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“Stage Two” of the BP Gulf of Mexico Environmental Disaster New Drilling Permits amid 28,000 Unmonitored Abandoned Wells

Posted by Admin on October 28, 2011

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=27279

by Rady Ananda

Global Research, October 25, 2011
24,486 permanent and 3,593 temporarily abandoned wells in the Gulf of Mexico [Image]
Since BP’s catastrophic Macondo Blowout in the Gulf of Mexico last year, the Obama Administration has granted nearly 300 new drilling permits [1] and shirked plans to plug 3,600 of more than 28,000 abandoned wells, which pose significant threats to the severely damaged sea. Among those granted new permits for drilling in the Gulf, on Friday Obama granted BP permission to explore for oil in the Gulf, allowing it to bid on new leases that will be sold at auction in December.

Reports Dow Jones: “The upcoming lease sale, scheduled for Dec. 14 in New Orleans, involves leases in the western Gulf of Mexico. The leases cover about 21 million acres, in water depths of up to 11,000 feet. It will be the first lease auction since the Deepwater Horizon spill.” [2]

Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey objected to BP’s participation in the upcoming lease sale, pointing out that: “Comprehensive safety legislation hasn’t passed Congress, and BP hasn’t paid the fines they owe for their spill, yet BP is being given back the keys to drill in the Gulf.”

Environmental watchdog, Oceana, added its objection to the new permits, saying that none of the new rules implemented since April 2010 would have prevented the BP disaster. “Our analysis shows that while the new rules may increase safety to some degree, they likely would not have prevented the last major oil spill, and similarly do not adequately protect against future ones.” [3]

Detailing the failure of the Dept. of Interior’s safety management systems, Oceana summarizes:

  • Regulation exemptions (“departures”) are often granted, including one that arguably led to the BP blowout;
  • Economic incentives make violating rules lucrative because penalties are ridiculously small;
  • Blowout preventers continue to have critical deficiencies; and
  • Oversight and inspection levels are paltry relative to the scale of drilling operation.

Nor have any drilling permits been denied [4] since the BP catastrophe on April 20, 2010, which still spews oil today [5].

28,079 Abandoned Wells in Gulf of Mexico

In an explosive report at Sky Truth, John Amos reveals from government data that “there are currently 24,486 known permanently abandoned wells in the Gulf of Mexico, and 3,593 ‘temporarily’ abandoned wells, as of October 2011.” [6]

Over a year ago, the Dept. of Interior promised to plug the “temporarily abandoned” (TA) wells, and dismantle another 650 production platforms no longer in use. [7] At an estimated decommissioning cost of $1-3 billion [8], none of this work has been started, though Feds have approved 912 permanent abandonment plans and 214 temporary abandonment plans submitted since its September 2010 rule. [9]

Leaking abandoned wells pose a significant environmental and economic threat. TA wells are those temporarily sealed so that future drilling can be re-started. Both TA wells and “permanently abandoned” (PA) wells endure no inspections.

Over 600 of those abandoned wells belong to BP, reported the Associated Press last year. “Experts say abandoned wells can repressurize, much like a dormant volcano can awaken. And years of exposure to sea water and underground pressure can cause cementing and piping to corrode and weaken.” [10]

The AP added that some of the permanently abandoned wells date back to the 1940s.  And Amos advises that some of the “temporarily abandoned” wells date back to the 1950s.

A three-month EcoHearth investigation revealed that a minimum of 2.5 million abandoned wells in the US and 20-30 million worldwide receive no follow up inspections to ensure they are not leaking. Worse:

“There is no known technology for securely sealing these tens of millions of abandoned wells. Many—likely hundreds of thousands—are already hemorrhaging oil, brine and greenhouse gases into the environment. Habitats are being fundamentally altered. Aquifers are being destroyed. Some of these abandoned wells are explosive, capable of building-leveling, toxin-spreading detonations. And thanks to primitive capping technologies, virtually all are leaking now—or will be.” [11]

Sealed with cement, adds EcoHearth, “Each abandoned well is an environmental disaster waiting to happen. The triggers include accidents, earthquakes, natural erosion, re-pressurization (either spontaneous or precipitated by fracking) and, simply, time.”

As far back as 1994, the Government Accountability Office advised that there was no effective strategy in place to inspect abandoned wells, nor were bonds sufficient to cover the cost of abandonment. Lease abandonment costs estimated at “$4.4 billion in current dollars … were covered by only $68 million in bonds.” [12]

The GAO concluded that “leaks can occur… causing serious damage to the environment and marine life,” adding that “MMS has not encouraged the development of nonexplosive structure removal technologies that would eliminate or minimize environmental damage.”

Not only cement, but seals, valves and gaskets can deteriorate over time. A 2000 report by C-FER Technologies to the Dept. of Interior identified several  different points where well leaks can occur, as this image (p. 26) reveals.  [13]

To date, no regulations prescribe a maximum time wells may remain inactive before being permanently abandoned. “The most common failure mechanisms (corrosion, deterioration, and malfunction) cause mainly small leaks [up to 49 barrels, or 2,058 gallons]. Corrosion is historically known to cause 85% to 90% of small leaks.”

Depending on various factors, C-FER concludes that “Shut-In” wells reach an environmental risk threshhold in six months, TA wells in about 10-12 years, and PA wells in 25 years.  Some of these abandoned wells are 63 years old.

The AP noted that none of the 1994 GAO recommendations have been implemented. Abandoned wells remain uninspected and pose a threat which the government continues to ignore.

