions on payouts to Realtor associations in the five Gulf States affected by the oil spill – Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

In other news, NPR is reporting that Feinberg’s law firm, Feinberg Rozen LLP, has been paid about $3.35 million from BP PLC to administer the BP compensation fund. The firm received $850,000 a month starting in mid-June, according to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. Those payments will continue through the end of the year, at which time, the contract with the firm will be reviewed.

For some people along the Gulf Coast, the revelation of significant fees from BP are undermining Feinberg’s claims that he is operating independently of the oil giant, NPR said.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s working for BP,” said Louisiana shrimp processor Dean Blanchard. “He can say he’s independent, but he’s working for BP and he’s low-balling all of us, the people affected the most.”

As of November 3, the claims fund had paid victims about $1.7 billion. The facility has received about 337,000 claims for compensation. About 97,000 have been paid or approved for payment. Another 97,000 claimants have filed requests for money but have provided no documentation to back up their losses, according to Feinberg. To date, about 32,000 claimants have been denied.

Once the November 23 deadline for filing emergency claims passes, claimants will only be able to submit a claim for a final settlement from BP. If they accept the final settlement offer, they must give up their right to ever sue BP.

Help filing claims and other legal assistance for the victims of the BP oil spill is available at www.bigspill.com.

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Dead Coral Found Near BP Oil Spill http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/dead-coral-found-near-bp-oil-spill Fri, 05 Nov 2010 00:00:00 -0400 http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/dead-coral-found-near-bp-oil-spill Just 7 miles from the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, scientist are finding dead and dying coral. Not surprisingly, the BP oil spill is considered a prime suspect in the coral die-off.

Scientist aboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric (NOAA) ship Ronald H. Brown, just returned Thursday from a three-week cruise studying coral reef in the northern Gulf of Mexico, according to Nola.com. The coral expedition was planned before the oil spill, so its purpose was not to assess the disaster's impacts, but it did give the researchers a good look at seafloor life near the spill zone.

They reported that soft coral in a 15-meter to 40-meter area was covered by what appeared to be a brown substance. Ninety percent of 40 large corals were heavily affected and showed dead and dying parts and discoloration, according to the scientists.

Another site 400 meters away had a colony of stony coral that showed the same symptoms. According to a press release issued by the team, they “observed dead and dying corals with sloughing tissue and discoloration.”

In addition to the NOAA, the cruise was co-sponsored by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. Scientists from Penn State University, Louisiana State University, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Temple University, Florida State University, the U.S. Geological Survey, PAST Foundation, T.D.I Brooks International and C&C Technologies participated in the cruise.

The scientist did not reach any conclusions about what may be causing the problems with coral at the two sites where they were observed. They await tests that will tell them whethe the brown substance is oil, and whether it came from the ruptured well.

The ship stopped at several locations in a triangular area along the deep slope of the Gulf about 200 miles off the coasts of Mississippi, Alabama and westernmost Florida before returning to port in Pensacola. It should be noted, the team observed no changes at most other coral locations this year.

 

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As BP Oil Spill Emergency Claims Deadline Looms, Payment Denials Spike http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/as-bp-oil-spill-emergency-claims-deadline-looms-payment-denials-spike Tue, 02 Nov 2010 00:00:00 -0400 http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/as-bp-oil-spill-emergency-claims-deadline-looms-payment-denials-spike With the deadline to file emergency BP oil spill claims just weeks away, it seems more people are having their claims turned down. More than 20,000 BP oil spill claims were denied in October, up from just 125 last month, according to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. The reason, according to Kenneth Feinberg, the administrator of the BP oil spill claims fund, is a mountain of new filings that lack proper documentation, and some with out any proof of loss at all.

BP agreed over the summer to provide at least $20 billion into the BP oil spill claims fund to reimburse businesses, individuals and government entities for economic losses and physical damage sustained as a result of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. They have until November 23, 2010 to file for an Emergency Advance Payment for up to 6 months of economic losses or physical injuries. Claims forms for final payments for long-term damages must be submitted by August 23, 2013. 

Claimants may accept an Emergency Advance Payment without waiving any of their legal rights, while accepting a final payment of long-term damages requires that claimants waive their right to sue. However, they may accept an emergency payment, and later turn down their final payment if they find it unsatisfactory.

Feinberg told the Associated Press that since October 1, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility has received thousands of new claims for emergency payments, likely due to the impending deadline. Some of the 315,000 emergency payment claims are undocumented, he said, and he speculated that many are illegitimate requests by people who “sense a gold rush.” He also said the claims facility has sent about 30 potentially fraudulent claims to the Justice Department for investigation, and hundreds more are under review.

Feinberg also denied that the claims process is in chaos.

“I disagree about disarray,” Feinberg told the Associated Press. “There are discrepancies in claims based on documentation and your ability to demonstrate a connection to the spill and your damage.”

But some Gulf Coast residents whose claims have been denied say they are mystified by their rejections. One wedding planner in Orange Beach, Alabama told The Washington Post that she requested $240,000 for lost revenue because of beach wedding cancellations and received a check for just $7,700. She was not told a reason for the denial, and expressed frustration over the apparent secrecy.

