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Topics: BP says gulf oil sheen not from a fresh leak, BP caps, plugs equipment believed to be source of recent sheen in Gulf near site of 2010 spill, BP asks to abandon plugged containment dome on bottom of Gulf of Mexico, BP Asks for Gulf Spill Deal Ok Despite Objections, Halliburton Says BP’s Deal With Spill Victims Is Unfair, BP Settlement Numbers As Opt-Out Date Quickly Approaches | The Legal Examiner Palm Harbor, UPDATE 2-Russia's Putin: Mixed feelings over Rosneft-BP alliance, BP shares deepwater well-capping equipment expertise with Pemex

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Given the routine disconnects we saw in live video feeds versus what the Coast Guard said in their press conferences it seems sensible to remain skeptical about them coughing up the whole truth about this latest Macondo leak. We already know that whatever BP says can be trusted to be little more than blatant lies. The site should have 24/7/365 publicly viewable live feeds in the light of repeated sheens coming from the Macondo site. h/t Yasuragi

BP says gulf oil sheen not from a fresh leak

October 18

BP said Thursday that an oil sheen detected in the Gulf of Mexico last month probably came from crude trapped in the giant coffer dam that the company used in a futile attempt to capture the oil that was spilling from a BP well in 2010.

The Coast Guard ordered BP and drilling rig operator TransOcean to send a remotely operated vehicle to inspect the well site, which lies one mile beneath the water’s surface and 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana. BP said the inspection showed that oil was not leaking from the capped Macondo well, which blew out April 20, 2010, killing 11 men and causing the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

BP said Thursday that some of the mixture remained trapped inside the coffer dam, which has been lying on the seafloor. Video taken over three days by the remotely operated vehicle showed “small, intermittent drops of oil coming from an opening at the top and another on one side of the coffer dam,” BP said.

The Coast Guard supervised the ROV inspection.




It certainly doesn't put the legal profession in a good light when a professional publication states, "This Settlement, estimated at $7.5 billion, is not capped, which means that there is BP money up for grabs for those businesses and individuals prepared to take [sic] participate."

BP Settlement Numbers As Opt-Out Date Quickly Approaches | The Legal Examiner Palm Harbor

October 29, 2012 5:15 PM

This week is a big week for the BP Settlement. November 1 is the deadline for eligible claimants to submit their opt-out notices, stating that they do not wish to be bound by the terms of the Settlement. Following this opt-out date, the Court will soon move on to the fairness hearing, the last step before final approval of the Settlement.

Nearly 75,000 complete claims forms have been submitted to the Settlement Program across the Gulf Coast Region.

So far, outcome notices have been issued on just over 31,000 of those claims. Only about 3300 of those have been outright denials, with the rest either being eligible claims or incomplete claims.

But perhaps the biggest number to look at is the much-needed money that is now coming into the Gulf Coast Region. Already over $256 million has been paid out to claimants and another $600 million in offers has been accepted. Then add on the addition $900 million that has been offered but not yet accepted. And that is just the beginning. This Settlement, estimated at $7.5 billion, is not capped, which means that there is BP money up for grabs for those businesses and individuals prepared to take participate.




I hope the Coast Guard is adamant about retrieving or cleaning up the offer dam and whatever else might have been leaking when the inevitable BP whining about it starts. Sheens that are not "feasible to recover" is totally unacceptable.

Congressman Markey is absolutely correct in asking for release of all ROV video footage and demanding the cleaning as well as removal of all the remaining debris. Oil-contaminated equipment does not an environmentally friendly artificial reef make. h/t Yasuragi

BP caps, plugs equipment believed to be source of recent sheen in Gulf near site of 2010 spill

Published: October 25

NEW ORLEANS — BP PLC said Thursday it has capped and plugged an abandoned piece of equipment that is believed to be the source of a sheen spotted near the site of its massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The London-based oil giant said it placed a 750-pound cap over an 86-ton steel container that the company had deployed in a failed effort to contain the spill. BP also inserted plugs on the top and sides of the container, which had been lowered over a leaking drill pipe in an effort to funnel oil to the surface.

