BP has partnered with Russia's largest oil company, Rosneft, to gain access to roughly 125,000 square kilometers (over 77,500 square miles) of prime Arctic drilling territory.
BP was given licenses to explore three new blocks in the South Kara Sea, on Russia's Arctic continental shelf. The company called it an area "roughly equivalent in size and prospectivity to the UK North Sea."
Prospectivity? Now they're just making shit up.
"That means BP thinks the South Kara Sea may have as much as 50 billion barrels," said Clifford Gaddy, a Brookings Institution expert on Russia energy issues. "If so, it might ultimately yield 5 million barrels a day for nearly 30 years. That's an incredible amount of oil. And a lot of dollars to Russia for a few decades to come."
And it seems BP's catastrophic mess in the Gulf of Mexico was actually a selling point.
In a two-fingered gesture to its US critics, BP has pulled off a stunt of astounding audacity – Britain's flagship oil company has turned its environmentally disastrous Gulf of Mexico spill into a selling point.
At a signing ceremony for BP's tie-up with the Russian state-owned exploration firm Rosneft, the Russian deputy prime minister, Igor Sechin, declared that the trials and tribulations of its Deepwater Horizon catastrophe had given the British company a "competitive advantage".
[...T]he general thrust from Vladimir Putin's right-hand man was clear – BP hadn't been beaten by spilling 4.9m barrels of oil off the coast of Louisiana, and had emerged from the experience wiser. And BP's chief executive, Bob Dudley, got in on the act, suggesting that "lessons learned" from the US spill had turned BP into a "world leader in managing inherently risky operations".
There's a long and storied history between all the players in this deal. And enough incestuous connections to turn it into a soap (oil?) opera.
Dudley... was forced to flee Russia in 2008 after heading BP's Russian joint venture, TNK-BP, which is half-owned by BP.
Dudley said the deal was the first significant cross-shareholding between a nationally owned oil company and an international oil company and called it "a new template for how business can be done in our industry ..."
Dudley had been the boss for TNK-BP's formation in 2003 and was forced to leave due to what he described as a campaign of harassment by BP-TNK's billionaire oligarch co-owners.
The issue has since been resolved and Dudley returned to Moscow for the first time this summer, following his appointment as CEO of BP, to be warmly welcomed by officials.
Tony Hayward, Dudley's predecessor who was vilified for his handling of BP's massive Gulf of Mexico spill in 2010, holds a seat on TNK-BP's board of directors.
Four years ago, according to the book Petrostate: Putin, power, and the new Russia (2008), by Marshall I. Goldman:
By mid-2007 there were recurring rumors that Putin and the Russian government were not happy with the extent of BP's involvement and that the government was seeking some way to ease the private Russian owners of TNK out of the partnership, put state-controlled Gazprom in their place, and then reduce BP to a minority stockholder. Putin and Co. may again be maneuvering to create another national champion and in effect, renationalize the company.
In hopes of preventing pressure on BP, the CEO of BP, Lord John Browne, and his successor, Tony Hayward, sought to ingratiate themselves and BP with Putin. That is why they arranged a meeting with President Putin in March 2007 and proposed that BP bid in the auction to buy 9.44 percent of the Rosneft shares that Yukos owned before it went into bankruptcy [for tax evasion]. As we saw, to be legal, there had to be at least two bidders in the auction and at the time it looked as though there would only be one bidder, Rosneft. By entering its bid and thereby ensuring that there were two bidders, but not bidding enough to win, BP acted to help out Rosneft and Putin. For much the same reason BP bought up $1 billion of Rosneft stock in an initial public offering of its stock in London earlier in 2006. By doing so, BP pushed up the price of Rosneft stock, and yet its stock purchase was not large enough to give BP any operational control. BP hoped that these two gestures combined would ward off future attempts by Gazprom or even Rosneft to muscle out either their Russian oligarchs or BP itself from their TNK-BP partnership.
Soap oil opera.
"This unique agreement underlines our long-term, strategic and deepening links with the world's largest hydrocarbon-producing nation," said BP's chief executive Bob Dudley.
"Our future joint venture will utilize the experience and expertise of BP, one of the leaders in the global oil and gas industry," said Rosneft's President, Eduard Khudainatov.
"This project is unique in its complexity and scale both for Russia and the global oil and gas industry. We see it as the next step in developing our relations with BP."
