Skip to main content

Halliburton 4Q profit jumps 50%. US oil and gas consumption to drop. Judge denies BP request to penalize Halliburton. Michael Bromwich successor gets good review. AG supports set-aside for settlements. Judge B. says escrow fees to lawyers don't have to be paid. Rocks that fell on supply ship "not from Macondo"...  

You are in the current Gulf Watchers BP Catastrophe - AUV #577. ROV #576 is here.

Follow the Gulf Watchers tag by going clicking on the heart next to the Gulf Watchers tag at the bottom of this diary. Follow the Gulf Watchers Group by going here and clicking on the heart next to where it says "Follow" in the Gulf Watchers Group profile on the right. You will have to scroll down a little to see the profile. Bookmark this link to find the latest Gulf Watchers diaries.

Gulf Watchers Diaries will be posted Monday afternoons.

Part one of the digest of diaries is here and part two is here.

Please be kind to kossacks with bandwidth issues. Please do not post images or videos. Again, many thanks for this.

There is money in that there fracking...

Halliburton's profits rise by nearly 50% in 4th quarter 2011.

The company that brought you the infamous and ultimately deadly cementing job that has been alleged as one of many problems at the root cause of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent BP oil gusher is laughing all the way to the bank...

Fourth quarter 2011 earnings are up 50% for the Houston-based company on sales of drilling and fracking equipment, and the contracting work that entails.

“I’m proud to say this was a record year for our company, with revenues of $24.8 billion, operating income of $4.7 billion and with growth, margins and returns that led our peer group,” said Dave Lesar, Halliburton’s chairman, president, and chief executive officer. “Our business has nearly doubled in size over the last five years, primarily from organic growth.”

Sort of like it just exploded, wouldn't you say?

Make them pay their taxes, dammit.

But then, there's this, from the damned if you do and damned if you don't department...

Report: U.S. reliance on oil and gas imports will drop by half in 23 years.

Okay, that headline looks pretty good, doesn't it? Well...yes and no. That does indicate we're using less, or converting to alternative fuels or renewables, or wind or solar. It also means that the oil companies are drilling and fracking more fossil fuels in the US than we use, and that's in part because some of us have been attempting to get away from fossil fuels - driving less, insulating our homes.

“These projections reflect increased energy efficiency throughout the economy, updated assessments of energy technologies and domestic energy resources, the influence of evolving consumer preferences, and projected slow economic growth,” Howard Gruenspecht, the EIA’s acting administrator, said in a statement.

Domestic oil production will rise 20 percent by 2020 to 6.7 million barrels a day, the highest level since 1994, as shale oil production continues and more Gulf of Mexico resources are developed, according to the agency.

But because of less consumption domestically, there will be a glut... Now the rat bastards can sell more US fuel overseas, where it's a lot more expensive - hence more money in their pockets, and more greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere...

But then there is:

Although greenhouse-gas emissions will rise 3 percent from 2010 to 2035, they nonetheless will stay below 2005 levels thanks largely to coal’s decline, improved efficiency and state-level renewable-power mandates, the agency said. Energy use and climate-warming emissions fell from 2005 levels as a result of the recession.

The agency added that greenhouse-gas emissions and net oil imports will fall further than projected if the U.S. finalizes proposed fuel-economy standards for cars, minivans and pickup trucks. Last fall two federal agencies proposed standards for model years 2017 to 2025 that would roughly double mileage from current levels by the end of that period.

Upcoming fuel-efficiency standards could prevent 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases — almost what the U.S. emitted in all of 2009 — from entering the atmosphere over the lifetimes of the vehicles covered, according to the White House. They also would cut oil use by 2.2 million barrels per day by 2025, roughly one-fourth of current levels, the White House says.

We stand on the edge of a knife. Hope that we - and the other inhabitants of the planet - are still here by 2025...

Judge denies BP request to penalize Halliburton.

A federal judge on Friday denied BP’s demand that Halliburton be penalized for reportedly destroying potentially damning evidence related to the failure of the cement casings in the Macondo well.

BP did not prove that it had been “prejudiced” by Halliburton’s actions, U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan wrote in a ruling on Friday. But Shushan told Halliburton to turn over a computer that ran tests on the cement slurry. The judge ordered a third party to run forensics tests on the computer to see if data Halliburton says was lost can be retrieved.

BP accused Halliburton employees of doing an internal investigation and discarding and destroying early test results after the blowout that found problems with the cement slurry. BP said Halliburton’s chief cement mixer for Gulf projects testified in depositions that the slurry seemed “thin” to him but that he chose not to write about his findings to his bosses out of fear he would be misinterpreted.

While denying BP’s request to penalize Halliburton, Shushan told the companies to work quickly to do the forensic computer tests and gave them until Jan. 26 to appeal.


Michael Bromwich's successor gets good reviews.

Rear Adm. James Watson, the new head of the Interior Department's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, continues to get good notices from some of those in the oil and gas world, and on Capitol Hill, who were most critical of his predecessor, Michael Bromwich.