While claimants who receive smaller emergency payments than requested can apply for more money in their final payment claim, it could be months before they receive that money. Many simply do not have the luxury of time, however. The wedding planner, for instance, told the Post that her business may have to file for bankruptcy because of the way her emergency payment claim was handled.

While BP oil spill claimants can file for Emergency Advance Payments on their own, it is becoming clear that legal assistance could be helpful. Help filing claims and other legal assistance for the victims of the BP oil spill is available at www.bigspill.com.

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Halliburton Cement Work Faulted in BP Oil Spill http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/halliburton-cement-work-faulted-in-bp-oil-spill Fri, 29 Oct 2010 00:00:00 -0400 http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/halliburton-cement-work-faulted-in-bp-oil-spill Halliburton Co., the contractor that performed cement work aboard BP’s doomed Deepwater Horizon oil rig, has admitted that it did not perform an important test on the cement that was used to seal the undersea well. The cement’s failure to prevent oil and gas from entering the well has been identified as one of the causes of the April 20 explosion that spawned the massive BP oil spill.

This development is raising a lot of eyebrows, because up until now, Halliburton has been able to avoid most of the blame for the BP oil spill disaster. Halliburton previously blamed BP for failing to heed its advice on the design of the well and failing to do all the necessary tests. BP has pointed the finger at the cement mixture Halliburton used. 

According to a report on MSNBC, BP at the last-minute increased the amount of a critical ingredient in that cement mixture. While an earlier test showed the cement was stable, the company never performed a stability test on the new blend. According to Halliburton, a successful test was performed on a cement mix different than the one that was eventually used. Tests that were performed on the mixture used did not include a foam stability test, MSNBC said.

Halliburton’s admission followed the issuance of a letter to the president’s oil spill commission from its chief investigative counsel Fred H. Bartlit Jr. The letter said BP and Halliburton knew weeks before the Deepwater Horizon explosion that the cement mixture they planned to use to seal the new well was unstable but still completed the work, according to MSNBC.

The letter also placed some blame on Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig:

“The oil industry has developed tests, such as the negative pressure test and cement evaluation logs, to identify cementing failures” the letter said, but “BP and/or Transocean personnel misinterpreted or chose not to conduct such tests at the Macondo well.”

According to a Wall Street Journal report, the letter cautioned that the new findings don’t absolve BP of responsibility for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. It notes that cement failures are relatively common, and points out that the well owner – BP – is responsible for testing the cement and fixing any problems.

However, BP could still benefit if investigators determine that Halliburton’s cement design was at fault, the Journal said. Such a development would make it less likely that BP would be found grossly negligent in the disaster, which would reduce its penalties under federal pollution laws.

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Greenpeace Says Oil from BP Spill Remains in Gulf http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/greenpeace-says-oil-from-bp-spill-remains-in-gulf Tue, 26 Oct 2010 00:00:00 -0400 http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/greenpeace-says-oil-from-bp-spill-remains-in-gulf The environmental group Greenpeace isn’t buying the government’s assertions that most of the oil from the BP oil spill has disappeared from the Gulf of Mexico. What’s more, Greenpeace says its laboratory tests prove that crude still remains on the sea floor.

At a news conference yesterday to mark the end of a three-month expedition by the group’s Arctic Sunrise vessel, Greenpeace microbiologist John Hocevar said that test results from a single oiled sediment sample taken in late September from 1 mile deep and about 4 1/2 miles from the spill site confirmed that the oil was from the BP spill.

The Arctic Sunrise spent three months looking for oil and marine life in trouble after it arrived in the Gulf following the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. Greenpeace is working with scientists from over a dozen institutions and the Gulf Restoration Network to try and get a better understanding of the true impacts of BP’s oil spill.

Federal agencies have said that most of the oil spilled into the Gulf has evaporated, dissipated, been dispersed or been burned and skimmed. Government scientists also say they have not found any visible oil on the sea floor so far.

“One of the things that has been important about this is that it was independent scientists, so we don’t take corporate or government money. It’s independent,” said Captain Pater Willcox, who has been with Greenpeace for over 30 years, and brought the Arctic Sun to the Gulf after the BP oil spill.

At yesterday’s news conference, Hocevar said the White House should have waited before lifting the moratorium on drilling in the Gulf because so much about the spill remains unknown.

The BP oil spill began with an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 men on April 20. All attempts to staunch the gusher failed, until a cap was successfully deployed over the well on July 15. By that time roughly 4.4 million barrels of oil had leaked into the Gulf of Mexico. It was the largest offshore oil disaster in US history.

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BP Oil Spill Report Blasted by Shell Oil Chief http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/bp-oil-spill-report-blasted-by-shell-oil-chief Wed, 13 Oct 2010 00:00:00 -0400 http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/bp-oil-spill-report-blasted-by-shell-oil-chief The report on the BP oil spill prepared by the company is coming under more criticism – this time the head of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. In addition to faulting BP’s internal report, Peter Voser also criticized the design BP chose for the undersea well that sparked the disaster.