[Dudley] said he was pleased to now be working with Rosneft in "one of the world's last remaining unexplored basins".
Not pleased, however, are Representative Ed Markey (D-MA), formerly of the Republican-disbanded Global Warming Committee, and Republican Michael Burgess (R-TX) of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Both cited matters of national security in their statements.
"If this agreement affects the national and economic security of the United States," said Markey, "then it should be immediately reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. Additionally, the U.S. State Department should closely monitor this transaction."
Burgess, observing that BP is one of the largest suppliers of fuel to the US military, echoed the sentiment, saying "The national security implications of BP America being involved with the Russian company -- that does require scrutiny by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States."
The US has long considered Alaska's northern border, and the Arctic in general, a strategically critical area. The trouble is we have neither the infrastructure nor the equipment to handle the climate and terrain. Even if we did have the means, we don't have the personnel, either military or civilian. And the borders, both on land and under the ocean, are suddenly, rapidly, shifting.
The Arctic nations - Russia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and the United States - have been preparing to claim larger chunks of territory under a clause in the treaty that governs the world's waters. Non-Arctic nations like China and South Korea also have been eyeing the economic potential in the far north.
"With 20 percent of the yet-to-be-discovered oil, gas and minerals remaining in the world in the Arctic, the U.S. can't risk losing it," said Rear Adm. Christopher C. Colvin, commander of Alaska's 17th Coast Guard District, from Anchorage.
The only international treaty that applies to the Arctic is the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea [link], ratified by more than 150 nations. But although it helped draft the convention and subsequent revisions, the United States has not ratified the treaty; conservatives say it impinges on U.S. national sovereignty.
Under the treaty, a nation that can prove its continental shelf extends past the current boundary of 200 miles off its coastline can be granted up to 150 additional miles of seabed.
"An extra 150 miles of shelf can be billions [or] trillions of dollars in resources," said Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, commander of Alaskan Command, Joint Task Force Alaska, Alaskan North American Defense Region and the 11th Air Force.
Like other Arctic countries, the United States is gathering scientific evidence for its claim to an extended continental shelf in the Arctic. Russia has been preparing a territory claim that would absorb nearly half of the Arctic into its possession, according to analysis by the Congressional Research Service.
Thus far, exploration and use of the Arctic have been cordial. America and Canada cooperated on scientific and military operations last summer. A 40-year-old territory dispute between Russia and Norway was resolved last year by dividing an area of the Barents Sea equally between the two countries.
That doesn't mean hackles don't get raised.
In 2007, Russia planted a flag in the waters below the North Pole. Canada planted one nearby soon after. Denmark placed a flag on the north's contested Han Island, which Canada promptly removed and delivered back to Danish officials. Canada bought fleets of F-35 fighter jets and is building a new base along its Arctic coast. Russia is building new icebreakers and new nuclear-power stations on its north coast.
Unlike other well-equipped Arctic powers, the United States has only one working ship capable of navigating in ice-covered waters and no permanent military installation within the Arctic Circle. Three years ago, the Coast Guard asked for a new icebreaker - which can cost about $800 million - but instead got $60 million to renovate one that had outlived its lifespan.
Joshua Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environment Group, says, "[...S]ites proposed for drilling in Alaska's Arctic Ocean are some of the most remote and extreme areas on Earth. At the same time, the fragile ecosystem is already feeling the impact of warming, which is happening there at twice the rate as on of the rest of the planet.
Rushing to drill for oil and gas without proper measures to safeguard an environment as challenging and vulnerable as the Arctic would tell the world that the United States had failed to heed the lessons of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster."
Never one to miss an ironic cue, BP is having more trouble with that pesky Trans-Alaska pipeline. Around midnight, BP was due to shut down that artery, which pumps roughly twelve percent of our energy-wasting lifeblood, to repair the pumping station leak reported on in Wednesday's Gulf Watchers. BP's surgeons, ever pursued by malpractice and personal injury lawyers, are performing a 157-foot bypass on the 800 mile conduit. They say the surgery will take around 36 hours, or 'til around noon tomorrow. And, like all surgeons, their price is enough to render the patient DOA upon receipt. BP's Steve Rinehart called this "a significant event" (gee, ya think?), and:
The market impact on oil futures and equities will obviously depend on how long the pipeline is down. This outage could easily cause crude futures "to make their way back to $92" in the short run, says Tradition Energy analyst Addison Armstrong.
