BP Oil Spill: August-Sept Updates

Least Terns - one of many birds affected by Gu...

Image by flythebirdpath~} teddy (heart still in YOSEMITE) via Flickr

September 8th “It’s not all our fault”

BP provides oil-spill report. Accepts errors but begins cautious spreading of the errors (blamestorming?)

September 5th

Unified Command has released a video of Saturday’s [September 5th] retrieval of the Deepwater Horizon Blow Out Preventer

Just when I thought the story was going to sleep another oil-rig explosion in the Gulf (Marine Energy operated) …. Great quote: “Just when we thought we’d had a wake-up call we hit the snooze button”.

August 30th

Evidence that BP’s prospects into the future will be severely limited.

August 20th

[1] An interesting stat. Oil Spill at 6 million barrels huge. Note combined spills from three tanker spills exceed that figure.

[2] Lawyers for Transocean, the company that owned the oil rig is alleging that BP is denying them access to information they needs.

According to the BBC:

The claim is made in a letter from one of Transocean’s lawyers sent to members of President Barack Obama’s cabinet. BP rejected the allegation, saying the letter contained “misguided and misleading assertions”. Nevertheless, the claim risks piling further pressure on BP.

August 16th President and daughter swim in Gulf.  Brits recall a politician (John Gummer) who fed hamburger to daughter in Mad Cow drama some years ago.

August 13th Bloomberg’s Joe Mysak writes of Oil-Spill Hysteria.

Never before has a disaster like this been accompanied by such an unrelenting torrent of hysteria, speculation and inexpert testimony… The pronouncements grew madder and madder. This was nothing less, they said, than the oil apocalypse.

What looks like what happened is that BP Plc shut off the well, after some trial and error. As they were doing so, they were also siphoning off oil, burning some and dousing a good portion of the remainder with chemicals meant to break it up so that the ocean could do the rest. Some oil was skimmed at the surface, some was collected in various barriers and some inevitably made it to shore. What’s next? The oil company still has to seal the well. Then there’s more cleanup, which will last months or years.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about how the oil-spill drama will conclude. People talk a lot about the fishing industry, almost as though we were living in 1890. The fishing industry is a relatively unimportant part of the modern Gulf, which is why everyone there is eager for the real business, drilling for oil, to resume. Then of course there is tourism. Can it be restored to pre- spill quality and levels?

Americans are an impatient lot. Something tells me that you don’t clean up the biggest oil spill in the nation’s history overnight. It seems, though, the Deepwater Horizon disaster could have been much worse. Not too long from now, within our lifetimes, people may ask, “Remember the Gulf oil spill?”

August 8th Lawsuits loom. A class action suit has been filed against BP and Nalco related to use of dispersant Corexit.


August 7th
BP stands down Doug Suttles. Replacement is a less senior executive who seems likely to be there for the longer-term, and more full-time. Mike Utsler becomes lead representative in the Unified Area Command and the chief operating officer for the oil giant’s Gulf Coast restoration organization. Suttles, who has led the company’s overall response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill will now return to his role as chief operating officer

August 6th “seal or sell”. Now the story shifts towards economic issues. The leak seems sufficiently under control to raise the question of the economic future of decisions being made. We have a strategic dilemma here around the decisions of selling off the well, or keeping options open of recovering revenues.

August 5th A government report says only a quarter of the oil from the BP well remains and that it is “degrading quickly”. According to the BBC, the report was compiled by 25 of “the best government and independent scientists”.

August 4th: The “Static Kill” to seal the well has begun. First indications are promising says BP senior vice-president Kent Wells (Nice name for a Wells manager?). He now will presumably front up the BP communications. US Government representative Admiral Thad Allen is now “designated incident commander”. Project management, governance, and leadership roles are coming into focus.

See Also July Entries Updated July stories

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