Agency Reorganization

Not only was nothing was done with the 1994 GAO recommendations to protect the environment from abandoned wells, its 2003 reorganization recommendations [14] were likewise ignored.  In a June 2011 report on agency reorganization in the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill, the GAO reports that “as of December 2010,” the DOI “had not implemented many recommendations we made to address numerous weaknesses and challenges.” [15]

The Minerals Management Service (MMS) was renamed the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) last May after MMS drew heavy fire for malfeasance, including allowing exemptions to safety rules it granted to BP. An Office of Inspector General investigation revealed that MMS employees accepted gifts from the oil and gas industry, including sex, drugs and trips, and falsified inspection reports. [16]

Reorganization proceeded.  Effective October 1, 2011, the Dept. of the Interior split BOEMRE into three new federal agencies: the Office of Natural Resources Revenue to collect mineral leasing fees, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) “to carry out the offshore energy management and safety and environmental oversight missions.” The DOI admits:

“The Deepwater Horizon blowout and resulting oil spill shed light on weaknesses in the federal offshore energy regulatory system, including the overly broad mandate and inherently conflicted missions of MMS which was charged with resource management, safety and environmental protection, and revenue collection.” [17]

BOEM essentially manages the development of offshore drilling, while BSEE oversees environmental protection, with some eco-protection overlap between the two agencies. [18]

Early this month, BSEE Director Michael Bromwich spoke at the Global Offshore Safety Summit Conference in Stavanger, Norway, sponsored by the International Regulators Forum. He announced a new position, Chief Environmental Officer of the BOEM:

“This person will be empowered, at the national level, to make decisions and final recommendations when leasing and environmental program heads cannot reach agreement. This individual will also be a major participant in setting the scientific agenda for the United States’ oceans.” [19]

Bromwich failed to mention anything about the abandoned wells under his purview. Out of sight, out of mind.

Cost of the Macondo Blowout

Today, the GAO published its final report of a three-part series on the Gulf oil disaster. [20]  Focused on federal financial exposure to oil spill claims, the accountants nevertheless point out that, as of May 2011, BP paid $700 million toward those spill claims out of its $20 billion Trust established to cover that deadly accident. BP and Oxford Economics estimate the total cost for eco-cleanup and compensatory economic damages will run to the “tens of billions of dollars.” [21]

On the taxpayer side, the GAO estimates the federal government’s costs will exceed the billion dollar incident cap set by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (as amended). As of May 2011, agency costs reached past $626 million.

The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund’s income is generated from an oil barrel tax that is set to expire in 2017, notes GAO.

With today’s District Court decision in Louisiana, BP also faces punitive damages on “thousands of thousands of thousands of claims.” U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier denied BP’s appeal that might have killed several hundred thousand claims, among them that clean up workers have still not been fully paid by BP. [22]

Notes

[1] U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, “Status of Gulf of Mexico Well Permits,” n.d. http://www.bsee.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Permits/Status-of-Gulf-of-Mexico-Well-Permits.aspx

[2] Tennille Tracy, “US Govt Approves First BP Deepwater Exploration Plan in US Gulf Under New Rules,” Dow Jones News Wire, 24 Oct. 2011. Reproduced athttp://www.firstenercastfinancial.com/news/story/45441-us-govt-approves-first-bp-deepwater-exploration-plan-us-gulf-under-new-rules

[3] Michael Craig and Jacqueline Savitz, “False Sense of Safety: Safety Measures Will Not Make Offshore Drilling Safe,” Oceana, 20 Oct. 2011http://na.oceana.org/sites/default/files/reports/OffshoreSafetyReport_Oceana_10-18-11.pdf

Also see Oceana’s online appendix showing an analysis of each new safety measure’s effect on safety.http://na.oceana.org/sites/default/files/OnlineAppendix_SafetyReport_Oceana_10-19-11.pdf

[4] U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, “Application for Permit to Drill (APD) Approval Process and Definitions,” n.d.http://www.bsee.gov/uploadedFiles/APD_Facts_and_Definitions_BSEE.pdf

[5] See, e.g.: David Edwards, “New evidence of a massive oil slick near Deepwater Horizon site,” Raw Story, 1 Sept. 2011.http://www.rawstory.com/rawreplay/2011/09/new-evidence-of-a-massive-oil-slick-near-deepwater-horizon-site/

Frank Whalen, “Oil Still Gushing from Bp Well in Gulf,” American Free Press, 2 Sept. 2011. http://americanfreepress.net/?p=341

Dahr Jamail, “Environmental Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico: The Escalation of BP’s Liability,” Global Research, 5 Oct. 2011. 
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=26947

Luis R. Miranda, “Gulf of Mexico Sea Floor Unstable, Fractured, Spilling Hydrocarbons,” The Real Agenda, 10 Oct. 2011. http://real-agenda.com/2011/10/10/gulf-of-mexico-sea-floor-unstable-fractured-spilling-hydrocarbons/

[6] John Amos, “Over 28,000 Abandoned Wells in the Gulf of Mexico,” 18 Oct. 2011. http://blog.skytruth.org/2011/10/abandoned-wells-in-gulf-of-mexico.html

[7] U.S. Dept. of the Interior, “Interior Department Issues ‘Idle Iron’ Guidance,” 15 Sept. 2010. http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/Interior-Department-Issues-Idle-Iron-Guidance.cfm

[8] Siobhan Hughes, “Plugs Ordered on Idle Wells: Move to Permanently Seal Sites in Gulf Could Cost Billions but Create New Work,” Wall Street Journal, 16 Sept. 2010.http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703743504575493782591743858.html

[9] U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, “Idle Iron Update,” n.d. (pp. 9-16) https://www.noia.org/website/download.asp?id=47290

[10] Jeff Donn and Mitch Weiss, “Gulf of Mexico hides 27,000 abandoned wells,” Associated Press, 7 July 2010. http://www.dallasnews.com/news/state/headlines/20100707-Gulf-of-Mexico-hides-27-000-1068.ece

[11] Steven Kotler, “Planet Sludge: Millions of Abandoned, Leaking Oil Wells and Natural-Gas Wells Destined to Foul Our Future,” EcoHearth, 17 Aug. 2011.http://ecohearth.com/eco-zine/green-issues/1609-abandoned-leaking-oil-wells-natural-gas-well-leaks-disaster.html 

[12] U.S. Government Accounting Office, “Offshore Oil and Gas Resources: Interior Can Improve its Management of Lease Abandonment,” (GAO/RCED-94-82) May 1994.http://archive.gao.gov/t2pbat3/151878.pdf

[13] J.R. Nichols and S.N. Kariyawasam, “Risk Assessment of Temporarily Abandoned or Shut-in Wells,” C-FER Technologies, Oct. 2000.http://www.boemre.gov/tarprojects/329/329AA.pdf

