Archive for the Deepwater Horizon Category

Public discontent grows against ConocoPhillips over lingering oil spills [Xinhua]

Posted in BP oil spill, China, Deepwater Horizon, Energy, Environmental protection, Law enforcement, Liaoning Province on September 17, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) — ConocoPhillips China (COPC) is facing the wrath of the Chinese public after deceptively announcing that it had cleaned up oil spills in north China’s Bohai Bay.

China’s State Oceanic Administration (SOA) said on Friday in a statement that COPC failed to meet the SOA’s requirements for finding potential sources for oil spills and sealing previous oil leaks before an Aug. 31 deadline.

However, the company on Wednesday submitted a report to the SOA claiming that the two goals had been met.

Photos of polluted seawater and disgruntled fishermen have been widely posted on Weibo, a popular Chinese microblogging website, arousing the public’s concern about possible economic and environmental losses resulting from the spills.

Public condemnation even grew stronger after a China Central Television (CCTV) report revealed on Friday that during a conversation between a CCTV reporter and an anonymous COPC employee, someone said through the ship intercom system to the reporter that the company intentionally set out to deceive Chinese authorities when it announced that it had met the SOA’s requirements.

The company denied that its employee made the remarks and demanded a correction from CCTV, saying anyone in that sea area could make comments or interrupt any conversations on that wireless intercom channel that is open to the public. However, the company’s claims have been met with doubt by the Chinese public.

“Their explanation does not even deserve a comment. I just want to say that ConocoPhillips needs to show more sincerity if the company truly wants to restore its image,” wrote a microblogger using the screenname “student xiaolu.”

The SOA has ordered COPC to cease production on its platforms in the Penglai 19-3 oilfield, which is jointly owned by COPC and China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC), China’s largest offshore oil and gas producer.

Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, a Beijing-based NGO, said that the SOA made the “right decision” in ordering COPC to halt production at the oilfield, as it will take some time for the SOA to take legal action against COPC.

Ma also called on the CNOOC to play a bigger role in the clean-up efforts at the oilfield, as it has a 51-percent stake in the field.

The CNOOC vowed on Saturday that it will enhance its supervision of and assistance to COPC in handling the oil spills in order to ensure that COPC fully meets the SOA’s requirements.

A Sunday editorial published in the Beijing News stated that it was “astonishing” to see such a well-known multinational corporation lying to its customers and business partners, adding that there are “deep-rooted systematic issues at work behind the scenes.”

Government departments should work together to establish an effective response system to solve similar problems in the future, instead of forcing the SOA to act alone, the editorial said.

Wu Danhong, an associate professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, said China should take cues from the actions taken last year by the U.S. against British oil giant British Petroleum (BP).

In April 2010, an offshore drilling rig owned by the company exploded and sank into the Gulf of Mexico, triggering the worst oil spill in U.S. history. The U.S. government responded by hitting the company with a 20-billion-U.S.-dollar fine.

COPC, a subsidiary of U.S. energy giant ConocoPhillips, first reported the spills in Bohai Bay to authorities in June. Oil from the spills has spread to beaches in the nearby provinces of Hebei and Liaoning. The spills have been blamed for losses in the provinces’ tourism and aquatic farming industries.

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-09/04/c_131096903.htm

BP gets a slap on the wrist – Commission report on Gulf disaster [Workers World]

Posted in BP oil spill, Deepwater Horizon, Obama, USA on January 19, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Gene Clancy
Published Jan 17, 2011 10:12 PM

On Jan. 6, a presidential commission released excerpts of a report on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This was good news for BP and one of its subcontractors, Transocean: The prices for their shares rose as investors bet that the report meant that the firms would avoid the massive costs of a gross negligence charge. (Reuters, Jan. 6)

It was bad news for working and poor people who are employed and/or live in the Gulf region, and for all who are concerned about the environment.

On April 20, an explosion aboard BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 men and injured 17 others. Attempts to staunch the gusher failed, until a cap was finally deployed over the undersea well on July 15. By that time, 4.4 million barrels of oil had spilled into the Gulf of Mexico.