BP released the results of its internal investigation last month. While it cited BP workers for failing to correctly evaluate negative-pressure tests the day of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, it also maintained that its well design was not to blame for the catastrophe. BP also placed much of the onus on contractors for Transocean Ltd., which owned the doomed Deepwater Horizon rig, as well as Halliburton Co., which cemented the well.

According to an ABC News report, BP’s design for its well included a number of cheaper options, including the use of a single tube from the surface to the reservoir, rather than two overlapping tubes.

“Shell clearly would have drilled this well in a different way and would have had more options to prevent the accident,” Voser said while speaking at the Oil and Money conference in London. Shell generally includes more barriers to hydrocarbon leaks in its well designs, ABC News noted.

Voser also said that BP’s investigation should have looked more closely at the design chosen for the blown well.

However, Voser also acknowledged that the entire oil industry has failed to prepare properly for a major accident, and added that he expects more regulation as a result of the BP disaster. Finally, he said Shell would be more selective about who it would partner with on projects in the Gulf of Mexico, in order to make sure contractors have the necessary technical skills and the financial ability to handle their part when accidents do occur.

The BP oil spill began with an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 men on April 20. All attempts to staunch the gusher failed, until a cap was successfully deployed over the well on July 15. By that time roughly 4.4 million barrels of oil had leaked into the Gulf of Mexico. It was the largest offshore oil disaster in US history.

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BP Oil Spill Drilling Moratorium Lifted http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/bp-oil-spill-drilling-moratorium-lifted Tue, 12 Oct 2010 00:00:00 -0400 http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/bp-oil-spill-drilling-moratorium-lifted The deepwater drilling moratorium imposed because of the BP oil spill is being lifted. The moratorium, which had idled 33 drilling platforms, was originally supposed to last until November 30.

The BP oil spill began with an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 men on April 20. All attempts to staunch the gusher failed, until a cap was successfully deployed over the well on July 15. By that time roughly 4.4 million barrels of oil had leaked into the Gulf of Mexico. It was the largest offshore oil disaster in US history.

The end of the moratorium was hinted at this morning by White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs. That was followed by an email to reporters from the Interior Department announcing a 1:00 p.m. conference call to discuss the end of the deepwater drilling ban.

“I have decided that it is now appropriate to lift the suspension on deepwater drilling for those operators that are able to clear the higher bar that we have set,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said during today’s media conference call.

According to The New York Times, the Obama administration is lifting the moratorium following the imposition of new rules governing areas like well casing and cementing, blowout preventers, safety certification, emergency response and worker training. Michael Bromwich, head of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said yesterday that have lessened the risks associated with drilling.

“We think things have advanced and we’ve raised the bar substantially and that drilling can now proceed more safely than it has in the past,” he said.

Despite the economic and environmental devastation the BP oil spill brought to the Gulf Coast, the moratorium angered many who complained that it cost jobs and hurt the economy further. Senator Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat, for example, has said she will block Senate action on the President’s nominee to lead the White House budget office until the moratorium is lifted.

Though the moratorium is now officially history, drilling is unlikely to resume quickly because of the need for more inspections and compliance with new regulations, the Interior Department said.

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White House Response to BP Oil Spill Slammed http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/white-house-response-to-bp-oil-spill-slammed Thu, 07 Oct 2010 00:00:00 -0400 http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/white-house-response-to-bp-oil-spill-slammed A new report says the White House denied the request of scientists who wanted to make worst-case models of the BP oil spill public. The charges are contained in documents released yesterday by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. The commission was appointed by President Barack Obama to investigate the worst offshore oil spill in history.

According to those documents, unnamed officials told the commission that in late April or early May, the White House budget office denied a request from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to release the worst-case models. According to a report in the Associated Press, BP estimated the worse scenario to be a leak of 2.5 million gallons per day, but at the time, the administration told the public it amounted to 210,000 gallons per day. It wasn’t until August that the government’s estimates came close to the worst-case models.

In response to the commission’s allegations, Kenneth Baer, a spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget, said the budget office had concerns about the reliability of the NOAA estimates.

“The issue was the modeling, the science and the assumptions they were using to come up with their analysis. Not public relations or presentation,” he told the Associated Press. “We offered NOAA suggestions of ways to improve their analysis, and they happily accepted it.”

According to the Associated Press, the report also faults the director of the White
House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, Carol Browner, for claiming during various TV appearances in August that as much as 75 percent of the oil released from the spill was gone. According to the report, the analysis cited by Browner never actually said that. Instead, it said the oil had dispersed, dissolved or evaporated — meaning it could still be there.

“By initially underestimating the amount of oil flow and then, at the end of the summer, appearing to underestimate the amount of oil remaining in the Gulf, the federal government created the impression that it was either not fully competent to handle the spill or not fully candid with the American people about the scope of the problem,” investigators for the commission wrote in their report.