[14] U.S. Government Accounting Office, “Results-Oriented Cultures: Implementation Steps to Assist Mergers and Organizational Transformations,” (GAO-03-669) 2 July 2003. http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-03-669

[15] U.S. Government Accountability Office, “Oil and Gas: Interior’s Restructuring Challenges in the Aftermath of the Gulf Oil Spill,” (GAO-11-734T) 2 June 2011.http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11734t.pdf

[16] U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Office of Inspector General, “Investigative Report – Island Operating Company, et al.,” 31 March 2010.http://www.govexec.com/pdfs/052510ts1.pdf

[17] U.S. Dept. of the Interior, “Interior Department Completes Reorganization of the Former MMS,” 30 Sept. 2011. http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/Interior-Department-Completes-Reorganization-of-the-Former-MMS.cfm#

[18] U.S. Dept. of the Interior, untitled document distinguishing the areas of responsibility between the BOEM and the BSEE. n.d.http://www.bsee.gov/uploadedFiles/A%20to%20Z%20Guide%20web%20version%281%29.pdf

[19] U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, “BSEE Director Delivers Remarks at the International Regulators Forum 2011 Global Offshore Safety Summit Conference,” 4 Oct. 2011. http://www.boemre.gov/ooc/press/2011/press1004.htm

[20] U.S. Government Accountability Office, “Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Actions Needed to Reduce Evolving but Uncertain Federal Financial Risks,” (GAO-12-86), 24 Oct. 2011. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d1286.pdf

[21] U.S. Government Accountability Office, “Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Preliminary Assessment of Federal Financial Risks and Cost Reimbursement and Notification Policies and Procedures,” 9 Nov. 2010. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d1190r.pdf

[22] Sabrina Canfield, “Judge Denies BP Appeal That Might Have Killed Thousands of Claims, Courthouse News Service,” 24 Oct. 2011.http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/10/24/40864.htm

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Rady Ananda is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Rady Ananda

 

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The real cost of cheap oil

Posted by Admin on January 17, 2011

BP OIL SPILL Disaster

See how destructive we can be!

http://beta.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article440692.ece

JOHN VIDAL – May 29, 2010 [REPOST]

Big Oil is holding its breath. BP’s shares are in steep decline after the debacle in the Gulf of Mexico. Barack Obama, the American people and the global environmental community are outraged, and now the company stands to lose the rights to drill for oil in the Arctic and other ecologically sensitive places.

The gulf disaster may cost it a few billion dollars, but so what? When annual profits for a company often run to tens of billions, the cost of laying 5,000 miles of booms, or spraying millions of gallons of dispersants and settling 100,000 court cases is not much more than missing a few months’ production. It’s awkward, but it can easily be passed on.

The oil industry‘s image is seriously damaged, but it can pay handsomely to greenwash itself, just as it managed after Exxon Valdez, Brent Spar and the Ken Saro-Wiwa public relations disasters. In a few years’ time, this episode will probably be forgotten — just another blip in the fortunes of the industry that fuels the world. But the oil companies are nervous now because the spotlight has been turned on their cavalier attitude to pollution and on the sheer incompetence of an industry that is used to calling the shots.

Big Oil’s real horror was not the spillage, which was common enough, but because it happened so close to the US. Millions of barrels of oil are spilled, jettisoned or wasted every year without much attention being paid.

If this accident had occurred in a developing country, say off the west coast of Africa or Indonesia, BP could probably have avoided all publicity and escaped starting a clean-up for many months. It would not have had to employ booms or dispersants, and it could have ignored the health effects on people and the damage done to fishing. It might have eventually been taken to court and could have been fined a few million dollars, but it would probably have appealed and delayed a court decision for a decade or more.

Big Oil is usually a poor country’s most powerful industry, and is generally allowed to act like a parallel government. In many countries it simply pays off the judges, the community leaders, the lawmakers and the ministers, and it expects environmentalists and local people to be powerless. Mostly it gets away with it.

What the industry dreads more than anything else is being made fully accountable to developing countries for the mess it has made and the oil it has spilt in the forests, creeks, seas and deserts of the world.

There are more than 2,000 major spillage sites in the Niger delta that have never been cleaned up; there are vast areas of the Colombian, Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazon that have been devastated by spillages, the dumping of toxic materials and blowouts. Rivers and wells in Venezuela, Angola, Chad, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Uganda and Sudan have been badly polluted. Occidental, BP, Chevron, Shell and most other oil companies together face hundreds of outstanding lawsuits. Ecuador alone is seeking $30bn from Texaco. The only reason oil costs $70-$100 a barrel today, and not $200, is because the industry has managed to pass on the real costs of extracting the oil. If the developing world applied the same pressure on the companies as Obama and the U.S. senators are now doing, and if the industry were forced to really clean up the myriad messes it causes, the price would jump and the switch to clean energy would be swift.

If the billions of dollars of annual subsidies and the many tax breaks the industry gets were withdrawn, and the cost of protecting oil companies in developing countries were added, then most of the world’s oil would almost certainly be left in the ground. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2010

(John Vidal is the Guardian’s environment correspondent.)

 

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Feds sue BP, other companies for oil spill damages

Posted by Admin on December 16, 2010

Seal of the United States Department of Justice

Image via Wikipedia

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101216/ap_on_bi_ge/us_gulf_oil_spill_justice

NEW ORLEANS – A powerful plaintiff has joined the hundreds of people and businesses suing BP and other companies involved in the Gulf oil spill: the Justice Department.

The government, in an opening salvo in its effort to get billions of dollars for untold economic and environmental damage, accuses the companies of disregarding federal safety regulations in drilling the well that blew out April 20 and triggered a deadly explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig. Wednesday’s lawsuit is separate from a Justice Department criminal probe that has not resulted in any charges.

“The department’s focus on investigating this disaster and preventing future (spills) is not over,” Attorney General Eric Holder said during a news conference in Washington. “Both our civil and criminal investigations are ongoing.”

The federal lawsuit filed in New Orleans names BP, rig owner Transocean and some other companies involved in the ill-fated drilling project, but not Halliburton — the project’s cement contractor — or the maker of a key cutoff valve that failed. Both could be added later.