The oil spill, which now ranks as the largest offshore oil disaster in U.S. history, destroyed huge areas of sensitive wildlife and habitat, and paralyzed important segments of the Gulf Coast’s economy, including the seafood industry and tourism. The area still has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

The report’s 48-page excerpt says that “poor decisions” by BP; Transocean Ltd., the rig’s owner; and Halliburton Corp., a contractor on the rig, led to technical problems that contributed to the disaster. It stated that individual decisions made by each of those parties, while saving significant time and money, upped the risk that a catastrophic blowout would occur. (AP, Jan 6)

The report also warned that such a disaster could happen again, due to systemic problems within the offshore oil and gas industry, and among government regulators who oversee it.

Shortly after the catastrophe, President Barack Obama promised to hold BP completely accountable for all damages arising from the spill. He declared a six-month moratorium on deep sea drilling in the Gulf of Mexico until the reasons for the spill were investigated and determined. He appointed the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, which was to come up with its findings by Jan. 11. Unsurprisingly, the moratorium, although considered very short by environmental experts, was quickly aborted as the administration backed down in response to angry rants from the oil industry.

The Oil Pollution Act was passed, and a $20 billion fund was set up to compensate victims of the corporate-made disaster. Although $20 billion may appear large, it is a drop in the bucket when it comes to paying for the actual damages. On Jan. 9, Louisiana officials reported that large sections of the state’s coastline are still “highly oiled.” (CNN, Jan. 9) Huge plumes of oil remain far below the surface, while entire industries have been abandoned.

The government and BP have moved to limit big business liability in two ways. First, in direct violation of the Oil Pollution Act, the rules under which compensation is being paid greatly limit the amount that can be collected. “It will be difficult, if not impossible for claimants to get full compensation for their damages unless they have a crystal ball,” says Richard Shore, who worked hard to collect damages from the Exxon Valdez oil spill. (Huffington Post, Aug. 3)

The second method is more devious, and involves the recently released commission report. The study rightly concludes that BP’s misdeeds are not limited to them alone: “The blowout was not the product of a series of aberrational decisions made by a rogue industry or government officials that could not have been anticipated or expected to occur again. Rather, the root causes are systemic.” (AP, Jan.6)

However, the oil drillers are confident that they will never be held truly accountable as an industry . By blaming the oil drilling industry, the government has effectively taken the heat off BP, which the capitalist markets immediately recognized. Thus, the rise in BP stock.

The capitalist class is confident that their ruse to protect BP and other big polluters will work because they believe that they are invincible and that the government will never hold them accountable for their countless crimes against humanity and the planet itself. They can keep on raking in megaprofits and putting safety and concern for the environment last, with relative impunity, unless there is a struggle waged by working people, environmentalists and other progressive people to push them back.

Articles copyright 1995-2011 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/2011/us/bp_0120/

WikiLeaks cables: BP suffered blowout on Azerbaijan gas platform [Guardian]

Posted in BP oil spill, Deepwater Horizon, State Department, USA, Wikileaks on December 27, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

~ Embassy cables reveal energy firm ‘fortunate’ to have evacuated workers safely after blast similar to Deepwater Horizon disaster ~

by Tim Webb

16 December 2010

Striking resemblances between BP’s Gulf of Mexico disaster and a little-reported giant gas leak in Azerbaijan experienced by the UK firm 18 months beforehand have emerged from leaked US embassy cables.

The cables reveal that some of BP’s partners in the gas field were upset that the company was so secretive about the incident that it even allegedly withheld information from them. They also say that BP was lucky that it was able to evacuate its 212 workers safely after the incident, which resulted in two fields being shut and output being cut by at least 500,000 barrels a day with production disrupted for months.

Other cables leaked tonight claim that the president of Azerbaijan accused BP of stealing $10bn of oil from his country and using “mild blackmail” to secure the rights to develop vast gas reserves in the Caspian Sea region…

…On the Azerbaijan gas leak, a cable reports for the first time that BP suffered a blowout in September 2008, as it did in the Gulf with devastating consequences in April, as well as the gas leak that the firm acknowledged at the time.

“Due to the blowout of a gas-injection well there was ‘a lot of mud’ on the platform, which BP would analyze to help find the cause of the blowout and gas leak,” the cable said.

Written a few weeks after the incident, the cable said Bill Schrader, BP’s then head of Azerbaijan, admitted it was possible the company “would never know” the cause although it “is continuing to methodically investigate possible theories”.