Failing to get flow estimate right early on in the disaster also appears to have slowed the federal response to the spill, the commission said. The investigators write that “for the first ten days of the spill, it appears that a sense of over optimism affected responders.” The commission staff said it is “possible that inaccurate flow-rate figures may have hindered the sub-sea efforts to stop and to contain the flow of oil at the wellhead.”

The BP oil spill began with an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 men on April 20. All attempts to staunch the gusher failed, until a cap was successfully deployed over the well on July 15. By that time roughly 4.4 million barrels of oil had leaked into the Gulf of Mexico.

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BP Oil Spill Panel Says Transocean Impeding Access to Documents, Witnesses http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/bp-oil-spill-panel-says-transocean-impeding-access-to-documents-witnesses Wed, 06 Oct 2010 00:00:00 -0400 http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/bp-oil-spill-panel-says-transocean-impeding-access-to-documents-witnesses A panel investigating the BP oil spill says that Transocean Ltd. is refusing to hand over safety audits of all its Gulf of Mexico drilling rigs. Transocean has called the request burdensome, but the co-chair of the U.S. Coast Guard and Interior Department joint investigation team says its request amounts to 33 reports that are three to five pages each in length.

Transocean was the owner of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which it leased to BP. The rig exploded on April 20, killing 11 men and spawning the worst oil spill in US history.

The joint investigative panel is holding its fifth week of hearings into the disaster. During a hearing in Metairie, Louisiana yesterday, U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Hung Nguyen complained that he had been trying to get copies of the safety audits for two months. Transocean refused both an August 4 request and a September 2 request.

“Transocean has not been responsive to the requests of this joint board,” Nguyen said. “I have significant concerns with the safety-culture aspect” related to the disaster.

Nguyen said the panel also has been unable to get a specific Transocean manager to come in and testify about safety. Another panel member, Captain Mark Higgins, also complained that Transocean had “thwarted” access to some witnesses.

In an emailed statement to Bloomberg News, Transocean disputed those charges. “Transocean has produced more witnesses than any other party involved in this investigation and significant volumes of documentary evidence, including audit records of the Deepwater Horizon,” the statement said. “Any assertion to the contrary is simply not correct.”

During yesterday’s hearing, Transocean’s attorney said the company has acted in good faith and produced everything it believes it should, adding that the panel could go to court to enforce the subpoenas it issued for the documents.

As to witnesses testifying, the attorney said their availability was not in Transocean’s control.

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After Spill, BP Puts Arctic Drilling On Hold http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/after-spill-bp-puts-arctic-drilling-on-hold Thu, 26 Aug 2010 00:00:00 -0400 http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/after-spill-bp-puts-arctic-drilling-on-hold In the wake of the massive and historic Gulf of Mexico oil spill this April following the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig, BP has canceled plans to drill in the Arctic, said AFP. A new oil rush is expected there, but BP is fearful that drilling in the Arctic now would be "political madness," said the AFP, quoting Britain’s Guardian. The Deepwater Horizon explosion released millions of barrels of oil and resulted in horrendous and ongoing environmental damage.

BP said that it would not seek an exploration license in Greenland, wrote the AFP, "We are not participating in the bid round," a spokesman for the British firm told the Guardian. No details were given, but the massive Gulf Oil Spill is likely the reason.

The Scottish exploration group, Cairn Energy, just announced it located gas off Greenland's coast, suggesting additional hydrocarbon resources might also be in the area, said the AFP. Of note, the region is home to blue whales, polar bears, and seals, said AFP. Cairn Energy’s announcement has many wondering if another oil rush is in the works; however, environmental advocates are concerned about the effects of drilling there, said the AFP. Activists with Greenpeace have urged Cairn to stop its work in the area, traveling via its Greenpeace ship to the Arctic to speak directly with the group.

The Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, said that a list of successful bidders for exploration licenses will be released in the next few weeks, wrote the Guardian.

Key sources told the Guardian that both the government of Greenland and BP agreed that now is not the time for the oil giant to become involved in drilling work. "With the Greenpeace ship already harassing Cairn off Greenland—a company which has an exemplary safety record—everyone realised it would be political madness to give the green light to BP."

The Gulf of Mexico fiasco has significantly damaged BP’s image and is costing the firm tens of millions of dollars in cleanup and compensation, said AFP. The British firm was finally able to end the oil gush last month.

Meanwhile, we just wrote that technology might have hindered efforts to stop the Macondo well’s flow following the Deepwater explosion, citing the Washington Post. It seems workers lacked appropriate technical gear and were unable to receive large emails from those on land, according to testimony made before an investigative federal panel. Just prior, we wrote that an emerging study suggested that the over 50,000 workers involved in the cleanup efforts could experience long-term breathing and health problems.

We also reported that a group of scientists discovered a massive plume of hydrocarbons from the BP oil spill. According to a statement from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the plume measured at least 22 miles long and was located more than 3,000 feet below the ocean’s surface. Some 57,000 discrete chemical analyses were measured in real time during a June 19-28 scientific cruise aboard the R/V Endeavor. While the oil droplets that comprised the plume were too small for the eye to see, samples of the plume analyzed by the scientists confirmed the existence of benzene, toluene, ethybenzene, and total xylenes.

