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Since the Deepwater Horizon accident, BP has sought to divest itself of U.S. holdings and geographically move to the East.
BP pays out 7.2 billion for a 30 percent share of Reliance Industries. In a press release, BP announced it will pay $7.2 billion for a 30% stake in 23 oil and gas properties in India operated by Reliance Industries, the firm controlled by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani. The deal also includes plans for a 50/50 joint venture to source and market gas across India.

Ambani and BP chief Robert Dudley, who succeeded Tony Hayward in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster last year, signed the agreement in London.

Taken along with last month’s joint venture on Arctic drilling with Russia’s Rosneft, the Indian deal signals the latest step in BP’s bid to decrease its U.S. exposure following the spill and the subsequent unloading of a number of assets in North America and elsewhere.

While the impetus for the geographical shift in strategy was no doubt a tragic one, the change may be positioning BP to take advantage of far faster growth in developing economies than there is to be found in the U.S. and other mature markets.

Developing economies,aka countries with fewer regulations and less concern for safety and the environment.

 As with the Russian deal with Rosneft, Reliance will get cash and technical expertise, BP will gain access to vast territory recently opened for oil and gas exploration.

In recent years, India, which imports most of its oil, has opened vast swathes of its territory to oil and natural gas development. Reliance, which is led by India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, has become India’s largest producer of natural gas because of a rich offshore field in the Bay of Bengal near the state of Andhra Pradesh.

“This partnership meets BP’s strategy of forming alliances with strong national partners, taking material positions in significant hydrocarbon basins and increasing our exposure to growing energy markets,” BP’s chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, said in a statement.

For Reliance, the deal provides cash and, perhaps more important, oil and natural gas expertise that it needs as it explores and produces in fields that cover 270,000 square kilometers, or about 104,000 square miles. The output on Reliance’s most productive natural gas field in the Bay of Bengal has declined in recent months, which has worried analysts and policy makers who are counting on the field to fuel power plants and fertilizer factories.

In addition to its interests in Indian exploration, Reliance has been investing in shale gas fields in the United States, including a joint venture with Atlas Energy to drill in the Marcellus Shale.

BP has already partnered with Reliance, India's largest privately owned company, on one offshore well. The deal has to be approved by Indian regulators but India imports most of its oil and has increased energy needs as it's economy grew 9 percent last year. Dudley visited India and spent time with India's Prime Minister and other government officials last October. Just saying.


 BP set to expand petrochemical production in China.

Who would have guessed.   Dudley must have seen The Graduate in 1967

BP's investments in China will make it the world's largest producer of PTA, the raw material for making plastic.

BP said it would invest in "debottlenecking" one of two plants producing purified terephthalic acid (PTA), the raw material used to make products such as plastic bottles and synthetic fleece, at the BP Zhuhai Chemical Company site in China's Guangdong province.

BP Zhuhai is a joint venture between BP and China's Zhuhai Port Company in which BP holds an 85 per cent interest. The enterprise was formed in 1997, and its two PTA plants have been operating since 2003 and 2008 respectively.

The debottlenecking project would increase the annual PTA output capacity at the Zhuhai site by 200,000 tonnes to 1.7 million tonnes by the first quarter of next year, BP predicted.

Pre-engineering studies are underway for a third PTA plant at Zhuhai which could come on stream as early as 2014 to meet growing Chinese demand for the chemical.

"This investment will be the world's largest single train [production unit] PTA plant, built in the world's largest and fastest growing PTA market with the world's best and lowest cost technology - once again reinforcing BP's commitment to the PTA business and to China," said Sue Rataj, the chief executive of BP's petrochemicals division.

BP did not disclose how much it planned to invest in expanding PTA capacity in Zhuhai, but development costs are likely to run to billions of dollars. The company said its previous investments in China approached US$5 billion (Dh18.36bn).

BP is one of the world's largest PTA producers with combined output capacity from 21 plants of more than 10 million tonnes per year. Between them, the plants command about 15 per cent of the global market. Along with it main competitors, the company has been shifting its chemicals investment focus from North America and Europe to Asia in recent years, with an emphasis on China.
That country recently became the world's second-biggest economy after the US, overtaking Japan.


  Libyan unrest forces BP to suspend operations there.  There is actually some kind of poetic justice to this, considering the scandal caused by the release of the Libyan bomber from a Scottish jail in order for BP to make a lucrative deal with Qaddafi. Already delayed in beginning the exploration process, BP has now suspended operations and evacuated all non-Libyan employees.

The British company said 40 expat staff and their families, mostly based in the capital, Tripoli, are being evacuated as it temporarily shuts down work on preparations to drill in the Libyan desert.

The move halts operations in the North African county just four years after it returned from a 30-year hiatus.

BP signed a deal worth at least 900 million US dollars (£550 million) in 2007 to explore in Libya.

But don't cry for BP; they will do just fine.

Oil prices also rocketed to two-year highs today due to the ongoing turmoil in Libya – a key global oil producing region.

You would think, with all those billions they are throwing around all over the world, that BP could afford to be just a little generous to the people whose lives they have ruined. But no...

 BP cheated cleanup workers.

Three workers who helped BP in its oil spill cleanup efforts after last year's disaster accuse the oil giant in a federal lawsuit of denying them overtime pay and other benefits.

The suit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in New Orleans seeks a notice to allow others with similar complaints to join in the action.