BP said it would respond to the claims later but noted that it stands “alone among the parties” in having already stepped up to pay for the cleanup. It said in a statement that it will continue to fulfill its commitments to the Gulf and to cooperate with investigations.

“The filing is solely a statement of the government’s allegations and does not in any manner constitute any finding of liability or any judicial finding that the allegations have merit,” BP said.

The lawsuit makes it possible for the federal government to seek billions of dollars in penalties for polluting the Gulf of Mexico, beaches and wetlands, and reimbursement for its cleanup costs. More than 300 lawsuits filed previously by individuals and businesses, and now consolidated in the New Orleans federal court, include claims for financial losses and compensation for the families of 11 workers killed in the blast.

The judge overseeing those lawsuits had set Wednesday as the deadline to file certain types of complaints, though it was unclear whether the government was bound by that time frame.

“The Justice Department has left its options open to argue that there was gross negligence and therefore should be higher penalties,” said David Uhlmann, a law professor at the University of Michigan who headed up the Justice Department’s environmental crimes section for seven years. “The government has not limited itself in any way with the filing of its civil lawsuit.”

The suit asks that the companies be held liable without limitation under the Oil Pollution Act for all removal costs and damages caused by the spill, including damages to natural resources. The lawsuit also seeks civil penalties under the Clean Water Act.

The government did not set a dollar figure in the lawsuit, saying the amount of damages and the extent of injuries sustained by the United States are not yet fully known.

Under the Clean Water Act alone, BP faces fines of up to $1,100 for each barrel of oil spilled. If BP were found to have committed gross negligence or willful misconduct, the fine could be up to $4,300 per barrel.

That means that based on the government’s estimate of 206 million gallons released by the well, BP could face civil fines of between $5.4 billion and $21.1 billion. BP disputes the government’s spill estimate.

The government did not specify in its lawsuit whether it believes there was gross negligence, but it left open the possibility for such a finding later.

Besides BP Exploration & Production Inc., the other defendants in the case are Anadarko Exploration & Production LP; Anadarko Petroleum Corp.; MOEX Offshore 2007 LLC; Triton Asset Leasing GMBH; Transocean Holdings LLC; Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc.; Transocean Deepwater Inc.; and Transocean’s insurer, QBE Underwriting Ltd./Lloyd’s Syndicate 1036. Anadarko and MOEX are minority owners of the well that blew out.

Transocean disputed the allegations and insisted it should not be held liable.

“No drilling contractor has ever been held liable for discharges from a well under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990,” Transocean said in a statement. “The responsibility for hydrocarbons discharged from a well lies solely with its owner and operator.”

Anadarko said ultimate responsibility may rest solely with the operator of the well — BP.

“As a non-operating minority interest holder in the well, we were not involved in the operations or decisions that occurred on the drilling rig,” Anadarko said in a statement. “We recognize that we may have obligations under federal law, and we will continue to look to the operator to pay all legitimate claims as it has committed to do.”

The staff of a presidentially appointed commission looking into the spill has said the disaster resulted from questionable decisions and management failures by BP, Transocean and Halliburton Energy Services Inc. The panel found 11 decisions made by these companies increased risk. Most saved time, and all but one had a safer alternative.

Halliburton and Cameron International, which made the rig’s failed blowout preventer, weren’t named as defendants in the suit. Halliburton did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Eric Schaeffer, who led the Environmental Protection Agency’s civil enforcement office from 1997 to 2002, cited three possible explanations for omitting Halliburton. The company could be close to a settlement, Justice needs more time to develop its case against Halliburton, or the government thinks it doesn’t have a strong enough case against Halliburton.

Schaeffer said he doubts the government will let Halliburton completely off the hook.

“I would be inclined more toward the first explanation,” Schaeffer said. “If they think Halliburton is maybe less culpable, they may be able to reach a settlement quicker. That could help them build their case against the rest of the companies.”

Bruce Parris, manager of The Dock restaurant and bar just a few feet off the sand in Pensacola Beach, Fla., said “it’s about time” President Obama started to hold BP accountable. He was standing on the restaurant’s deck, watching large tractors sift through the sand as part of BP’s beach cleanup operations.

“I’m all for anything. I don’t care how they get money out of BP. Just get it,” Parris said.

Separately, an administrator is doling out money to spill victims from a $20 billion fund of BP money.

The government’s lawsuit alleges that safety and operating regulations were violated in the period leading up to the explosion.

It says the defendants failed to keep the well under control and failed to use the best available and safest drilling technology to monitor the well’s conditions. They also failed to maintain continuous surveillance, and to maintain the equipment and material necessary to protect workers, natural resources and the environment, the suit charges.

The Justice Department isn’t the first government entity to sue BP. Alabama Attorney General Troy King filed federal lawsuits in August on behalf of the state against BP, Transocean, Halliburton and other companies that worked on the project.

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BP pledges Gulf of Mexico oil fields to spill fund

Posted by Admin on October 2, 2010

Oil spill containment boom, shown holding back oil

Oil Spill Containment Boom

A logo is seen at a BP fuel station

Spill of Spills

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Gulf oil well on verge of being plugged for good

Posted by Admin on September 17, 2010

NEW ORLEANS – After five months, the oil well that had spewed millions of gallons into the Gulf of Mexico is on the verge of being plugged once and for all.

A relief well drilled nearly 2.5 miles beneath the floor of the Gulf of Mexico intersected BP’s blown-out well, a prelude to permanently killing it, the U.S government said late Thursday.

Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government’s point man on the oil spill, said in a statement that data shows the two wells are joined. The next step will be to pump mud and cement down through the relief well to seal the ruptured well from the bottom.

According to the government, the final seal should happen by Sunday, five agonizing months after an explosion killed 11 workers, sank a drilling rig and led to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. But BP said Friday in a statement that it expected the well to be completely sealed Saturday.

“I am ready for that cigar now,” John Wright, who led the team drilling the relief well, said in an e-mail Friday to The Associated Press from aboard the Development Driller III vessel.

Wright, who is not a BP employee but is working on a contract basis, had told the AP in August that he was looking forward to finishing his mission and celebrating with a cigar, a dinner party with his crew and a trip somewhere quiet to unwind with his wife.