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Efforts to Stop BP Oil Spill Faced Technical Obstacles http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/efforts-to-stop-bp-oil-spill-faced-technical-obstacles Wed, 25 Aug 2010 00:00:00 -0400 http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/efforts-to-stop-bp-oil-spill-faced-technical-obstacles Technology appears to have hindered efforts to stop the Macondo well’s flow following the Deepwater Horizon explosion, said the Washington Post. It seems workers lacked appropriate technical gear and were unable to receive large emails from those on land, said the Post, citing testimony made before an investigative federal panel.

Daun Winslow has become a key witness in the joint investigation conducted by the Coast Guard and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement, said the Post. Winslow, a lead manager at Tansocean, the owner of the platform, was on a so-called “management visibility” visit to the rig on April 20, soon becoming a survivor and later moving into the lead role in the emergency efforts, explained the Post.

The inquiry has become rather contentious, noted the Post, which said that for most of yesterday afternoon’s proceedings, an attorney for BP grilled Jesse Gagliano, of Halliburton, about the well’s cement design and Gagliano’s suggestion that BP use 21 centralizers to ensure casing was centered before cement was pumped. BP used six.

Issues about who led the operation—some say Winslow could have created confusion regarding who was in charge—and Winslow’s methods are being raised, noted the Post. Also, a lawsuit just filed in federal court by fisherman and oil rig workers alleges that the huge amounts of water pumped from fireboats to stop the fire could have added to the problems at Deepwater Horizon, explained the Post.

The day following the explosion the rig was rolling dangerously and the derrick had collapsed. According to Winslow, a firefighting official said too much water was being used; Winslow passed an order from his onshore peers that water was only to be used to cool, not extinguish, reported the Post. When asked if the Coast Guard ordered him to stop dumping water, he responded, "I had no communications with the Coast Guard," quoted the Post. Winslow told the panel he was not receiving emails from onshore due to inadequate Internet bandwidth. "The files were too large to e-mail. They were trying to break them down into smaller packages," he explained, quoted the Post.

Winslow, a 30-year Transocean veteran, was part of a team of senior Transocean and BP managers there to celebrate the rig’s outstanding safety record. Winslow said he heard a discussion about well pressure tests; the well was in the last phase of being plugged and temporarily abandoned following what the Post described as a “long and problematic drilling operation.” When he later asked Jimmy Harrell—the lead onboard Transocean manager—about the test, he was given a thumbs up and told all was good, wrote the Post.

We recently wrote that days before the explosion, the crew received a memo from Transocean warning them not to be “complacent” about well control. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the memo was prompted by an incident on a Transocean rig in Britain’s North Sea the prior December. According to the Journal, the crew aboard that rig—Sedco 711—heard a loud noise just before dark liquid started shooting out of the well. Explosive gas surrounded the rig, and crews began to prepare for an evacuation. The well was brought under control before catastrophe.

Transocean officials were so disturbed by the incident that they held conference calls with all managers aboard their 170 offshore rigs and issued two safety memos, the Journal said. They concluded that the crew of Sedco 711 put too much faith in tests that showed the well was secure and stopped watching for signs of trouble. “The drill crew did not consider [a loss of] well control as a realistic event,” because of a successful valve test, Transocean wrote in an April 14 memo.

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Lung Problems Could Plague BP Oil Spill Workers http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/lung-problems-could-plague-bp-oil-spill-workers Tue, 24 Aug 2010 00:00:00 -0400 http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/lung-problems-could-plague-bp-oil-spill-workers An emerging study suggests that the over 50,000 workers involved in the cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig could experience long-term breathing and health problems, said CNN. The study is looking at a 2002 oil spill that took place in Spain.

"We can't assume it's going to be the same here as it was there," says David Savitz, Ph.D., professor of community health and ob-gyn at the Brown University School of Medicine, quoted CNN. "But this shows that there is the potential for health effects that go well beyond the immediate period of exposure, and it reinforces what we've known before—that respiratory health effects are high on that list," added Savitz, who is a co-author of an editorial accompanying the study, wrote CNN.

The study appears in the Annals of Internal Medicine and includes 501 fishermen who assisted in the Spanish cleanup following the November 2002 oil spill when the tanker Prestige sank off the coast of Spain, said CNN. Researchers compared the 501 workers with another similar group not involved in the cleanup, added CNN.

The team found that two years following the accident in Spain, the fisherman involved in the cleanup were likelier to “report wheezing, chronic cough, and other respiratory symptoms” versus the control group, wrote CNN. Excluding smokers, workers breath contained increased levels of chemicals known to be associated with lung damage, explained CNN. Increased rates of chromosome changes in the white blood cells were seen in the workers; those changes have been associated with an increased cancer risk in other studies, according to Gina Solomon, M.D., a senior scientist with the National Resources Defense Council, a nonprofit environmental group, wrote CNN.