According to another cable, in January 2009 BP thought that a “bad cement job” was to blame for the gas leak in Azerbaijan. More recently, BP’s former chief executive Tony Hayward also partly blamed a “bad cement job” by contractor Halliburton for the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The blowout in the Gulf led to the deaths of 11 workers and the biggest accidental offshore oil spill in history.

BP was also criticised for not initially sharing all its information with the US authorities about the scale of the Gulf spill. The gas field in the Caspian Sea was in production when the leak and blow out occured, unlike the well in the Gulf which was being drilled to explore for oil.

BP declined to answer questions put by the Guardian about the cause of the Azerbaijan gas leak and who carried out the cement job, pointing to a general statement it had made about the cables.

The cable reveals that the company had a narrow escape. “Given the explosive potential, BP was quite fortunate to have been able to evacuate everyone safely and to prevent any gas ignition. Schrader said although the story hadn’t caught the press’s attention, it had the full focus of the [government of Azerbaijan], which was losing ‘$40-50m each day’.”

The leak happened at the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshi (ACG) field, Azerbaijan’s largest producing oil field in the Caspian where vast undeveloped gas reserves also lie . BP is the operator and largest shareholder in the consortium, which includes US companies Chevron, ExxonMobil and Hess (formerly Amerada Hess), as well as Norwegian firm Statoil and Azerbaijani state owned oil company Socar.

BP comes in for criticism for allegedly limiting the information it made available about the incident. Another cable records shortly after the incident: “ACG operator BP has been exceptionally circumspect in disseminating information about the ACG gas leak, both to the public and to its ACG partners. However, after talking with BP and other sources, the embassy has pieced together the following picture.” It goes on to say the incident took place when bubbles appeared in the waters around the Central Azeri platform, signalling a nearby gas leak. “Shortly thereafter, a related gas-reinjection well for Central Azeri had a blowout, expelling water, mud and gas.” BP’s annual report last year referred to a “comprehensive review of the subsurface gas release” having taken place and remedial work being carried out.

The cable continues: “At least some of BP’s ACG partners are similarly upset with BP’s performance in this episode, as they claim BP has sought to limit information flow about this event even to its ACG partners. Although it is too early to ascertain the cause, if in fact this production shutdown was due to BP technical error, and if it continues for months (as seems possible), BP’s reputation in Azerbaijan will take a serious hit.”

BP is in charge of Azerbaijan’s key energy projects, and has a significant influence across the region. In late 2006 discussions were taking place about when Turkey would be able to link up its own network to a new pipeline operated by BP transporting gas across the Caucasus from BP’s giant new Shah Deniz field in Azerbaijan. The new pipeline was seen as crucial as reducing the region’s dependence on unreliable gas supplies from Russia, particularly amidst rising gas prices.

According to one cable, BP’s outgoing Azerbaijan president, David Woodward, said in November 2006 that BP thought it unlikely that Turkey would be able to complete its work before spring 2007. “However, he added that ‘it was not inconceivable’ that Botas [Turkey’s state pipeline company] could ‘rush finish’ the job so that it would be ready to receive gas shortly, although the pipeline would not meet international standards,” the cable said. In the end, BP said Turkey began receiving gas from Shah Deniz in July 2007.

The cables also reveal BP concerns on the lack of security at the time around its oil and gas installations, particularly in the Caspian Sea, which it believed made them vulnerable to terrorist attack. One cable from July 2007 records: “BP Azerbaijan president Bill Schrader has told US officials in private conversations, ‘all it would take is one guy with a mortar or six guys in a boat’ to wreak havoc in Azerbaijan’s critical energy infrastructure.”

BP officials also complained about a shortage of Navy and Coast Guard boats – mostly Soviet era and built in the 1960s and 1970s – to patrol the waters around the platforms. It was also not clear which government agency or branch of the military was in charge, meaning a “response to a crisis offshore could be problematic” , one cable in August 2008 recorded…

[Edited by Zuo Shou 左手]

Article link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/15/wikileaks-bp-azerbaijan-gulf-spill

The BP Oil Disaster: Blaming Individual Consumers for Capitalist Destruction [Globalresearch.ca]

Posted in BP oil spill, Deepwater Horizon on September 14, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Ian Angus 

September 13, 2010 

Climate and Capitalism 

Liberal journalists, pale greens and others are trivializing the BP/Deepwater oil spill and distracting attention from the social roots of environmental destruction. It’s time to dump the myth of ‘consumer sovereignty’ 

Following the BP/Deepwater oil well explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, many commentators have tried to explain why it happened. Many blame greed and arrogance in BP’s executive offices. Others blame it on the Military-Oil-Government alliance that views free-flowing oil (and free-flowing oil profits) as something to promoted at all costs. 