BP and the Coast Guard both say no oil has been seen leaking out of the container since it was capped and plugged. The operation started Tuesday and lasted roughly 26 hours.

The sheen appeared on the Gulf’s surface in September. BP plans to monitor the sheen by satellite for several more days.

The Coast Guard says it has directed BP to submit a plan for either removing remaining oil from the container or removing the container itself after the oil is removed.

U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who serves on the House Natural Resources Committee, said oil should be removed from the container along with any wreckage that was left behind on the seafloor. Markey also is asking BP to publicly release all video footage its remotely operated vehicles have recently shot near the well.

Before the container was capped, the Coast Guard said underwater video showed apparent oil globules leaking from the dome at an estimated rate of less than 100 gallons per day. The container sits on the seafloor, about 1,500 feet from the wellhead.

The Coast Guard has said the sheen is not feasible to recover and doesn’t pose a risk to the shoreline.
...




Unsurprisingly, BP has already started efforts to duck its responsibilities for cleaning up its own mess. Also, we see further proof that the Department of Interior is an industry captive agency. There is no excuse for them granting permission to abandon any of the wrecked Macondo equipment nor the equipment used in the well capping effort as there is no evidence that any of it is clean.

Unfortunately, I could not get any of the video on the NOLA site to work. However, I'm more interested in seeing an entire site survey over weeks and months rather than seeing a video of a coffer dam that both BP and the Coast Guard admit is leaking. h/t Yasuragi

BP asks to abandon plugged containment dome on bottom of Gulf of Mexico

Friday, October 26, 2012, 8:21 PM

BP has asked the U.S. Coast Guard to allow it to abandon a containment dome on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico that it capped and plugged this week after concluding it was the source of oil causing repeated sheens near the site of the company's failed Macondo well. The request was included in an exchange of e-mail messages on Sunday and Monday between James Grant, BP's Gulf regulatory compliance and environmental manager, and Coast Guard Federal On-Scene Coordinator Capt. Duke Walker. The email messages were obtained by The Times-Picayune.

The containment dome, which BP calls a cofferdam, was used in a failed attempt to capture oil spewing from the failed BP well after the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig above it.

Grant attached a copy of the approval the Department of Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement gave in Feb. 2011 to an earlier request to abandon the 40-foot-tall, 86-ton steel structure at its location about 1,500 feet from the Macondo well. He also included a copy of those plans, which included information about the risks involved in returning the structure to the surface, its condition at the time, and a third-party analysis of its stability on the ocean floor.

In a Thursday news release announcing approval of BP's cap-and-plug plan, the Coast Guard "directed BP to submit a feasibility plan that considers the next steps toward either removing or remediating the threats of oil posed by the riser pipe and containment dome."

In his Monday note to Grant, Walker's directions to the company included: "Having temporarily mitigated this source of pollution, undertake the planning effort necessary to develop proposed courses of action to either remove or remediate the remaining sources of oil: riser pipe and the cofferdam/containment dome."




I think it's a safe bet that if BP is anxious to settle that the settlement screws victims six ways to Sunday. The fact that the plaintiff's attorneys committee has joined them does make one wonder just how enthusiastically they represented victims' rather than their own interests in negotiating the settlement. h/t Yasuragi

BP Asks for Gulf Spill Deal Ok Despite Objections

October 23, 2012 (AP)

Oil giant BP has asked a federal judge to disregard objections from a fraction of claimants and give final approval to a proposed multibillion-dollar settlement over economic damages from the Gulf oil spill.

BP was joined in the request by plaintiffs' attorneys who helped broker the class-action deal spawned by the 2010 disaster. BP estimates it will pay $7.8 billion to resolve claims through the uncapped settlement.

Roughly 200 people and groups have formally objected to the deal, while 983 potential claimants asked to opt out as of Oct. 19.

More than 100,000 plaintiffs could benefit from the deal.

BP cited the numbers as evidence that U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier should approve the agreement after a Nov. 8 "fairness hearing." The judge preliminarily approved the proposed settlement in May.