The gusher was contained in mid-July after a temporary cap was successfully fitted atop the well. Mud and cement were later pushed down through the top of the well, allowing the cap to be removed. But the blown-out well cannot be declared dead until it is sealed from the bottom.

The April 20 blast sank the Deepwater Horizon rig and triggered the spill that eventually spewed 206 million gallons of oil from the well. BP PLC is a majority owner of the well and was leasing the rig from owner Transocean Ltd.

The disaster caused an environmental and economic nightmare for people who live, work and play along hundreds of miles of Gulf shoreline from Florida to Texas. It also spurred civil and criminal investigations, cost gaffe-prone BP chief Tony Hayward his job and brought increased governmental scrutiny of the oil and gas industry, including a costly moratorium on deepwater offshore drilling that is still in place.

Gulf residents will be feeling the pain for years to come. There is still plenty of oil in the water, and some continues to wash up on shore.

Many people are still struggling to make ends meet with some waters still closed to fishing. Shrimpers who are allowed to fish are finding it difficult to sell their catch because of the perception — largely from people outside the region — that the seafood is not safe to eat. Tourism along the Gulf has taken a hit.

BP took some of the blame for the Gulf oil disaster in an internal report issued earlier this month, acknowledging among other things that it misinterpreted a key pressure test of the well. But in a possible preview of its legal strategy, it also pointed the finger at its partners on the doomed rig.

Meanwhile, Wright, the driller, has never missed his target over the years, successfully drilling 40 previous relief wells that were used to plug leaks around the world. He has now made it 41-for-41.

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Official: BP CEO Hayward being replaced over spill

Posted by Admin on July 25, 2010

NEW ORLEANS – A senior U.S. government official says BP ChiefExecutive Tony Hayward, under fire for his handling of the Gulf oil spill, is being replaced.

An official announcement could come as early as Monday. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday because that announcement had not been made, was briefed on the decision by a senior BP official late last week.

The official did not know who would replace Hayward or when it would happen. One of the most likely successors is BP Managing Director Bob Dudley, who is currently overseeing the British company’s spill response.

BP’s board would have to approve a change in company leadership.

Hayward has made several gaffes, most notably wishing to have his “life back” and going to a yacht race while oil washed up on Gulf shores.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The effort to plug BP’s leaky oil well in the Gulf of Mexico was back on track Sunday as the skies cleared and crews raced to stop the gusher for good before another storm halts the operation again.

drill rig is expected to reconnect at around midnight to the relief tunnel that will be used to pump in mud and cement to seal the well, and drilling could resume in the next few days.

A temporary plug already has held in the oil for nine days, and BP was able to leave it in place even after the government’s point man on the spill ordered ships working in the Gulf to evacuate ahead of Tropical StormBonnie late last week.

Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said officials will spend the next day determining how the small storm affected the area.

Oil may have migrated north to Mississippi Sound, he said, and officials are checking to see if boom that was protecting sensitive marshlands was pushed ashore.

As work on the well resumed, British media reported that BP chief executive Tony Hayward is negotiating the terms of his departure ahead of the company’s half-year results announcement Tuesday.

Citing unidentified sources, the BBC and Sunday Telegraph reported that detailed talks regarding Hayward’s future took place over the weekend. A formal announcement is expected in the next 24 hours, the BBC reported.

BP spokesman Toby Odone said Sunday that Hayward “remains BP’s chief executive, and he has the confidence of the board and senior management.”

Allen said he hadn’t heard of any management changes.

“I’ve got no knowledge of the inner workings of BP,” he said.

Hayward, who angered Americans by minimizing the spill’s environmental impact and expressing his exasperation by saying “I’d like my life back,” has been under heavy criticism over his gaffe-prone leadership during the spill.

Before the cap was attached and closed a week ago, the broken well had spewed 94 million to 184 million gallons into the Gulf since the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers.

Completion of the relief well that is the best chance to permanently stop the oil now looks possible by mid-August, but Allen said he wouldn’t hesitate to order another evacuation based on forecasts similar to the ones for Bonnie.

“We have no choice but to start well ahead of time if we think the storm track is going to bring gale force winds, which are 39 mph or above, anywhere close to well site,” Allen said.

In the oil-affected hamlet of Grand Isle, La., thousands of people spent a gray Saturday at the beach, listening to music. The Island Aid concert, which included LeAnn Rimes and Three Dog Night, raised money for civic projects on the island.

For the afternoon at least, things were almost back to normal. Young women in bathing suits rode around on golf carts while young men in pickup trucks tooted their horns and shouted.

“This is the way Grand Isle is supposed to be but hasn’t been this year,” said Anne Leblanc of Metairie, La., who said her family has been visiting the island for years. “This is the first we came this year. With the oil spill there hasn’t been a reason to come, no swimming, no fishing.”

___

Associated Press writers Tamara Lush in New Orleans and Mary Foster in Grand Isle, La., contributed to this report.

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Big Oil makes war on the Earth

Posted by Admin on July 22, 2010

Big Oil makes war on the Earth
By Ellen Cantarow

If you live on the Gulf Coast, welcome to the real world of oil – and just know that you’re not alone. In the Niger Delta and the Ecuadorian Amazon, among other places, your emerging hell has been the living hell of local populations for decades.

Even as I was visiting those distant and exotic spill locales via book, article, and YouTube, you were going through your very public nightmare. Three federal appeals court judges with financial and other ties to big oil were rejecting the Barack Obama administration’s proposed drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico. Pollution from the BP spill there was seeping into Lake Pontchartrain, north of New Orleans. Clean-up crews were

discovering that a once-over of beaches isn’t nearly enough: somehow, the oil just keeps reappearing.

Endangered sea turtles and other creatures were being burnt alive in swaths of ocean (“burn fields”) ignited by BP to “contain” its catastrophe. The lives and livelihoods of fishermen and oyster-shuckers were being destroyed. Disease warnings were being issued to Gulf residents and alarming toxin levels were beginning to be found in clean-up workers.

None of this would surprise inhabitants of either the Niger Delta or the Amazon rain forest. Despite the Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969 and the Exxon Valdez in 1989, Americans are only now starting to wake up to the fate that, for half a century, has befallen the Delta and the Amazon, both ecosystems at least as rich and varied as the Gulf of Mexico.