But some writers identify a different cause. Bonus-seeking executives, corrupt politicians and oil-hungry generals all played a role, but they were only front men for the real villains – consumers

Who’s Really to Blame for the BP Oil Spill? We Are,” by U.S. green activist Dave Chameides, is typical: 

“The bottom line is, no matter who did their work poorly, or who shirked their responsibilities, at the end of the day, we are the ones who are responsible for the disaster at hand. 

“That’s right, we are the ones responsible. 

“BP, like any other oil company, is in the petroleum game for one reason and one reason only: money. And where does that money come from? It comes from us.” [1] 

Similarly, a Guardian article by British academic Mark Coeckelbergh was headlined, “We’re all to blame for the oil spill.” 

“Moreover, and perhaps most important, we should not only consider responsibility for oil production but also for oil consumption. Business and finance are not isolated from our own choices. Companies such as BP can only do what they do because we want what they sell. We’re all too happy with cheap oil. … 

“As consumers, we continue to depend on oil in various ways and therefore maintain the oil-hungry system that makes oil companies drill in deep water and undertake other risky activities. “[2] 

These are just two of many such articles. [3] All promote a simple lesson: If only “we” would wean ourselves of our oil addiction, then “they” would stop destroying the environment. If “we” would just use less oil, then “they” wouldn’t have to drill in environmentally sensitive areas like the Gulf of Mexico. 

As Al Gore wrote a few years ago: “All of us contribute to climate change through the daily choices we make … you can begin to take action and work toward living a carbon-neutral life.” [4] 

Buy green products, drive less and save the world. 

Such views rest on the implicit assumption that corporations – indeed the capitalist economy as a whole – are driven by consumers’ desires and choices, as displayed in the market. Economist Mark Perry of the right-wing American Enterprise Institute, explains: 

“Consumers are the kings and queens of the market economy, and ultimately they reign supreme over corporations and their employees. … In a market economy, it is consumers, not businesses, who ultimately make all of the decisions. When they vote in the marketplace with their dollars, consumers decide which products, businesses, and industries survive — and which ones fail. ”[5] 

Perry is echoing the opinions of the influential libertarian economist Ludwig von Mises: 

“When we call a capitalist society a consumers’ democracy we mean that the power to dispose of the means of production, which belongs to the entrepreneurs and capitalists, can only be acquired by means of the consumers’ ballot, held daily in the marketplace.” [6] 

This view, usually called consumer sovereignty, is widely held, not just by conservative economists but by commentators of many political stripes. It is conventional wisdom in the worst sense of the term, a dominant superstition that is assumed to be obviously true and so is never questioned. 

But there are many reasons to believe that the conventional wisdom is wrong. The following are just four of them. 

1. The market is manipulated 

Fifty-three of the one hundred largest economies in the world are corporations. Exxon Mobil alone is larger than 180 countries. [7] In 2000, Fortune magazine reported that the 500 largest industrial corporations had revenues equal to two-thirds of all U.S. production. [8] 

Those corporate behemoths constantly use their immense economic power to influence consumers’ choices. As a result, the balance of information and persuasion in the consumer goods marketplace is overwhelmingly weighted in favor of sellers and against buyers, for corporations and against consumers. 

Michael Löwy writes: 

“Contrary to the claim of free-market ideology, supply is not a response to demand. Capitalist firms usually create the demand for their products by various marketing techniques, advertising tricks, and planned obsolescence. Advertising plays an essential role in the production of consumerist demand by inventing false “needs” and by stimulating the formation of compulsive consumption habits.”[9] 

Michael Dawson argues convincingly that advertising has to be understood as part of a much larger marketing process that aims “to make commoners’ off-the-job habits better serve corporate bottom lines.” 

“Big businesses in the United States now spend well over a trillion dollars a year on marketing. This is double Americans’ combined annual spending on all public and private education, from kindergartens through graduate schools. It also works out to around four thousand dollars a year for each man, woman, and child in the country. …” 

Dawson calls this process a form of “class struggle from above.” 