Watson met last week with Jim Noe, executive director of the Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition, and the two largest lease-holders in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and they emerged from the meeting encouraged. "After meeting Admiral Watson, I am cautiously optimistic that we will be able to solve the continuing permitting challenges and I am hopeful that Admiral Watson shares our interest in creating a transparent and predictable regulatory regime. We are also encouraged to have an administrator that is a trained engineer and who has the skill set to understand the technical aspects of the industry," Noe said.

Louisiana's Attorney General says he now supports setting aside a portion of settlements.

Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said he ultimately supported a decision to set aside 4 percent of settlements with state and local governmental bodies related to the BP oil spill because the state was able to get the protections it was seeking that ensure environmental restoration projects would not be put at financial risk. "We got everything we asked for," Caldwell said in an interview in federal court Thursday.

Earlier, Caldwell had opposed efforts to set aside 4 percent of any oil spill settlements with governmental bodies to potentially fund the work of the plaintiffs attorneys because it left open the possibility that money for covering damages to natural resources and other environmental projects could have been in jeopardy.

Well, this could piss a bunch of attorneys off...

Judge pares fees for attorneys in BP oil spill case.

A Louisiana district court judge has ruled that people pursuing claims against BP outside of federal court do not have to pay fees into an account for hundreds of lawyers.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier issued the ruling Wednesday to clarify a previous ruling he made that left everyone still seeking damage payments from BP — even those seeking to settle their cases outside of court — having to pay 6 percent of their claims into an escrow fund. The escrow fund is being set up to pay lawyers suing BP and other companies involved in the nation's largest offshore oil spill.

The trial begins Feb. 27. The truck delivers three 55-gallon drums of popcorn to my house on the 26th...

And this guy is going to be ready on Feb. 27th...

Alabama AG readies for BP trial of the century.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, a first-termer who was appointed coordinating counsel in the BP trial by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, will play a lead role in the massive BP litigation, organizing the team of lawyers representing plaintiffs against the companies involved in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Strange reversed the position of his predecessor, Troy King, and made the decision to not use outside counsel in the litigation, saying he had confidence in his government legal team to do the job for their clients, in addition to saving taxpayer dollars.

Strange said Tuesday that he remains open to a settlement with BP and the other parties responsible for the disaster, and that there are ongoing discussions with the defendants to reach an agreement that would avoid a trial. But he said he is preparing to make opening arguments in the case next month, and that he anticipates a rigorous trial that could last into the fall.

“It is the biggest environmental case in the history of the United States, and certainly it will be one of the most important cases in the history of Alabama,” he said. “It’s incredibly complex, but we feel very confident heading into the trial.”

“I just felt that we had the legal talent in house to handle it. If we’re successful, we’ll be able to keep all of the recovery (funds) for Alabama taxpayers,” he said.

Strange estimates that not hiring outside attorneys will save the state millions of dollars in fees.

Louisiana, on the other hand, is using outside counsel - a position that had generated friction between Gov. Bobby Jindal and Attorney General Buddy Caldwell about how much attorneys should be paid.

Strange, who earned his undergraduate and law degrees at Tulane University in New Orleans, gave high marks to Barbier for his administration of the case so far.

“He’s very efficient,” Strange said. “Any lawyer will tell you that it’s pretty remarkable to get to trial in less than two years, particularly for an incident of this magnitude.”

Veteran trial lawyer Jere Beasley, whose Montgomery-based firm represents private claimants who are party to the case, said he’s been impressed with Strange’s leadership.

“He’s doing an excellent job of representing the state, and I feel very confident that he’s up to the challenge,” said Beasley, a former Alabama lieutenant governor.

Beasley said the case is too complex to make predictions about its outcome, but he said BP and the other defendants face growing pressure to cut their losses and settle.

“Their conduct was as close to criminal as you’ll ever find in a civil case. So there has to be great motivation to put this behind them,” Beasley said. “Luther is a good negotiator. I believe we’ll either win the case or we’ll get a fair settlement. And that may be better than a victory.”

Oohhh...I hope this is going to be fun!

Well then what were they? Meteorites?

Rocks found on supply boat are not from the Macondo well explosion.

The cement chunks found on the deck of the M/V Damon B. Bankston supply boat after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded did not come from Halliburton's cement job on the Macondo well, a U.S. Department of Justice official told lawyers gathered Thursday for the monthly status conference in the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster litigation. U.S. Department of Justice attorney Michael Underhill said the testing results not only clear up a point of intrigue, but make the rocks irrelevant to the case.

"To give away the punch line at the end of the mystery, the cement rocks were deemed not to be part of the production casing of the Macondo well," Underhill said.

I still vote for meteorites - Magic Cement™ meteorites from the planet Halliburtonia...

Dammit, we miss you, Fishgrease...

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:

1-20-12 06:34 PM Gulf Watchers Block Party-Birthday Edition Phil S 33
1-16-12 04:00 PM Gulf Watchers Monday - BP spill a risk management debacle - BP Catastrophe AUV #576 peraspera
1-13-12 06:30 PM GW Friday Block Party-Real Estate Edition Phil S 33
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.
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site