"Given these chromosomal abnormalities, I'd also worry about effects on sperm and egg cells," said Solomon, quoted CNN. Solomon was not involved in the study. Lead researcher Joan Albert Barberà, M.D. said study results "indicate that participation in the cleanup of oil spills can have undesirable effects on health,” quoted CNN. "No evidence was found of any active illness, only biological alterations that might predispose to develop disease," noted Barberà, professor at the August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS), in Barcelona.

There are differences between the two accidents, which can affect study outcomes, wrote CNN; however, dispersants used following both accidents could also lead to respiratory issues. The U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences just announced the launch of the Gulf Worker Study, a long-term study investigating potential health issues resulting from the Deepwater Horizon spill, added CNN.

We recently wrote that a group of scientists discovered a massive plume of hydrocarbons from the BP oil spill. According to a statement from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the plume measured at least 22 miles long and was located more than 3,000 feet below the ocean’s surface. The WHOI study appeared in the August 19 issue of the journal Science.

Some 57,000 discrete chemical analyses were measured in real time during a June 19-28 scientific cruise aboard the R/V Endeavor. While the oil droplets that comprised the plume were too small for the eye to see, samples of the plume analyzed by the scientists confirmed the existence of benzene, toluene, ethybenzene, and total xylenes.

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At Senate Oil Spill Hearings, Execs Point Fingers http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/at-senate-oil-spill-hearings-execs-point-fingers Wed, 12 May 2010 00:00:00 -0400 http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/at-senate-oil-spill-hearings-execs-point-fingers Executives from BP, TransOcean and Halliburton convened on Capitol Hill yesterday for Senate hearings into the disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Then, they spent much of the day trying to pin blame for the catastrophe on each other.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is the result of a catastrophic explosion that occurred aboard the offshore rig on April 20. Eleven crew members were killed in the blast. So far, BP has had no luck staunching the leaking well, which is gushing at least 200,000 gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico every day.

The every-growing spill is threatening both the ecology and the economy of the Gulf Coast. According to the Associated Press, at least 3.5 million gallons of crude oil have poured into the Gulf since the April blast. If it continues unabated, the spill will surpass the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster next month.

The leaking well is owned by BP, which leased Deepwater Horizon from TransOcean Ltd. TransOcean subsidiary, Cameron International Corp., also provided the blowout prevention equipment for the rig that appears to have failed. Subcontractors from Halliburton had finished cementing the well head to the sea floor prior to the explosion.

At back-to-back hearings before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, BP, TransOcean and Halliburton officials pointed fingers at each other. According to The Christian Science Monitor, Lamar McKay, chairman of BP America, blamed the failure of TransOcean’s blowout preventer. Steven Newman, president and CEO of TransOcean cited problems with Halliburton’s cementing job. And Tim Probert, chief health, safety, and environmental officer for Halliburton, said his company was simply following BP’s design.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Senators were not pleased with the blame game. One accused the executives of doing a “Texas two-step” to avoid liability. “I hear one message, and the message is ‘Don’t blame me,’ ” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said. “Well, shifting this blame does not get us very far.”

Even as the executives tried to avoid blame for the oil spill, crews in the Gulf were trying desperately to contain the flow from the stricken well. This morning, BP said a “top hat” oil containment device has reached the sea floor in the Gulf of Mexico and should be in position over a leaking well head and operational by the end of the week. Over the weekend, BP’s efforts to contain the well with a larger device failed after hydrates – ice-like crystals – formed and clogged the structure and made it buoyant.

According to a CNN report, this new device would keep most of the water out at the beginning of the capping process and would allow engineers to pump in methanol to keep the hydrates from forming. By Thursday, it should be apparent whether the device is working or not.

As we reported yesterday, BP is also planning to try and block the crude flow with a “junk shot,” in which materials including golf balls, knotted rope and shredded tires will be shot at high pressure into the well’s failed subsea blow-out preventer. It will be two weeks before that process is completed.

BP has also started drilling a containment dome to contain the leak permanently, but that process could take as long as three months.

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House Oil Spill Investigation Finds Problems with Equipment on Deepwater Horizon http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/house-oil-spill-investigation-finds-problems-with-equipment-on-deepwater-horizon Wed, 12 May 2010 00:00:00 -0400 http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/house-oil-spill-investigation-finds-problems-with-equipment-on-deepwater-horizon The morning of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, the well did not pass a key pressure test. According to a Wall Street Journal report, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said today that House investigators had learned about the failed pressure test from BP PLC officials. Such pressure tests are aimed at ensuring the integrity of cement poured into a well to keep out natural gas.

Another member of the Committee, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), said a preliminary investigation had uncovered “four significant problems” with the blowout preventer, which he said had a leak in a key hydraulic system.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee was the third congressional committee to take up the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in two days. Yesterday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held back-to-back proceedings. At least eight congressional panels have set hearings on the incident.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is the result of a catastrophic explosion that occurred aboard the offshore rig on April 20. Eleven crew members were killed in the blast. So far, BP has had no luck staunching the leaking well, which is gushing at least 200,000 gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico every day. According to The Wall Street Journal, it is thought that a sudden surge of gas into the wellbore caused the well to blow.

