Deepwater Horizon: ecosystem could take decades to recover

The Deepwater Horizon disaster could have a lasting impact on the Gulf of Mexico, according to a new paper suggesting that the region’s deep-sea soft-sediment ecosystem could take decades to recover from the 2010 oil spill.

The authors claim  provides comprehensive results on the spill’s effect on deep-water communities at the base of the Gulf’s food chain for the first time.

The spill resulted from an explosion on board the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that occurred on April 20, 2010, and resulted in a total of 4.9 million barrels (205.8 million gallons) of crude in what went on to become the largest offshore oil spill in US history.

BP’s internal records for the Macondo project conflicted with numbers sent to drilling regulators and established a pattern of “consistent misreporting” of well pressures, Alan Huffman, a Houston-based petroleum geophysicist, testified for the U.S. government in a trial over claims tied to the 2010 Gulf spill. The fudged numbers allowed BP to continue drilling for oil, he said.
The oil company created “a very misleading impression” about the well’s safety conditions and engaged in drilling operations that “I’ve never seen an operator do,” Huffman told a judge February 27 in New Orleans.
After hearing evidence in the trial, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans will decide who is liable for damages tied to the largest offshore spill in U.S. history and whether BP, Transocean Ltd. (RIG) or other companies that worked on the project were grossly negligent in their handling of the rig and well. His ruling in the nonjury trial on that issue will affect how much each company may have to pay.

[January 14]

Agreement Reached with U.S. Department of Justice on Deepwater Horizon Claims
ZUG, SWITZERLAND-Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) (SIX: RIGN) today announced that it has reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve certain outstanding civil and potential criminal claims against the company arising from the April 20, 2010, accident involving the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico.

As part of this resolution, a Transocean subsidiary has agreed to plead guilty to one misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA) for negligent discharge of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and pay $1.4 billion in fines, recoveries and penalties, excluding interest.  This resolution will result in the Department of Justice concluding its criminal investigation of Transocean and settling its claims for civil penalties against the company relating to the spill from BP's Macondo well.  The company intends to satisfy its payment obligations over a period of five years, using cash on hand and cash flow from operations.  At September 30, 2012, Transocean had accrued an estimated loss contingency of $1.5 billion associated with claims made by the Department of Justice.

[June 15 2010]
IMO number: 8764597
The DEEPWATER HORIZON was a Reading & Bates Falcon RBS8D design semi-submersible drilling unit capable of operating in harsh environments and water depths up to 8,000 ft (upgradeable to 10,000 ft) using 18¾in 15,000 psi BOP and 21in OD marine riser. here

Marshall Islands Registry in the hot seat: "The Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico was built in South Korea. It was operated by a Swiss company under contract to a British oil firm. Primary responsibility for safety and other inspections rested not with the U.S. government but with the Republic of the Marshall Islands — a tiny, impoverished nation in the Pacific Ocean." full story

BP’s single largest shareholder is the sprawling asset management firm BlackRock, based in New York City, which owned the equivalent of more than one billion shares of BP stock just two weeks before the Deepwater Horizon blowout, according to the financial analysis firm Capital IQ. (Bank of America owns a 34.1 percent stake in BlackRock.)

The second-largest American owner, and third largest over all, is State Street Global Advisors, based in Boston, with 307 million shares. After them are the mutual fund firm Capital Research and Management Company of Los Angeles, with 247 million shares, and the Vanguard Group, based in Malvern, Pa., with 140 million shares. Rounding out the top five is Franklin Resources of San Mateo, Calif., another publicly owned asset management firm, with 131 million shares.

More familiar names crop up further down the list, like Fidelity Investments, with 124 million shares; T. Rowe Price Group, with 93 million shares; and State Farm Insurance, with 79 million shares.

Then there are the banks: as of March 31, JPMorgan Chase held a respectable 76 million shares; Bank of America, 69 million shares; and Goldman Sachs, 42 million shares.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is another a major investor, with nearly 43 million shares.



Perro Negro 6: salvage tender out for sunken rig

A salvage operation to remove the wreck of drilling rig Perro Negro 6, operated by Italian oil services group Saipem, will get underway once Saipem picks a contractor following a recent tender.

The timing (of the removal) is depending on the offer that will be presented by the winner of the tender.

On July 1, the rig capsized as it was laying a pipeline linking Chevron's Block 0 and 14 with the liquefaction plant.

The disaster claimed one fatality and has for the time being cut off supplies from the Chevron-operated blocks, which were to be tied to the plant next year, supplying up to 170 million cubic feet of gas per day initially.

[July 4]
San Donato Milanese (Milan), July 2, 2013– Saipem informs that last night, July 1, the jack up drilling rig Perro Negro 6, due to the collapsing of the seabed under one of the three legs, suddenly tilted and suffered hull damages, causing water intake. The event occurred during the rig positioning on location prior to starting drilling operations, between the coasts of Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, near the mouth of the Congo River, in approximately 40 metres of water.
At 10.30 AM CEST, the rig, with no personnel on-board, capsized and sank.
The emergency procedures were promptly activated last night to ensure the evacuation of the personnel on-board. After the sudden and significant tilting, among the 103 crew members, one was recorded missing and another six incurred minor injuries.