Human rights impacts of oil pollution: US Gulf Coast

Human rights impacts of oil pollution: US Gulf Coast - Companies' actions & roles in explosion & spill

Rig – general (BP, Transocean, Anadarko, Mitsui Offshore/MOEX)

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

Transocean prepares for lawsuits”, Carola Hoyos, Financial Times, 4 May 2010
“When Steven Newman took over as chief executive of Transocean…he could have had no idea how challenging the role would be…Nine of the 11 crew members who died when the…drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20 were Transocean employees.  The rig…was also owned by the company.  But Mr Newman has not been under the same glaring spotlight as…BP, for whom the Swiss-based Transocean was working at the time of the accident.  That is because the law states that BP is responsible for the cost and clean-up of the spilled oil.”

Suddenly, Big Oil is big on safety”, James Gill [column], Times-Picayune, 11 Aug 2010
“…[It] is impossible to believe that the derelictions catalogued in a just-released audit will ever be repeated.  According to British press reports of the audit, prepared by BP seven months before the explosion, Transocean had failed to complete 390 ‘maintenance tasks’ on time.  The equipment allegedly neglected included the blow-out preventer and the emergency well sealing mechanism.  Safety regulations posted on the rig were dated 2002, and maintenance records were missing crucial information.  Transocean maintains it is not liable for clean-up costs, but BP says it is, if gross negligence occurred…Transocean denies any laxity with worker safety, and claims that the backlog of maintenance tasks was overstated…”

Written Testimony [PDF], Lamar McKay, Chairman & President, BP America, before US Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, 11 May 2010
“BP is one of the lease holders and the operator of this exploration well. As operator, BP hired Transocean to conduct the well drilling operations.  Transocean owned the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and its equipment, including the blowout preventer.  The questions we all want answered are: What happened on the seabed and aboard the Deepwater Horizon and why did these things happen?”

Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Strategy and Implications of the Deepwater Horizon Rig Explosion, Steven Newman, Chief Executive Officer, Transocean, Testimony before US Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, 11 May 2010
“I believe it is premature to reach definitive conclusions about what caused the April 20th explosion, but on behalf of our Transocean employees, I feel compelled to respond to some of this speculation…[On] the evening of April 20, there was a sudden, catastrophic failure of the cement, the casing, or both. Therein lies the root cause of this occurrence…” [describes responsibilities of BP as well operator]

Testimony [PDF], James Hackett, President & CEO, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, at hearing on "The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: Ensuring a Financially Responsible Recovery (Part II),” US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security, 22 Jul 2010
“BP, as owner of the sixty-five percent majority interest, is the exclusive operator of the well…Under the Joint Operating Agreement signed by the three owners of the Macondo well, BP is the exclusive operator of the well, the sole decision maker with regard to all operations…[Non]-operating investors rely upon the operator to make the appropriate decisions affecting all operations on the rig.”

Statement Prepared for the Hearing on "The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: Ensuring a Financially Responsible Recovery (Part II) [PDF]”, Naoki Ishii, President, MOEX Offshore 2007 LLC, before US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security, 22 Jul 2010
“ We do not conduct actual field operations or activities to develop oil and gas…When deciding to invest in the project, Offshore [MOEX Offshore] placed confidence in BP’s expertise and experience in drilling deepwater wells in the Gulf. Offshore had no role in the selection or operation of the Deepwater Horizon rig.”

  • 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."

"The rig's on fire! I told you this was gonna happen!", Josh Harkinson, "Blue Marble" blog on Mother Jones, 7 Jun 2010

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Article
4 May 2010

Transocean prepares for lawsuits

Author: Carola Hoyos, Financial Times

When Steven Newman took over as chief executive of Transocean…he could have had no idea how challenging the role would be…Nine of the 11 crew members who died when the…drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20 were Transocean employees....

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