“On our side of such struggles, within broad limits – for example, we must eat, drink, and sleep – we have the power to choose what we do with our free time, and we fight to make that time as fulfilling as possible. Meanwhile, big businesses have the power to implant objects, images, messages, and material infrastructures in our off-the-job behaviour settings, and, thereby, to influence the choices we make in our personal lives. …”[10] 

As liberal economist John Kenneth Galbraith insisted, the immense sums spent on advertising “must be integrated with the theory of consumer demand. They are too big to be ignored.” This, he said, “means recognizing that wants are dependent on production…. [which] actively through advertising and related activities, creates the wants it seeks to satisfy.”[11] 

This is not to suggest that consumers are helpless victims of all-powerful marketing monsters. Consumers frequently resist being manipulated, and specific advertising campaigns often fail. But by spending a trillion dollars a year on marketing, corporations don’t just promote individual products: they set the terms under which the market operates, define the range of permissible choices, and promote the constant expansion of needs and purchases that their profits depend on. They wouldn’t spend the money if it wasn’t working. 

2. Consumers aren’t equal  

Competition among consumers is also grossly unequal. “Consumer democracy” is rendered meaningless by the fact that a few consumers have most of the votes, because they have most of the money. 

Continue reading

Who Actually Owns BP? [Globalresearch.ca]

Posted in BP oil spill, Deepwater Horizon, Oil consumption, Pentagon, US "War on Terror", US Government Cover-up, USA on August 23, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Rand Clifford

August 22, 2010

Most relevant sources agree that 40% of the shares of BP are held in the United Kingdom, 39% of the shares are held in the United States, while the remaining 21% are held throughout Europe and the rest of the world.  The largest single holder of shares is getting harder to track down.  Generally an Internet search will lead to the other 9 leaders, roughly 23%:

BlackRock (New York) 5.9%
Legal & General (United Kingdom) 4%
Barclays Global Investor (owned by BlackRock) 3.8%
Norges Bank Investment Management (Norway) 1.8%
Kuwait Investment Authority (manages funds for the Kuwaiti Government) 1.75%
M & G Investment Management (UK asset owned by the Prudential) 1.67%
Standard Life (Scottish insurance company) 1.5%
Capital Research & Management Company (Los Angeles) 1.3%
China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange 1.1%

Too many sites fail to mention who owns a whopping 28.34% of BP—more than the other 9 out of the top 10 together. That would be Wall Street’s JPMorgan Chase.  And that certainly explains why our own [sic] government has offered mostly limp and phony bluster and coverup as BP has done pretty much whatever it wants in our new energy sacrifice zone—such as the deliberate blockage of oil collection in favor of bringing in “Carolina Skiffs” and huge aircraft to spray dispersants at night.  BP lies, our government lies and covers, and the Gulf dies.  Evidently, our government’s top priority is limiting BP’s liability.

Nalco is the company that manufactures Corexit dispersant which, despite being banned in the UK because of its toxicity, has been used by the millions of gallons in the Gulf.  Corexit has been approved by our EPA—but only for surface use.  Well, the EPA illegally issued a permit for BP to inject Corexit at the gushing well head.  BP even admitted they used Corexit illegally.  They made an enormous catastrophe even much worse by polluting the Gulf with Corexit. Injecting Corexit right at the well head, they created massive plumes of dispersed oil that float around below the surface, killing life in the Gulf for…long enough.  That’s what energy sacrifice zones are for; BP greatly reduced its liability by killing the Gulf.  Our government tried to convince us that “most” of the oil is miraculously gone—that only 24% remains!  Who would have imagined that our own CorpoMedia would be the one to nix that fairy tale, actually telling the truth that 80% of the oil is still in the Gulf, floating around in those dispersed, biocidal plumes?  When CorpoMedia controverts CorpoGov, it’s obvious that something extraordinary is up.  It’s called goodbye to life in the Gulf of Mexico.  There’s a lot of oil and gas down there, and all the Gulf’s biology is in the way.

What “Size of People” Are You?