The Niger Delta region, which faces the Atlantic in southern Nigeria, is the world’s third-largest wetland. As with shrimp and oysters in the Gulf, so its mangrove forests, described as “rain forests by the sea”, shelter all sorts of crustaceans. The Amazon rain forest, the Earth’s greatest nurturer of biodiversity, covers more than two billion square miles and provides this planet with about 20% of its oxygen. We are, in other words, talking about the despolation-by-oil not of bleak backlands, but of some of this planet’s greatest natural treasures.
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BP Paying Off Universities and Gulf Scientists En Masse to Hide Oil Spill Research Data from the Public

Posted by Admin on July 22, 2010

Posted by Alexander Higgins

July 16, 2010

http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2010/07/16/bp-paying-off-universities-and-gulf-scientists-to-hide-oil-spill-research-data-from-the-public/

If the people of the Gulf have had one advocate throughout the BP Gulf Oil Spill it has been the scientific community.

They have not been afraid to step and challenge BP and The Federal Government over the existence of underwater plumes, the dangers of the dispersants BP is using, or the safety of Gulf waters.

The scientific community has sounded the alarm on skyrocketing arsenic levels in the Gulf while the Government has kept quiet and has exposed the improper BP cleanup practices that are contaminating Gulf beaches.

Scientist have come forward to reveal the real location of the oil spill, exposed the lies about oil and methane plumes, and have alerted the public to severely low-balled flow rates.

The list goes on and on.

However those days may soon becoming to an end.

A startling new report from the Alabama Register reveals BP is trying to buy up Gulf scientists and Universities in mass to prevent them from releasing research data to the public.

For the last few weeks, BP has been offering signing bonuses and lucrative pay to prominent scientists from public universities around the Gulf Coast to aid its defense against spill litigation.

BP PLC attempted to hire the entire marine sciences department at one Alabama university, according to scientists involved in discussions with the company’s lawyers. The university declined because of confidentiality restrictions that the company sought on any research.

The Press-Register obtained a copy of a contract offered to scientists by BP. It prohibits the scientists from publishing their research, sharing it with other scientists or speaking about the data that they collect for at least the next three years.

“We told them there was no way we would agree to any kind of restrictions on the data we collect. It was pretty clear we wouldn’t be hearing from them again after that,” said Bob Shipp, head of marine sciences at the University of South Alabama. “We didn’t like the perception of the university representing BP in any fashion.”

BP officials declined to answer the newspaper’s questions about the matter. Among the questions: how many scientists and universities have been approached, how many are under contract, how much will they be paid, and why the company imposed confidentiality restrictions on scientific data gathered on its behalf.

More than one scientist interviewed by the Press-Register described being offered $250 an hour through BP lawyers. At eight hours a week, that amounts to $104,000 a year.

Scientists from Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University and Texas A&M have reportedly accepted, according to academic officials. Scientists who study marine invertebrates, plankton, marsh environments, oceanography, sharks and other topics have been solicited.

The contract makes it clear that BP is seeking to add scientists to the legal team that will fight the Natural Resources Damage Assessment lawsuit that the federal government will bring as a result of the Gulf oil spill.

The government also filed a NRDA suit after the Exxon Valdez spill.

In developing its case, the government will draw on the large amount of scientific research conducted by academic institutions along the Gulf. Many scientists being pursued by BP serve at those institutions.

With its payments, BP buys more than the scientists’ services, according to Wiygul. It also buys silence, he said, thanks to confidentiality clauses in the contracts.

Richard Shaw, associate dean of LSU’s School of the Coast and Environment, said that the BP contracts are already hindering the scientific community’s ability to monitor the affects of the Gulf spill.

“The first order of business at the research meetings is to get all the disclosures out. Who has a personal connection to BP? We have to know how to deal with that person,” Shaw said. “People are signing on with BP because the government funding to the universities has been so limited. It’s a sad state of affairs.”

“This is not an agreement to do research for BP,” Wiygul said. “This is an agreement to join BP’s legal team. You agree to communicate with BP through their attorneys and to take orders from their attorneys.

“The purpose is to maintain any information or data that goes back and forth as privileged.”

The contract requires scientists to agree to withhold data even in the face of a court order if BP decides to fight such an order. It stipulates that scientists will be paid only for research approved in writing by BP.

The contracts have the added impact of limiting the number of scientists who’re able to with federal agencies. “Let’s say BP hired you because of your work with fish. The contract says you can’t do any work for the government or anyone else that involves your work with BP. Now you are a fish scientist who can’t study fish,” Wiygul said.

Perhaps even more startling is the scientists that BP isn’t paying off to keep quiet the Federal Government is.

A scientist who spoke to the Press-Register on condition of anonymity because he feared harming relationships with colleagues and government officials said he rejected a BP contract offer and was subsequently approached by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with a research grant offer.

He said the first question the federal agency asked was, “‘is there a conflict of interest,’ meaning, ‘are you under contract with BP?’”

Other scientists told the newspaper that colleagues who signed on with BP have since been informed by federal officials that they will lose government funding for ongoing research efforts unrelated to the spill.

NOAA officials did not answer requests for comment. The agency also did not respond to a request for the contracts that it offers scientists receiving federal grants. Several scientists said the NOAA contract was nearly as restrictive as the BP version.

The state of Alaska published a 293-page report on the NRDA process after the Exxon Valdez disaster. A section of the report titled “NRDA Secrecy” discusses anger among scientists who received federal grants over “the non-disclosure form each researcher had signed as a prerequisite to funding.”

“It’s a very strange situation. The science is already suffering,” Shaw said. “The government needs to come through with funding for the universities. They are letting go of the most important group of scientists, the ones who study the Gulf.”

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New BP cap set for slow tests of how it holds oil

Posted by Admin on July 13, 2010

NEW ORLEANS – With a tight new cap freshly installed on its leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico, BP planned gradual tests starting Tuesday to see if the device can stop oil from pouring into the sea for the first time in nearly three months.

The cap would be just a temporary solution, but it offers the best hope yet for cutting off the crude that has fouled the Gulf since theDeepwater Horizon rig leased by BP exploded April 20, killing 11 workers.