At today’s hearing, Waxman said his Committee had collected 100,000 pages of documents from the companies and agencies involved in the rig accident. According to the Journal, Waxman said that James Dupree, BP’s senior vice president for the Gulf of Mexico, told House investigators that the pressure test conducted the morning of the blast indicated uneven buildups of pressure in different lengths of the pipe, pointing to a potential influx of gas into the wellbore.

A second “negative pressure” test was run. It showed pressure was mounting in the well, and the results were also unsatisfactory, the Journal said According to a Bloomberg report, Waxman said Dupree told staff that he believed the well exploded moments after the second pressure test. That contradicts an account from BP’s lawyers that further well tests were conducted about 8 p.m. – two hours before the explosion.

As to the blowout preventer, Stupak said a “significant” leak was found in the hydraulic system that provides emergency power to the devices that are supposed to cut the drill pipe and seal the well in an emergency. According to Bloomberg, the Committee’s investigation also found that the blowout preventer had been modified in “unexpected ways,” prior to the blast, and may not have been strong enough to cut the drill pipe and shut the well.

The oil well in question is owned by BP, which leased Deepwater Horizon from TransOcean Ltd. TransOcean subsidiary, Cameron International Corp., also provided the blowout prevention equipment for the rig that appears to have failed. Subcontractors from Halliburton had finished cementing the well head to the sea floor prior to the explosion. Executives from all four companies appeared before the Committee today.

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BP, TransOcean Execs to Brief Senate Panels on Oil Spill http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/bp-transocean-execs-to-brief-senate-panels-on-oil-spill Tue, 11 May 2010 00:00:00 -0400 http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/bp-transocean-execs-to-brief-senate-panels-on-oil-spill Executives from BP America and TransOcean Ltd. will appear before two Senate panels today to testify about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. According to a CNN report, members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee want to know about the precautions that were taken prior to the April 20 blast that spawned the oil spill and killed 11 crew members on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

The Energy and Natural Resources hearing is scheduled for this morning, while Environment and Public Works will convene this afternoon. BP America President Lamar McKay and TranOcean President Steven Newman are expected to testify before both. Senators from both committees will also hear from experts about the toll the oil spill could take on fishing, tourism and Gulf Coast economies, CNN said.

Meanwhile, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is getting closer to the Mississippi Delta. According to CNN, changing weather could push the slick into the Delta region and areas west of the river. So far, most of the slick has been centered in an area east of the environmentally fragile Mississippi Delta. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has warned that the Delta, as well as Breton Sound, the Chandeleur Islands and the mainland behind them could be impacted by today.

BP, which is responsible for the disaster, has had no luck stopping or slowing two underwater leaks. The stricken well continues to gush more than 200,000 gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico each day.

Over the weekend, BP had to abandon efforts to use a containment dome to cap the spill after ice-like crystals formed and clogged the structure. That has raised fears that the well could continue gushing for the next three months until a relief well can be completed to contain the flow.

BP is now preparing a smaller containment dome for the site that it plans to deploy this week.. It is hoped that the smaller size will prevent the formation of the ice that clogged the first structure. If it does work, however, it will not capture as much oil as the larger dome would have.

According to a Reuters report, BP is also planning to try and block the crude flow with a “junk shot,” in which materials including golf balls, knotted rope and shredded tires will be shot at high pressure into the well’s failed subsea blow-out preventer. It will be two weeks before that process is completed.

None of the techniques BP is trying have ever been used in such deep water – 5,000 feet. So it remains to be seen if any of them will be successful.

According to the Associated Press, at least 3.5 million gallons of crude oil have poured into the Gulf since the April blast. If it continues unabated, the spill will surpass the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster next month.

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Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Shareholder Lawsuits Explosion: Injury, Burns, Death | Fires, Chemical Exposure, Toxic Fumes, BP http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/BP-Deepwater-Horizon-Oil-Spill-Shareholder-Lawsuits Tue, 11 May 2010 00:00:00 -0400 http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/BP-Deepwater-Horizon-Oil-Spill-Shareholder-Lawsuits Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Shareholder Lawsuits

Deepwater Horizan Oil Spill Shareholder | Lawsuits, Lawyers | Explosion: Injury, Burns, Death | Fires, Chemical Exposure, Toxic Fumes, BP

If you are a shareholder in any of the companies responsible for the massive oil spill spawned by the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster - BP PLC, TransOcean Ltd., Halliburton Energy Services Inc., or Cameron International Corp. - you may be eligible to join a shareholder derivative lawsuit.  Our Deepwater Horizon oil spill shareholder lawsuit lawyers are conducting an aggressive investigation to determine if BP and these other firms ignored crucial safety issues or engaged in other behavior that contributed to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

BP PLC leased the Deepwater Horizon rig from TransOcean Ltd. The blowout equipment which failed on the rig was provided by Cameron International Corp. Halliburton Energy Services Inc. provided drilling services on Deepwater Horizon that may have contributed to the blast.  All of these companies face billions of dollars in liability because of this disaster.    Following the explosion and oil spill, the stock price of all of these companies took a serious hit.