They say BP and The Response Group LLC, a Cypress, Texas, business, misclassified them as independent contractors and denied them overtime.

The plaintiffs seek back pay, damages and attorneys' fees.


 Transocean is seeking to limit its liability in the Deepwater Horizon accident through a 160 year old law. Lawyers for the victims, however, argue that they must share the blame.

Transocean, which owned the rig that exploded and sank off Louisiana in April, is seeking to limit its liability exposure to $27 million under a 160-year-old law that restricts maritime damages unless the vessel owner is found partially responsible for the disaster. The explosion killed 11 workers and set off the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

Transocean’s limitation proceeding is the first set for trial before the New Orleans federal judge overseeing more than 400 consolidated lawsuits over the explosion at the BP Plc-owned well and the subsequent Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The lawsuits seek billions of dollars in damages from alleged environmental, economic and personal injuries. That trial will begin in February of next year.

Transocean “bypassed or disabled key safety systems” on the rig, “including a gas safety valve and fire alarm system that were intended to monitor for fire and explosive and toxic gases, with utter disregard for the safety ramifications,” victims’ lawyers said in a amended master complaint filed today in federal court in New Orleans.

Stephen Herman and James Roy, spokespersons for the consolidated lawsuits, claim Transocean "acquiesced to a host of reckless decisions"and “BP and Transocean focused primarily on profit while disregarding public and environmental health and safety” in how they chose to drill the well. Transocean was also responsible for the failed blow out preventer.

Transocean ordered an independent engineering assessment of the Deepwater Horizon’s blowout preventer in 2005, after maintenance logs showed the mechanism gave “unusual pressure readings and flashed inexplicable alarm signals” while leaking fluid, the complaint said.

That inspection -- which was to include verification that the blowout preventer’s sheer rams worked properly in ultra-deep water --wasn’t completed “because the BOP was in use and inaccessible on the sea floor, and petitioners would not stop work to bring it to the surface,” the lawyers said.


 Halliburton's incompetency was well known to BP before the Macando blowout, and yet they failed to adequately supervise the Halliburton engineer in charge of cementing on the Deepwater Horizon. This from the final report of the National Oil Spill Commission.

In a summary of the final report by its chief counsel, the panel commissioned by President Barack Obama said "BP was aware of problems with Halliburton personnel and work product" as far back as 2007. Halliburton was the cement contractor on the well, which exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers and causing the worst spill in U.S. history.

"A consulting firm issued a quality control report warning BP that Halliburton’s lab technicians 'do not have a lot of experience evaluating data,'" the panel said, "and that BP needed to improve communication with Halliburton 'to avoid unnecessary delays or errors in the slurry design testing.'"

"BP’s own cementing expert described the 'typical Halliburton profile' as 'operationally competent and just good enough technically to get by,'" the panel stated. "And BP’s engineers had been forced to 'work around' the Halliburton engineer assigned to Macondo for years — they said that he was 'not cutting it' and that he often waited too long to conduct critical tests.

"But they neither reviewed his work at Macondo carefully, nor even checked to see that he conducted testing in a timely manner," the panel said, "even though they knew that their last minute changes to the cement design test could cause problems and that using nitrogen foamed cement could pose 'significant stability challenges.'"



 The Gulf Restoration Network is asking for our help. The current spending (not) bill in Congress would cut EPA funds and greatly effect how the Gulf recovers from this disaster.
We urgently need your help to stop Congress from slashing environmental protection programs. This week, the House of Representatives will be voting on a bill that would drastically cut funding for clean water and clean air programs, national parks and clean energy programs. This budget bill--known as the "continuing resolution"—will jeopardize wetlands, wildlife, and the health of Gulf residents.

Among the many scary prospects of this legislation, a few of the ways the bill would impact the Gulf are by:

    * cutting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) funding by a crippling 29%, which could limit their ability to work with Gulf communities on environmental and health concerns associated with the BP drilling disaster,
    * for the first time ever, legislatively remove protection from an endangered species (endangered wolves) without any scientific basis, setting a horrible precedent for wildlife in the Gulf like the sperm whale and manatee, and
    * removing the EPA’s ability to regulate global warming emissions, leaving the Gulf more vulnerable to rising seas and stronger storms.

Congress should not be removing these environmental protections, especially in a spending bill where they cannot be fully debated.




 Noteworthy

If you missed Yasuragi's Sunday AUV  here , it is a MUST READ! She has included links to primary sources and covers their content splendidly: Coast Guard logs that describe the events on April 20th and more accurately estimate the amount of spewing oil and the full Oil Spill Commission Report, including links to great video explaining all that technical language so important to the understanding what happened in the Macando blowout.
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:

2-20-11 12:00 PM Gulf Watchers Sunday - Feinberg Can't Catch a Break - BP Catastrophe AUV #476 Yasuragi
2-18-11 06:36 PM Gulf Watchers Block Party - Our First on DK4: Whine and Roses ursoklevar
2-18-11 08:18 AM Gulf Watchers Friday - Still Waiting to Get Paid - BP Catastrophe AUV #475 Lorinda Pike
2-16-11 06:01 AM Gulf Watchers Wed. - BP Exec Resigned Over Safety Months Before Blowout - BP Catastrophe AUV #474 peraspera
The last Mothership has links to reference material.

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

Again, to keep bandwidth down, please do not post images or videos.
here >

Originally posted to Gulf Watchers Group on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 02:03 PM PST.

Also republished by DeepKos.

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