Preliminary work involved in transforming the Gulf of Mexico into an energy sacrifice zone has given BP executives ample opportunity to prove that their mouths are big enough to hold both feet.  They have not disappointed.  Who can forget CEO Tony Hayward in that sleazy infomercial about how much BP cared—that BP would “…make things right”?  It was like Corexit spraying from every TV in America.  And of course there was his whining about wanting his life back as he dallied off to a yacht race in UK waters.  But perhaps the most telling gaffe came from the Swedish mouth of BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, right after his meeting with Obama.  Svanberg used the term “small people” to refer to those damaged by BP’s catastrophe-magnified-with-Corexit.  Once wasn’t enough, he used it 3 times; the first time saying that President Obama was “…frustrated, because he cares about the small people”, then he noted that “We at BP care about the small people”, concluding with how much BP “…cares about the small people”.  Of course he abjectly apologized later for speaking “clumsily”, but, hey, Carl-Henric, it’s the thought that counts.

So, yes, unfettered capitalism has replaced the sanctity of human life with different “sizes” depending on the amount of moneypower one commands.  The vast and rapidly growing majority of us are “small people”.  From there upward, transparency falls off precipitously, so it’s progressively more difficult identifying larger sizes—but there’s no stopping conjecture.  Perhaps the mediums include our political class, those doing to the smalls what they are told to do.  Most millionaires probably belong in this group, maybe even Carl-Henric Svanberg himself.  In the large size are the billionaires, as well as many of those behind blacked-out windows being chauffeured to annual Bilderberg meetings. Beyond the large, secrecy becomes so profound it’s like lying on the bottom of a stream and trying to spot airplanes cruising by at 40,000 feet.  In the X-large and XX-large sizes are surely those who make the final decisions about wars, depressions, and the major energy sacrifice zones.  Top multi-national corporations are up in this zone.  And it’s a safe bet that anyone or anything this high probably ascended on the power of fossil fuels.  In 2010, 3 of the 5 largest corporations in the world are: #2, Royal Dutch Shell; #3, Exxon Mobil; #4, BP.

The Actual Costs of Fossil Fuels

This is another realm where transparency gets muddied by secrecy, indirection and lies. But when you start factoring in oil wars, and wars over transfer routes (both currently disguised as wars on terror), you quickly transcend the cost of all the “economically unfeasible” clean and renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, ocean wave, biomass…. Then when you consider things such as pollution… fossil energy becomes—perhaps with climate change—terminally expensive.  And then there’s the social damage of extreme wealth concentration, and attendant commodification and stratification of human life (the different sizes, just like shirts), along with the rapidly growing assembly of energy sacrifice zones—…could any energy be more expensive?  It seems the answer is no.

Yet we drill and fracture and bulldoze maniacally in our quest to wring out remaining oil, natural gas, and coal…  The answer to the question WHY? would be just another cost of fossil fuel.

The medium, large, X-large and XX-large have proven they will do anything to perpetuate the system that has given them their size.   Meanwhile, it appears the only salvation for the vast bulk of humanity, along with most of Earth’s species, is in the hands of the small people.  We vastly outnumber all other sizes put together, and that leads to one of the scariest questions of all:  Just how small are we?

Rand’s novels CASTLING, a “Story of the Power of Hemp”…and, TIMING, the sequel…are published by StarChief Press.

Article link here

BP and the Government’s Record of Failure in Capping the Oil Well [Globalresearch.ca / Washington’s Blog]

Posted in BP oil spill, Deepwater Horizon, US Government Cover-up, USA on August 19, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手
Relief Wells Delayed.  New Tests Show “Gap” in Oil “Well Column”
by Washington’s Blog
August 16 , 2010

An oil and gas industry veteran with 30 years experience who goes by the alias Fishgrease gave a pretty good recap of BP and the government’s record of failure in capping the oil well:

1.  BP does [an infamously reckless] job,…creating conditions favorable to loss of control of what is very possibly the largest well in the history ot the Gulf of Mexico. Result: Blowout. FAIL

2.  For more than a day, BP insists there is no leakage. Result: Wrong. FAIL

3.  BP admits that well is leaking. Says leak is 1000 BOPD. Result: Wrong. FAIL

4.  NOAA, USCG and independent groups say the leak sure looks more like 5000 BOPD. BP says… DEAL! It’s 5000 BOPD! How silly of us! Result: Wrong. FAIL

Round about here, BP succumbs to pressure from … Congress and other groups and begins to release video feeds of that is happening under a mile of Gulf water, at the damaged well.