If you own shares in BP PLC, TransOcean Ltd., Halliburton Energy Services, and Cameron International Corp., our Deepwater Horizon oil spill shareholder lawyers want to hear from you today.   We are offering a free case evaluation to stockholders in any of these firms.  Please contact us today to protect your legal rights.

Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Explosion and Spill

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20, 2010, killing 11 crew members and spawning a massive oil spill that endangers the fragile ecosystem along the U.S. Gulf Coast.  Three weeks after the spill, BP had been unable to staunch the leaking well, which was gushing more than 200,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico every day.  All efforts to cap the spill had failed to that point, and there were fears that the well would continue to leak unabated for several months.

BP, which owns the lease to the well, though the rig itself belonged to TransOcean, has admitted liability for the April 20 explosion and subsequent devastation. Some workers who survived the Deepwater Horizon explosion have claimed that the blast occurred while drilling at 22,000 feet - 2,000 feet deeper than BP was allowed by its federal permit.  BP also failed to take other safety measures, such as installing an acoustically activated remote-control shut-off valve or deep-water valve, either of which could have prevented the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Deepwater Horizon had also been the site of numerous spills and accidents even before the April 20 disaster.  During one incident in 2008, 77 people were evacuated from the rig after it listed and began to sink when a section of pipe was accidentally removed from its ballast system.  In addition, the U.S. Coast Guard had cited the rig for being an “acknowledged pollution source" 18 times in the past 11 years.

The safety record of TransOcean has also been questioned in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion.  In 2009, the company's board eliminated executive bonuses because of concerns about safety practices. According to TransOcean's April 1, 2010 Proxy, the decision was made to “underscore the company’s commitment to safety” and to give executives an incentive to prevent future accidents.

A Wall Street Journal investigation also found that TransOcean's record worsened by 31% in 2009 compared to 2008 in an internal assessment of potentially dangerous accidents. TransOcean also failed to reduce the number of incidents in which heavy falling objects could have injured workers, despite improvement goals in 2009.

At the time of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, Halliburton was engaged in a process called cementing that may have played a role in the disaster.  The process is supposed to prevent oil and natural gas from escaping by filling gaps between the outside of the well pipe and the inside of the hole bored into the ocean floor.  When the Deepwater Horizon explosion occurred, workers had finished pumping cement to fill the space between the pipe and the sides of the hole and had begun temporarily plugging the well with cement.

According to The Wall Street Journal, regulators have previously identified problems in the cementing process as a leading cause of well blowouts. When cement develops cracks or doesn't set properly, oil and gas can escape, ultimately flowing out of control. The gas is highly combustible and prone to ignite, as it appears to have done aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig. According to experts, the timing of the cementing in relation to the blast—and the procedure's history of causing problems—point to it as a possible culprit in the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Cameron International Corp., a subsidiary of TransOcean, built the blowout-prevention equipment for Deepwater Horizon.  The blowout preventer is a vital piece of safety equipment on any oil rig.  The blowout preventer should close an out-of-control well, but failed to work on Deepwater Horizon. 

Even before the Deepwater Horizon disaster, a blowout preventer on another rig - Discover Enterprise - manufactured by Cameron was the subject of a dispute between BP and TransOcean. In June 2000, BP issued a notice of default to TransOcean because of concerns about the equipment.  TransOcean eventually acknowledged that the blowout preventer on the rig did “not work exactly right." The blowout preventer on Deepwater Horizon was fitted at about the same time BP was complaining of problems with the equipment on its sister vessel.

All of these companies face serious liabilities because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  Under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, BP's liability is capped at $75 million.  However, legislation is moving through Congress that would raise the liability cap to $10 billion and make the change retroactive to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.   BP is also liable for damages under the Louisiana Oil Spill and Prevention Response Act up to $350 million in damages.  In addition, TransOcean, Cameron and Halliburton are liable to BP for their own negligence and misconduct in causing the disaster.

Legal Help for Shareholders Impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Because of the scope of this disaster, shareholders in all of these companies have sustained, and will likely continue to suffer, substantial financial losses.  We are currently investigating claims on behalf of current shareholders in all of these firms to determine whether shareholder derivative lawsuits may be warranted. A shareholder derivative suit is a lawsuit instigated by a stockholder of a corporation, not on the shareholder's own behalf, but on behalf of the corporation. In such an action, a shareholder brings a claim in the name of the corporation against the parties allegedly causing harm to the corporation.

Legal Help For Victims Affected By Deepwater Horizan Oil Spill Shareholder

If you are a shareholder in BP PLC, TransOcean Ltd., Halliburton Energy Services Inc., or Cameron International Corp. you have valuable legal rights. Please contact us today at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) for a free consultation with one of our experienced shareholder derivative lawyers.

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