Category : –The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

(BBC) US oil spill: Cost-cutting decisions led to BP disaster

The companies involved in the BP oil spill had made decisions to cut costs and save time that contributed to the disaster, a US panel has found.

In a 48-page report, the presidential commission wrote that the failures were “systemic” and likely to recur without industry and government reform.

But it said BP did not have adequate controls in place to ensure safety.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Theology

Tribune Bureau–Investigators see 'culture of complacency' behind gulf oil spill

A stream of evidence shows that “a culture of complacency” rather than a “culture of safety” prevailed at BP, Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton as they worked on the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, according to the chairmen of the presidential commission investigating the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The panel’s investigators uncovered “a suite of bad decisions,” many still inexplicable, involving tests that were poorly run, alarming results that were ignored, proper equipment that was sidelined and safety barriers that were removed prematurely at the high-pressure well, said William K. Reilly, who is co-chairman of the commission with former Democratic Sen. Bob Graham of Florida.

“Each company is responsible for one or more egregiously bad decisions,” said Reilly, who was an administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, --The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, Energy, Natural Resources

Washington Post: Criminal probe of oil spill to focus on 3 firms and their ties to regulators

A team of federal investigators known as the “BP squad” is assembling in New Orleans 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 the Gulf of Mexico, according to law enforcement and other sources.

The squad at the FBI offices includes investigators from the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard and other federal agencies, the sources said. 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.

While it was known that investigators are examining potential violations of environmental laws, it is now clear that they are also looking into whether company officials made false statements to regulators, obstructed justice or falsified test results for devices such as the rig’s failed blowout preventer. It is unclear whether any such evidence has surfaced.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Law & Legal Issues, The U.S. Government

Bloombrg: BP Said Preparing to Replace Hayward With Dudley as Board Seeks Recovery

BP Plc plans to appoint Robert Dudley to succeed Tony Hayward as chief executive officer as the board looks to recover the company’s position in the U.S., two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Dudley, the director of BP’s oil spill response unit, is ready to be announced as the company’s first American chief on July 27 and to take the helm Oct. 1, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because a final decision hasn’t yet been made. The decision was reached in discussions with board members about how best to take BP forward and rebuild its U.S. position, the person said. The BP board meets tomorrow to “rubber stamp” the plan, the second person said.

“The fact he is American should help to keep things a little more straightforward in his dealings with the U.S. administration,” Ted Harper, who helps manage $6.8 billion at Frost Investment Advisors in Houston, said today. He doesn’t hold BP stock. “Dudley’s most important task will continue to be making sure that the well is capped.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: The Spiritual Implications of the Oil Spill

Watch….[as the following people speak] from New Orleans Roman Catholic Archbishop Gregory Aymond, Margaret Dubuisson of Catholic Charities of the New Orleans Archdiocese, and Rev. John Dee Jeffries, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Chalmette, discussing the spiritual toll of the oil spill crisis for people along the Gulf Coast.

You may find the video link here.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

BBC–Deepwater Horizon safety alarm 'shut off' before fire

An alarm aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that could have alerted workers to fire and explosive gas had been silenced before the 20 April explosion, a senior rig technician has said.

Mike Williams told a hearing that managers wanted warning sirens and lights silenced because they did want workers disturbed by false alarms.

He said the alarm had been partially shut off months before the blast.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, --The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

BBC: Capped Gulf of Mexico oil well 'withstands pressure'

Tests on BP’s newly capped Gulf of Mexico oil well show pressure has been building up slightly as hoped with no signs of leakage, BP says.

BP vice-president Kent Wells said rising pressure “is giving us more and more confidence”. Tests, however, could be extended beyond Saturday.

The new cap has managed to stop the flow of oil for the first time since a 20 April explosion killed 11 people.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Science & Technology

Keith Chancley, a New Orleans Oyster Shucker Weathering the Storms

John Rotonti, Felix’s owner, would not let the bar go dry. He bought oysters from Florida and Texas to supplement the meager harvest from Louisiana.

Still, a shucker can only do so much in the face of an environmental disaster of mammoth proportions.

Close to closing time, Mr. [Keith] Chancley, who on a good day last year might have made $200 in tips, took a measly $4 out of the tip bucket after the total was split with the rookie shucker (three years on the job) and the novice shucker (a dishwasher in training).

“We’ve got to take the good with the bad,” said Mr. Chancley, a 35-year veteran. “I tell the other shuckers around town ”” we’re a close group ”” just weather the storm. Take it as a time to heal your cramped hands and your soul.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, --The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

NPR: An Evangelical Crusade To Go Green With God

As the oil continues to spill in the Gulf of Mexico, what to do about off-shore drilling and the regulation of the oil industry is cause for debate in Congress and among coastal residents. Now add to this another dimension: religion.

The Southern Baptist Convention has used notably strong language to call on the government ”” and its own congregation ”” to work to prevent such a crisis again.

In a resolution, the Convention called on the government “to act determinatively and with undeterred resolve to end this crisis … to ensure full corporate accountability for damages, clean-up and restoration … and to ensure that government and private industry are not again caught without planning for such possibilities.”

Dr. Russell Moore helped pass that resolution….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, Baptists, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology

CSM–Gulf oil spill: Could 'toxic storm' make beach towns uninhabitable?

Ron Greve expects the worst is yet to come in the oil spill drama that is haranguing beach towns all along the US Gulf Coast. So, like a growing number of residents, the Pensacola Beach solar-cell salesman took a hazardous materials class and received a “hazmat card” upon graduation.