5.  BP builds a huge metal barn to lower over one of the leaks. Result: G@*!@^$ thing clogs with hydrate ice within seconds. FAIL

6.  BP installs Insertion Tube Technology. Result: Captures a very small and day-by-day-smaller portion of the leak. FAIL

7.  BP tries Diamond Wire Saw Technology to cut the damaged riser off the top of the BOP, leaving a clean even surface to seat a cap. Result: Wire gets stuck. FAIL

8.  BP tries Crunchy… a huge hydraulic Jaws-of-Death to snip the riser. Result: Jagged, bent, uneven surface upon which nothing will seal. FAIL

9.  BP lowers cap #4. Steam Punk fans rejoice! Result: This cap is capturing only a minor fraction of the leak. FAIL

10.  BP is ordered to increase containment capacity by the USCG. Says it will. Doesn’t. Starts piping a portion of the leak to the Q4000 where it is all burned, unmeasured. Result: They’re capturing or burning an estimated 50% of the leak, when they were ordered to catch it ALL. FAIL

11.  BP is again ordered to increase capture capacity via sternly-worded letter. Finally installs another processing boat. Result: Still not getting much more than 50% of the leak. Makes excuse that there’s not enough room in the [f***ing] Gulf of Mexico to park another boat. FAIL

12.  BP installs “Capping Stack Technology” in order to more effectively capture leak. Result: Vented riser immediately freezes off. This is the beginning of the end of capture. FAIL

Continue reading

Hell Has Come to South Louisiana – “There has been a BP cover-up since day one” [Dahr Jamail’s Dispatches]

Posted in BP oil spill, Deepwater Horizon, Environmental disaster, Media cover-up, Obama, USA on July 21, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

This subject of this story has been a Vietnam Vet and worked for Brown and Root in the oil industry, so he should be an expert on hell, cover-ups, liars and killers – 左手

by Dahr Jamail

July 11, 2010

Clint Guidry is a shrimper from Lafitte, Louisiana.  As we sit together, he shows me a picture of his house with 18 inches of water in it as a result of Hurricane Ike in 2008.

In his deep voice, he looks me in the eye and says, “My fear is repeating this situation, but with this water with oil on top of it.”

Guidry represents all the shrimpers in Louisiana, given that he is the Shrimp Harvester Representative on the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force that was created by the state’s governor.

Prior to this fishing season, he, like the rest of Louisiana’s fishermen, was excited for good season, with the price of shrimp per pound finally weighing more in their favor.

“We were primed for a great season,” Guidry says, “And it all got taken away.”

 Unlike most fishermen who’ve had their livelihoods decimated by BP’s oil disaster, Guidry has chosen not to work for BP doing skimming and booming operations with his boat.

“I worked for Brown and Root in the oil industry,” Guidry informs, “I know the dangers of oil and chemicals, so there’s no way I’m going to go work out in this stuff.  Instead, I’m trying to help make sure BP is paying people, and being safe.  But I’m not accomplishing either one yet.”

Guidry is incensed at what he is seeing.

“There has been a BP cover-up from day one,” he says, as I write furiously in my notepad, trying to keep up, “The US Government, OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration], the Coast Guard, NIOSH [National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health], all of them are in on it.”

On May 24th, in Galliano, Louisiana, Guidry testified to a delegation of US Senators, Congressmen, and Agencies and departments under Obama’s administration.  He sent the testimony to the president as well, urgently requesting help.

Here is his testimony:

My name is Clint Guidry.  I am a third generation Louisiana Commercial Shrimp Fisherman.  I am sixty-two years old and a lifelong resident of Lafitte, LA.  I am a Vietnam Veteran and the son of a WWII Veteran.

I am on the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Shrimp Association and the Shrimp Harvester Representative on the LA Shrimp Task Force created by Executive Order of Gov. Bobby Jindal.

I have been invited here today to testify about the current disaster that is occurring concerning the blowout and oil spill from the British Petroleum (BP) DeepWater Horizon Catastrophe and what effects it is having on the fishermen and the families I represent.

Ladies and gentlemen, HELL has come to South Louisiana.  A HELL created by British Petroleum (BP) and a failed U.S. Government response to the disaster.

First of all I would like to put into perspective BP’s role in this disaster and show them for what they are.

BP committed fraud in furnishing oil spill response data required to obtain a permit to enable them to drill the MC 252 location.  The reality is they were not prepared to handle or control a blowout and resulting oil spill of this magnitude.  Simply put, they LIED.