Engineers will slowly shut down three valves that let oil flow through the 75-ton capping device to see if it can withstand the pressure of the erupting crude and to watch if leaks spring up elsewhere in the well. National Incident Commander Thad Allen said the process of closing the valves, one by one, would start later Tuesday.

If pressure inside the cap stays in a target range for roughly six hours after the valves are closed, there will be more confidence the cap can contain the oil, Allen told a news briefing at BP’s U.S. headquarters in Houston. That target range is 8,000 to 9,000 pounds per square inch, he said. Anything lower could indicate another leak in the well.

Allen and BP officials repeatedly cautioned there are no guarantees about the delicate work a mile below the sea. Allen urged Gulf Coast residents watching the possible fix evolve to be patient.

“They ought to be interested and concerned but if they hold their breath, they’ll run out of oxygen. I won’t be,” Allen told The Associated Press after the briefing.

The tests could last anywhere from six to 48 hours, Allen and BP said.

Kent Wells, a senior vice president at the oil giant, declined to talk about BP’s next steps until the test results are in hand.

“It’s not simple stuff. What we don’t want to do is speculate around it,” Wells said in a BP news briefing.

The cap’s installation after three days of undersea preparations was good news to weary residents of the coast from Texas to Florida, who have waited for BP to make good on its promise to clean up the mess. Still, even if the oil is stopped, the consequences are far from over.

“I ain’t excited about it until it’s closed off completely,” said James Pelas, 41, a shrimper working on his boat at a marina in Venice, La. “Oil’s scattered all over the place.”

The cap will be tested by closing off three separate valves that fit together snugly, choking off the oil from entering the Gulf. BP expects no oil will be released into the ocean during the tests, but remained cautious about the success of the system.

Pipes can be hooked to the cap to funnel oil to collection ships if BP decides the cap can’t take the pressure of the gusher, or if low pressure readings indicate oil is leaking from elsewhere in the well.

Even if the cap works, the blown-out well must still be plugged. A permanent fix will have to wait until one of two relief wells being drilled reaches the broken well, which will then be plugged up with drilling mud and cement. That may not happen until mid-August.

Even if the flow of oil is choked off while BP works on a permanent fix, the spill has already damaged everything from beach tourism to the fishing industry.

Tony Wood, director of the National Spill Control School at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi said the sloppiest of the oil — mousse-like brown stuff that has not yet broken down — will keep washing ashore for several months, with the volume slowly decreasing over time.

He added that hardened tar balls could keep hitting beaches and marshes each time a major storm rolls through for a year or more. Those tar balls are likely trapped for now in the surf zone, gathering behind sand bars just like sea shells.

“It will still be getting on people’s feet on the beaches probably a year or two from now,” Wood said.

But on Monday, the region absorbed a rare piece of good news in the placement of the 150,000-pound cap on top of the gushing leak responsible for so much misery.

Around 6:30 p.m. CDT, live video streams trained on the wellhead showed the cap being slowly lowered into place. BP officials said the device was attached around 7 p.m.

Residents skeptical if BP can deliver on its promise to control the spill greeted the news cautiously.

“There’s no telling what those crazy suckers are going to do now,” Ronnie Kenniar said when he heard the cap was placed on the well. The 49-year-old fishermen is now working in the Vessel of Opportunity program, a BP-run operation employing boat owners to lay boom, ferry coast guard officers and deliver supplies.

As of Tuesday, the 84th day of the disaster, between 90.4 and 178.6 million gallons of oil have spewed into the Gulf of Mexico

___

Online:

BP underwater video: http://bit.ly/bwCXmR

___

Weber reported from Houston. Associated Press writers Frederic J. Frommer in Washington, Matt Brown and Tom Breen in New Orleans and Holbrook Mohr in Belle Chasse, La., contributed to this report.

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From the Ground: BP Censoring Media, Destroying Evidence

Posted by Admin on June 20, 2010

by Riki Ott

Marine toxicologist and Exxon Valdez survivor

11 June 2010

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/riki-ott/from-the-ground-bp-censor_b_6 08724.html

Orange Beach, Alabama — While President Obama insists that the federal government is firmly in control of the response to BP’s spill in the Gulf, people in coastal communities where I visited last week in Louisiana and Alabama know an inconvenient truth: BP — not our president — controls the response. In fact, people on the ground say things are out of control in the gulf.

Even worse, as my latest week of adventures illustrate, BP is using federal agencies to shield itself from public accountability.

For example, while flying on a small plane from New Orleans to Orange Beach, the pilot suddenly exclaimed, “Look at that!” The thin red line marking the federal flight restrictions of 3,000 feet over the oiled Gulf region had just jumped to include the coastal barrier islands off Alabama.

“There’s only one reason for that,” the pilot said. “BP doesn’t want the media taking pictures of oil on the beaches. You should see the oil that’s about six miles off the coast,” he said grimly. We looked down at the wavy orange boom surrounding the islands below us. The pilot shook his head. “There’s no way those booms are going to stop what’s offshore from hitting those beaches.”

BP knows this as well — boom can only deflect oil under the calmest of sea conditions, not barricade it — so they have stepped up their already aggressive effort to control what the public sees.

At the same time I was en route to Orange Beach, Clint Guidry with the Louisiana Shrimp Association and Dean Blanchard, who owns the largest shrimp processor in Louisiana, were in Grand Isle taking Anderson Cooper out in a small boat to see the oiled beaches. The U.S. Coast Guard held up the boat for 20 minutes – an intimidation tactic intended to stop the cameras from recording BP’s damage. Luckily for Cooper and the viewing public, Dean Blanchard is not easily intimidated.

A few days later, the gig was up with the booms. Oil was making landfall in four states and even BP can’t be everywhere at once. CBS 60 Minutes Australia found entire sections of boom hung up in marsh grasses two feet above the water off Venice. On the same day on the other side of Barataria Bay, Louisiana Bayoukeeper documented pools of oil and oiled pelicans inside the boom – on the supposedly protected landward side – of Queen Bess Island off Grand Isle.