Some plaintiffs' attorneys have complained that the new claims process has been slow. Couhig Partners LLC, a New Orleans-based law firm, said in its objection that claims have become bogged down by a "bureaucratic nightmare."

"The claims administrator has also implemented mechanisms to speed up the process, including electronic noticing functions and other tools that decrease the time required to process a claim," company attorneys wrote.

The settlement calls for BP to pay $2.3 billion for seafood-related claims by commercial fishing vessel owners, captains and deckhands. Several objectors argued the seafood program doesn't adequately account for uncertain future risks to Gulf fisheries.

"The continuing decline of the fisheries and the possibility of a fishery collapse or closure expose commercial fishermen to significant future risk," wrote an advocacy group called Gulf Organized Fisheries in Solidarity & Hope, or GO FISH.
...




So much for Halliburton trusting honor among thieves. One does hope for the sake of the planet and its inhabitants that this type of mistrust will plague future business deals between Halliburton and BP. - h/t Yasuragi

Halliburton Says BP’s Deal With Spill Victims Is Unfair

Oct 18, 2012 8:42 PM CT

Halliburton Co. (HAL) said BP Plc (BP/)’s proposed settlement with victims of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill unfairly creates a “collusive alliance” against the oil field services company in a scheduled multibillion-dollar trial.

“The settlement agreements will improperly align the interests of BP and the settling plaintiffs in any subsequent trial on liability in this court,” Donald Godwin, Halliburton’s lead lawyer, said in a 138-page filing yesterday that the company is seeking permission from a judge to submit in federal court in New Orleans.

BP’s deal creates an incentive for the plaintiffs who settled to change their strategy to minimize any determination of BP’s share of liability and argue for greater compensation from the other defendants, including Halliburton, Godwin said.

That “will prevent a true arms length adversarial trial,” he said.
...
BP and a committee of lawyers representing the victims reached a partial settlement in March that would commit London- based BP to pay an estimated $7.8 billion to resolve most economic-damages claims. That deal is awaiting approval by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, who oversees the consolidated spill litigation.

“Halliburton’s filing amounts to the company grasping at straws,” Steve Herman, liaison counsel for the plaintiffs steering committee, said today in an e-mail. “The court has already ruled that they have no standing to object to the settlement. The PSC will present the same case in January 2013 that it would have put on last February; there’s plenty of blame to go around for this tragedy.”

The case is In Re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, MDL-2179, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).




The story includes some settlement numbers. However, it certainly doesn't put the legal profession in a good light when a legal publication states, "This Settlement, estimated at $7.5 billion, is not capped, which means that there is BP money up for grabs for those businesses and individuals prepared to take [sic] participate."

BP Settlement Numbers As Opt-Out Date Quickly Approaches | The Legal Examiner Palm Harbor

October 29, 2012 5:15 PM

This week is a big week for the BP Settlement. November 1 is the deadline for eligible claimants to submit their opt-out notices, stating that they do not wish to be bound by the terms of the Settlement. Following this opt-out date, the Court will soon move on to the fairness hearing, the last step before final approval of the Settlement.

Nearly 75,000 complete claims forms have been submitted to the Settlement Program across the Gulf Coast Region.

So far, outcome notices have been issued on just over 31,000 of those claims. Only about 3300 of those have been outright denials, with the rest either being eligible claims or incomplete claims.

But perhaps the biggest number to look at is the much-needed money that is now coming into the Gulf Coast Region. Already over $256 million has been paid out to claimants and another $600 million in offers has been accepted. Then add on the addition $900 million that has been offered but not yet accepted. And that is just the beginning. This Settlement, estimated at $7.5 billion, is not capped, which means that there is BP money up for grabs for those businesses and individuals prepared to take participate.




It's never good news when BP and the Russians agree on anything. However, we might take some small comfort in the fact that Putin isn't thrilled with his decision to allow the BP-Rosneft deal to go forward.

Since Putin is pretty much the state of Russia I think we can safely guess that his faux concerns about state involvement in the Russian business masks some other agenda. Given the longstanding antipathy on both sides I would suspect that any sort of peace between Putin and the Russian oil oligarchs will be fleeting.