BP, in their haste to cut corners and save money in the completion process on the well location at MC 252, exhibited willful neglect in their duties to complete the well safely which led to the blowout and explosion that killed eleven people…

This neglect and loss of life constitutes negligent homicide and all involved should be arrested and charged as such.

So now I have established what kind of people we are dealing with, LIARS and KILLERS.  It appalls me that they are still in total control of this disaster after almost a month has passed.

Now I would like to speak about our Federal Response to the disaster.

The first response to the disaster was the U.S. Coast Guard, who has assumed duties of protecting BP and aiding them in downplaying the spill, providing BP representatives with armed guards to keep away the press and TV camera crews and sending representatives to local communities to provide false information on safety and health dangers related to the oil spill and the chemical dispersants used.

The second response came from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who in an effort to minimize the spill and save BP face, unleashed two dangerous chemical dispersants which were injected into the water column at the sea floor and sprayed on the surface over the oil and workers in the areas of the spill and along the coast close to coastal fishing communities.  These chemical dispersants contain solvents that are dangerous to marine populations in the Gulf and coastal estuaries and were never fully tested for dangers to humans.  In the product sheets for these chemical dispersants, there is always a disclaimer:  “This listing does not mean that EPA approves, recommends, licenses, certifies or authorizes the use of this product on an oil discharge.”

And that IS exactly what EPA did and is still doing with total disregard to marine populations that will collapse because of it and human populations that will get sick and may die because of this decision.

“Kill the Ocean, Save the Beaches,” a “Trade-Off” decision.  Under what logic does this work?  The Gulf is the Mother and the Estuaries are the nurseries.  If the Mother dies, there will be no children to incubate.

The reality is the oil and chemical dispersants are entering our estuaries as we speak.  The “Trade-Off” logic FAILED.

As I stated, I represent commercial shrimp fishermen.  I have members, friends and family presently working to contain and clean-up the spill.  They are relating to me BP’s total disregard for providing workers with proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

I have extensive experience working with hazardous chemicals associated with petroleum.  In the 80’s and 90’s I worked with Brown and Root Industrial Services as a supervisor, General Superintendant and Area Superintendant.  I supervised maintenance work in oil refineries and was responsible for worker safety and getting the work done on time.  Safety and health of my workers ALWAYS came first with me.

I am being told by workers and family members that proper respiratory protection is NOT being provided to the fishermen workers.

Petroleum, as it surfaces and spreads over the water and heats, releases dangerous carcinogens and these carcinogens are most concentrated directly over the leaking well and surrounding area where my fishermen are working.  There has been NO respiratory protective PPE issued to workers working directly over this most dangerous area, even as a precaution to have available given they are working 60 miles offshore.  In fact, when some individuals brought their own respirators, they were told by BP representatives on site that if they wore the respirators they would be released from the job.  That disturbs me greatly.

My fishermen are more concerned with losing their jobs and the income they desperately need to pay bills and feed their families than their health.  From years of experience I know that, when protected, work in very hazardous environments can be completed safely using the proper PPE.

Is BP sacrificing my fishermen’s health and lives to protect themselves from liability issues at a later date?

How can we believe liars and killers when they say the worksite is safe?

This is the same game plan Exxon used in Alaska 20 years ago and Alaska fishermen ¬never collected a penny in settlements from Exxon for sickness and deaths related to working clean-up after the Valdez spill.  Exxon never issued respiratory protection to fishermen in the Valdez spill.

These workers safety issues are my top PRIORITY and need to be addressed IMMEDIATELY.

If we are going to allow BP “We the people” 5th Amendment rights in court and use “Taking of Future Profits” to let them off the hook for full responsibility of this disaster, we will be playing the same part as the Alaskans did in the Exxon Valdez Playbook that BP is using on us.

It is past time for our elected officials, Departments and Agencies to abandon the influence of “Big Oil’s” “Big Money” and do what they were elected and appointed to do, represent and protect “We the People” who voted them in office.

This Administration needs to treat BP like what they really are, LIARS and KILLERS and take control of this monumental disaster.

This administration was elected to office on a platform of “CHANGE.”  So far, as it applies to “Big Oil” it is business as usual.  The only change we are experiencing in dealing with “Big Oil” is being “Short-Changed.”

On behalf of the Commercial Shrimpers I represent and the coastal communities who are losing their way of life, I ask that you take control of this out of control situation.

Clint Guidry
Louisiana Shrimp Association

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