With oil undisputedly hitting the beaches and the number of dead wildlife mounting, BP is switching tactics. In Orange Beach, people told me BP wouldn’t let them collect carcasses. Instead, the company was raking up carcasses of oiled seabirds. “The heads separate from the bodies,” one upset resident told me. “There’s no way those birds are going to be autopsied. BP is destroying evidence!”

The body count of affected wildlife is crucial to prove the harm caused by the spill, and also serves as an invaluable tool to evaluate damages to public property – the dolphins, sea turtles, whales, sea birds, fish, and more, that are owned by the American public.

Disappeared body counts means disappeared damages – and disappeared liability for BP. BP should not be collecting carcasses. The job should be given to NOAA, a federal agency, and volunteers, as was done during the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.

NOAA should also be conducting carcass drift studies. Only one percent of the dead sea birds made landfall in the Gulf of Alaska, for example. That means for every one bird that was found, another 99 were carried out to sea by currents. Further, NOAA should be conducting aerial surveys to look for carcasses in the offshore rips where the currents converge. That’s where the carcasses will pile up–a fact we learned during the Exxon Valdez spill. Maybe that’s another reason for BP’s “no camera” policy and the flight restrictions.

On Saturday June 12, people across America will stand up and speak out with one voice to protest BP’s treatment of the Gulf, neglect for the response workers, and their response to government authority. President Obama needs to hear and see the people waving cameras and respirators. Until the media is allowed unrestricted access to the Gulf and impacted beaches, BP – not the President of United States – will remain in charge of the Gulf response.

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Foul Play: Vatican Official Tied To BP, Goldman-Sachs, And Media Censorship In The Oil Spill Fiasco

Posted by Admin on June 13, 2010

By Sherri Kane and Leonard G. Horowitz

News unfolding from the oil crisis in the Gulf of Mexico has linked media censorship to investment bankers at Goldman Sachs (GS) stewarding the Vatican’s wealth, and increasing evidence that the explosion was intended.

A near total news blackout from independent sources, and arrests of anyone caught photographing and filming the devastation, show the Halliburton-British Petrolium (BP) oil crisis is being criminally controlled, implicating some of Wall Street’s heaviest hitters.

According to a report issued by frightened, yet faithful, documentary filmmaker, James Fox, interviewed from the Gulf’s Grand Isles by Mel Fabregas on the Internet’s Veritas Radio Show, “There is a complete media blackout” on news coverage broadcast from the region.

“They are arresting people with cameras and anyone off camera that is caught talking to a reporter,” Fox testified.

Another reporter told Fox,”You call this a free country? Right here, in the United States of America, there’s no freedom of press. There’s no freedom of speech. They’re closing down the airspace above the oil spill, so reporter’s can’t fly over to determine how bad these oil plumes really are.”

Suspicious pieces of this deadly puzzle feature Halliburton, the world’s second largest oil field services company, headquartered in Houston and Dubai, whose negligence is blamed for the timely and profitable explosion.

Three weeks before the “natural gas leak,” the George Bush/Dick Cheney 9-11-linked Halliburton company negotiated the purchase of the world’s largest oil-spill cleanup firm (Boots & Coots) at the exact time keen observers on Wall Street–financial intelligence agents at Goldman Sachs (GS; often called “Government Sachs”)–unloaded 44% of their stock in BP.

These facts parallel the shorting of airline stocks by those in the know prior to the World Trade Center (WTC) 9-11 attacks that new scientific evidence proves were followed by building demolitions, given the red thermite incendiary powder found everywhere around ground zero.

The WTC lessor, Larry Silverstein, partnered with Lloyd Blankfein of GS in the little known Partnership for New York City (PFNYC), took out a General Electric insurance policy just six weeks before the attacks. PFNYC “partners,” in charge of assessing financial damages to NYC, and reconstruction plans for the WTC, obviously “veered” insurance payoffs and additional private equity investments to Las Vegas for the construction of the 9-11 memorial–speciously called the “Veer Towers” in the “New World Center.” (Watch PHARMAWHORES, the movie; 1-888-508-4787.)

Blankfein, the PFNYC Co-Chairman and GS CEO, was barraged with indictments and rising media infamy regarding Goverment Sachs’s conflicting interests effectively demolishing the US economy through the “shorting” of the housing industry–scrutiny suspended by Halliburton’s oil rig synchronously exploding most profitably for GS and its CEO.

GS is covertly invested in the Bush-Cheney-linked Halliburton Company according to veteran observers. GS and Halliburton both had massive financial incentives to cause the profitable explosions–the three 9-11 WTC building demolitions, and the most recent “accident” in the Gulf.

The media’s gross neglect of the full extent of the crisis obviously supports GS’s damage control and incriminating connections. These include Blankfein’s PFNYC Co-Chairman, Rupert Murdoch, and their pernicious influence over the major networks and the PFNYC–the world’s leading petrochemical-pharmaceutical-biotechnology consortium profiting from death, disease, and environmental destruction. This unholy alliance best explains the media’s aversion to responsible reporting in the Gulf and elsewhere.

Besides Blankfein and Government Sachs backing stock in both BP and Halliburton, another red oil-drenched herring is Peter D. Sutherland–the outgoing Chairman of BP is also the current Non-Executive Chairman of Goldman Sachs International.

The scariest part of this whole story is that Mr. Sutherland, the man standing with one foot in GS, and the other on the burning Halliburton-BP oil rig, is the Consultor of the Extraordinary Section of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See. In other words, Sutherland is the chief financial adviser to the Pope.

In 2010, Mr. Sutherland finished a 13-year stint as Chairman of BP, Europe’s largest oil company. A former Attorney General of Ireland, he is President of the Federal Trust for Education and Research, a British think tank whose efforts might better be called corporatist indoctrination than trustworthy “education.” He is Chairman of The Ireland Fund of Great Britain, and a member of the advisory council of Business for New Europe–a pro-New-World-Order European think-tank based in Britain.

From 1993-95, Sutherland was the Director-General of the World Trade Organization.

In January 2006, the current Non-executive Chairman of Goldman Sachs International, was appointed by United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, as his Special Representative for Migration.

Now, ironically, Sutherland’s mission impossible is to migrate marine flora and fauna, fisherman, and coastal residents out of harms way in this spreading international emergency.

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