Human rights impacts of oil pollution: US Gulf Coast

Companies' actions & roles in explosion & spill - General

Italicised quotations below are selected abstracts; for full text, click hyperlinked titles

The case for the defence – BP casts the blame for the Gulf oil spill widely”, Economist, 9 Sep 2010
“BP’s report on the causes of the accident that led to the loss of the Deepwater Horizon rig and the biggest oil spill in American history describes a litany of mistakes. Had this sequence of errors been halted, catastrophe might have been averted. Some of those mistakes, the report concludes, were BP’s. But its finger also points at Halliburton, which worked on the cement seal at the bottom of the well, and Transocean, which owned and ran the rig and maintained the “blowout preventer” which so signally failed to live up to its name.”

Criminal probe of oil spill to focus on 3 firms and their ties to regulators”, Jerry Markon, Washington Post, 28 Jul 2010
“A team of federal investigators known as the ‘BP squad’ is assembling...to conduct a wide-ranging criminal probe that will focus on at least three companies and examine whether their cozy relations with federal regulators contributed to the oil disaster...In addition to BP, the firms at the center of the inquiry are Transocean, which leased the Deepwater Horizon rig to BP, and engineering giant Halliburton, which had finished cementing the well only 20 hours before the rig exploded April 20, sources said… Scott Dean, a spokesman for…BP, said the company ‘will cooperate with any inquiry the Justice Department undertakes, just as we are doing in response to other inquiries that are ongoing.’”

"Is Another Deepwater Disaster Inevitable?", Joel K. Bourne, Jr., National Geographic, Oct 2010
"The way BP drilled the Macondo well surprised Magne Ognedal, director general of the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA). The Norwegians have drilled high-temperature, high-pressure wells on their shallow continental shelf for decades, he said in a telephone interview, and haven't had a catastrophic blowout since 1985. After that incident, the PSA and the industry instituted a number of best practices for drilling exploration wells. These include riserless drilling from stations on the seafloor, which prevents oil and gas from flowing directly to a rig;...and most important, never allowing fewer than two barriers between the reservoir and the seafloor.  'The decisions [BP] made when they had indications that the well was not stable, the decision to have one long pipe, the decision to have only six centralizers instead of 21 to create the best possible cement job—some of these things were very surprising to us here,' says Ognedal."

Partner Accuses BP of Recklessness”, Clifford Krauss, New York Times, 18 Jun 2010
“The chief executive of Anadarko Petroleum, a BP partner, accused BP late Friday of recklessness in the way the company managed the gulf well project before it ended in environmental disaster.”

BP is in the Gulf to Stay”, speech by Bob Dudley, BP’s Managing Director, to Southern Governors’ Association, Birmingham Alabama, 29 Aug 2010
“I have witnessed the consequences of the oil spill first hand – and it is saddening and frustrating to see the wildlife that had been harmed, but most importantly meeting people who have relied on the water for their livelihoods, in some cases for generations...[O]ur efforts to cap the well, contain the spill and make people whole are both massive and unprecedented...[I]n the limited time I have today, I want to do three things. First, I want to summarize what we have done up until this point; Second, I will outline how we are planning to move forward; And finally, why you can rely on us...We know that we will be judged by our response to this crisis. I can assure you that we and the entire industry will learn from this terrible event, and emerge from it stronger, smarter and safer than ever before.”

Statement by MOEX Offshore re oil pollution & human rights on US Gulf Coast [DOC], 17 Sep 2010
"MOEX Offshore is deeply saddened by the tragedy of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who were lost during the explosion and to all of those who have been affected by this disaster. We recognize the impact this has had on families and businesses in the Gulf, and as a ten-percent minority non-operating investor in the project we will continue to cooperate with the authorities involved in the investigations."

US Senate hearings – May 2010

BP's US Gulf project exempted from enviro analysis”, Jeffrey Jones and Jeff Mason, Reuters, 6 May 2010
"U.S. regulators exempted BP from a detailed environmental review of the exploration project that ultimately resulted in the deadly Gulf of Mexico explosion and subsequent oil spill, documents show.  The Minerals Management Service granted BP's project a ‘categorical exclusion’ from full environmental analysis normally required under the National Environmental Policy Act, according to documents made available by the Center for Biological Diversity…BP had argued in a letter to the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)…last month that the use of the exclusion for projects did not mean environmental impacts were being ignored, only that an agency agrees they are deemed to be minimal or nonexistent.”

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Article
28 July 2010

Criminal probe of oil spill to focus on 3 firms and their ties to regulators [USA]

Author: Jerry Markon, Washington Post

A team of federal investigators known as the "BP squad" is assembling...to conduct a wide-ranging criminal probe that will focus on at least three companies and examine whether their cozy relations with federal regulators contributed to the oil...

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Article
19 June 2010

BP rejects oil drill partner's 'negligence' claim [USA]

Author: BBC News

BP has denied claims by one of its partners that its handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill amounted to "gross negligence"...BP said it "strongly disagrees" with Anadarko Petroleum, who said BP's behaviour in the run-up to the disaster was "reckless...

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Article
11 May 2010

'Don't Blame Me' Is Refrain At Gulf Oil Spill Hearing

Author: National Public Radio (NPR) [USA]

Executives of the three companies involved in one of the worst spills in U.S. history acknowledged in testimony before a Senate panel that investigators have yet to pinpoint exactly what caused the disaster, but they spent little time before trying to...

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Article
6 May 2010

BP's US Gulf project exempted from enviro analysis

Author: Jeffrey Jones and Jeff Mason, Reuters

U.S. regulators exempted BP from a detailed environmental review of the exploration project that ultimately resulted in the deadly Gulf of Mexico explosion and subsequent oil spill, documents show. The Minerals Management Service granted BP's project...

Read more