UPDATE 2-Russia's Putin: Mixed feelings over Rosneft-BP alliance

Oct 25, 2012 11:58am EDT

NOVO-OGARYOVO, Russia, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has "mixed feelings" about Rosneft's alliance with BP after the state oil major announced a $55 billion takeover of Anglo-Russian TNK-BP.

Putin said on Thursday that, although the deal ran counter to efforts to constrain the state's role in the Russian economy, he backed it because of a shareholder conflict between BP and the billionaire co-owners of Russia's No.3 oil firm.

Rosneft's takeover of TNK-BP, expected to close in the next six months, would create the world's largest listed oil company with daily output of 4.6 million barrels in oil-equivalent terms.

"The government and I had mixed feelings when this project came up," Putin told a meeting with foreign analysts and journalists at his residence outside Moscow. "The fact that a company with state participation was increasing its market share at the expense of its foreign partner was a minus."

In the deal, announced on Monday, Rosneft will pay $27 billion in cash and stock for BP's one-half stake in TNK-BP. BP will then plough $4.8 billion back into buying Rosneft stock to end up with a stake of nearly 20 percent.

Rosneft also reached an outline deal with the four Soviet-born tycoons that own the other half of TNK-BP - Mikhail Fridman, German Khan, Viktor Vekselberg and Len Blavatnik - to buy out their stake for $28 billion in cash.

The deal represents an ambitious gambit by Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, who has been close to Putin for two decades. But it has encountered resistance from liberal ministers in Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's government.

Putin, who has a history of conflict with the business "oligarchs" who amassed vast wealth in the controversial privatisations of Soviet assets in the 1990s, said the sale by the billionaire quartet was made on their own initiative.

"They expressed their desire to sell their part," he said.

Putin cautioned at the time of the original deal that the 50-50 partnership structure might not work and repeated that line on Thursday: "They did not agree, they did not solve their issues and all their work went from one conflict to another," he said.
...




The only visible BP expertise I've seen is in willful ignorance and bald-faced lying so why the Mexicans would be particularly interested in BP's well capping "expertise" totally escapes me. At least the Mexicans are paying BP what the advice is worth—nothing. Perhaps it's an excuse for Mexican government officials to go party at the workshops in Houston at Mexican taxpayer expense.

BP shares deepwater well-capping equipment expertise with Pemex

10/29/2012

BP PLC signed a technology license agreement outlining plans for BP to share its technical information on building deepwater well-capping equipment with Petroleos Mexicanos Exploration & Production (Pemex E&P).

Pemex E&P will use the information from BP along with initiatives already in place if the Mexican firm decides to build and maintain its own well capping system for use in Mexico’s portion of the Gulf of Mexico.

Under the agreement, BP will share at no cost to Pemex E&P technical information on BP’s capping stack, and Pemex E&P agreed to make any future advancements to this well-capping technology available at no cost to BP.

BP also agreed to host workshops in Houston to brief Pemex E&P on the technical information and operational aspects of the capping system. BP will introduce Pemex E&P specialists to vendors and fabricators that BP used to develop its global deepwater well cap and tooling package.

BP’s global deepwater well cap is a 100-ton stack of valves that can be lowered onto a leaking well to halt the flow of hydrocarbons. The system can operate in 10,000 ft of water and is rated at 15,000 psi. BP stores its well cap in Houston and can transport it by heavy-lift aircraft to any country where BP operates in a matter of days.

Pemex E&P and BP previously collaborated through various noncommercial technology, scientific and training mutual cooperation agreements.
...

PLEASE visit Pam LaPier's diary to find out how you can help the Gulf now and in the future. We don't have to be idle! And thanks to Crashing Vor and Pam LaPier for working on this!
Previous Gulf Watcher diaries:
10-16-12 05:00 PM Gulf Watchers Tuesday - Make Them ALL Testify - BP Catastrophe AUV #598 Lorinda Pike
The last Mothership has links to reference material.

Previous motherships and ROV's from this extensive live blog effort may be found here.

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