Those cards, says Mr. Greve, could become critical in coming weeks and months. In the case of a hurricane hitting the 250-mile wide slick and pushing it over sand dunes and into beach towns, residents fear they’ll face not only mass evacuations, but potential permanent relocation.

Storm-wizened locals know that it can take days, even weeks, for roads to open and authorities to allow residents to return to inspect the damage and start to rebuild after a hurricane moves through.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, --The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, Energy, Natural Resources

Problem With Cap Causes More Oil to Gush in Gulf

BP’s effort to contain the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico suffered another setback Wednesday, when a discharge of liquid and gases forced the company to remove the containment cap that for three weeks had been able to capture much of the oil gushing from its damaged well.

Adm. Thad W. Allen of the Coast Guard, at a briefing in Washington, said a remote-controlled submersible operating a mile beneath the surface had most likely bumped a vent and compromised the system. Live video from the seafloor showed oil and gas storming out of the well unrestricted.

This was yet another complication in BP’s two-month-old struggle to contain the tens of thousands of barrels of oil spewing into the gulf.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, --The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources

Vatican Aide: Oil Spill Is a Lesson in Humility

The oil spill catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico must be a lesson in humility for all human activities, not only for the energy industry, a Vatican spokesman said.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, spoke on the latest episode of Octava Dies about the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico following an April 20 well blowout on the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil drilling platform.

“It is difficult to calculate the dimensions of the disaster, but they are certainly enormous and continue to grow,” he said.

“There come to mind other grave environmental disasters connected with human activity,” the priest observed, “like those of the chemical factory in Bhopal, India in 1984, or that of the nuclear reactor in Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986, which caused a number of deaths and serious harm to people.”

He continued, “What is striking in this case is the sense of impotence and slowness in finding a solution in the face of the disaster, on the part of one the largest and most well-equipped multinational oil companies in the world, but also on the part of the most powerful country on earth.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, Energy, Natural Resources, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Chris Farrell–The Most Damaging U.S. Deficit: Trust

That said, the most worrisome long-term economic impact of the Gulf spill lies elsewhere: The catastrophe is adding to the gradual erosion in trust in U.S. professional elites and major institutions, from government to business. It has hardly inspired confidence to watch the White House scramble to prove that President Barack Obama wasn’t as detached from the crisis as he often seemed, or to witness the inability of the world’s best oil engineers to stop the underwater gusher.

Confidence in the economy’s commanding heights has taken a beating following a long run of scandals and malfeasance. The list includes everything from the Enron and Worldcom failures, Bernie Madoff’s massive fraud, the subprime loan mess, the government rescues of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG (AIG), the controversy surrounding Goldman Sachs’ (GS) collateralized debt obligations, and so on. The Tea Party movement may grab all the attention with its antigovernment rhetoric, but surveys have repeatedly shown that its sentiment is widely shared. For instance, a series of long-run surveys by the Pew Research Center find that only 22 percent of those surveyed say they can trust government. That’s about the lowest measure in half a century. The ratings are similarly abysmal for large corporations and banks and other financial institutions: respectively 25 percent and 22 percent.

Trust isn’t as easy to measure as land, labor, and capital. It’s more like a recipe or a software protocol that allows for economic exchange and all kinds of innovation. Nobel Prize Laureate Kenneth Arrow famously remarked that “virtually every commercial transaction has within itself an element of trust.” Societies with high levels of trust are fertile ground for developing large corporations and innovative enterprises. Low-trust societies feature people who don’t like to do business with folks outside their family or community; smaller, family-run companies are the norm.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Psychology, Senate, The Banking System/Sector, The U.S. Government, Theology

Local Paper Editorial on the Gulf oil Spill: Why we're in so deep

…beyond speculation about this crisis’ political impact lies re-confirmation of this far more critical reality: As the oil appetite of the world (not just the U.S.) continues to grow, the difficulty in finding enough to go around is growing, too.

Oil will remain an indispensable energy source for decades to come. America must boost domestic production of it within reasonable regulations.

But the Gulf mess is a vivid reminder of the environmental — and economic — hazards of offshore drilling. Those risks are particularly pertinent for South Carolina. We depend heavily on tourism dollars generated by our healthy beaches and coastal wetlands. It’s discouraging to see some of our state’s prominent elected officials, including both of our U.S. senators, remaining supportive of drilling off our precious shores. It’s also frustrating to see so many Americans buying into the myth that “environmental chic” is to blame for the Gulf catastrophe — and for our dangerous dependence on foreign oil.

Long ago, oil virtually leaked from the ground in Texas and Oklahoma. Now it leaks in massive quantities from a mile below the water in the Gulf.

And now we must develop new sources of energy — and a stronger commitment to conservation.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, --The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, Energy, Natural Resources, Politics in General

Oil spill: David Cameron confronts Barack Obama in battle to protect BP

The Prime Minister called for the company to be protected from excessive compensation claims as President Barack Obama made it agree to potentially unlimited damages.

BP provisionally agreed the biggest compensation payment in corporate history, setting up a fund worth at least £13.5 billion to cover the damage caused by its leaking oil pipe in the Gulf of Mexico.

But the US president last night made it clear that BP’s payments could be just the start, warning that the company could still face lawsuits from individuals and American states.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Foreign Relations, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The U.S. Government