Of course it will.
It's not only BP that's affected by the shutdown. It's all North Slope oil producers, who...
...now have to deal with the impact of shutting operations in the middle of winter, as production is already down due to extreme temperatures and North Slope operators are trying to use a small window to do necessary work on existing and new production areas, says PFC Energy analyst David Kirsh.
But a bigger issue for BP has to do with public perception, he says.
The U.S. presidential commission report on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, released last week, described systemic problems in the oil industry and with government regulators as the root causes of the disaster.
Now with another outage, BP will need to contend with perceptions that once again it is in the middle of an environmental issue.
There have not been any reports of environmental damage because of the leak. Alyeska said yesterday that around 10 barrels of oil had been recovered from the basement of a booster pump room, and that around one barrel of oil remained.
However, the incident is likely to put the oil industry's safety record under renewed scrutiny, just nine months after the Gulf of Mexico disaster. Bob Dudley, who replaced Tony Hayward as chief executive, announced the creation of a new safety unit last September with the powers to audit the company's operations around the globe.
Last summer, Alyeska was accused of putting safety at risk by cutting maintainance and safety budgets. Kevin Hostler, the company's chief executive who had previously worked for BP for 27 years, was criticised by congressman Bart Stupak, a member of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee which investigated the allegations. Hostler subsequently retired from Alyeska.
In March 2006, 267,000 gallons of thick crude oil spilled over Prudhoe Bay after a section of the pipe sprang a leak. BP subsequently shut down 57 oil wells in Alaska to mend various small leakages.[...] Oil experts have warned that temporarily closing the pipeline is a tricky procedure, as BP must ensure that the lines do not freeze once the flow of oil stops.
Naomi Klein has been aboard the University of South Florida's research vessel, Weatherbird II, and what she witnessed in their exploration of the areas in and around the site of the Macondo wellhead... Never mind. You should read it for yourself. (h/t hester.)
[...T]hese veteran scientists have seen things that they describe as unprecedented. Among their most striking findings are graveyards of recently deceased coral, oiled crab larvae, evidence of bizarre sickness in the phytoplankton and bacterial communities, and a mysterious brown liquid coating large swaths of the ocean floor, snuffing out life underneath. All are worrying signs that the toxins that invaded these waters are not finished wreaking havoc and could, in the months and years to come, lead to consequences as severe as commercial fishery collapses and even species extinction.
[...A]t the [USF] university lab, John Paul, a professor of biological oceanography, introduced healthy bacteria and phytoplankton to those water samples and watched what happened. What he found shocked him. In water from almost half of the locations, the responses of the organisms "were genotoxic or mutagenic" — which means the oil and dispersants were not only toxic to these organisms but caused changes to their genetic makeup. Changes like these could manifest in a number of ways: tumors and cancers, inability to reproduce, a general weakness that would make these organisms more susceptible to prey — or something way weirder.
[...S]uch genetic damage is "heritable," meaning the mutations can be passed on. "It's something that can stand around for a very long time in the Gulf of Mexico," Paul said. "You may be genetically altering populations of fish, or zooplankton, or shrimp, or commercially important organisms.... Is the turtle population going to have more tumors on them? We really don't know. And it'll take three to five years to actually get a handle on that."
The big fear is a recurrence of what happened in Prince William Sound after the Exxon Valdez spill. Some pink salmon, likely exposed to oil in their larval stage, started showing serious abnormalities, including "rare mutations that caused salmon to grow an extra fin or an enlarged heart sac," according to a report in Nature. And then there were the herring. For three years after the spill, herring stocks were robust. But in the fourth year, populations plummeted by almost two-thirds in Prince William Sound and many were "afflicted by a mysterious sickness, characterised by red lesions and superficial bleeding," as Reuters reported at the time. The next year, there were so few fish, and they were so sick, that the herring fishery in Prince William Sound was closed; stocks have yet to recover fully. Since Alaskan herring live for an average of eight years, many scientists were convinced that the crash of the herring stocks was the result of herring eggs and larvae being exposed to oil and toxins years earlier, with the full effects manifesting themselves only when those generations of herring matured (or failed to mature).
Anything that affects the lowest levels of the food chain is bound to work its way up, through larger and larger predators, to the apex of it.
John Lamkin, a fisheries biologist for NOAA, has admitted that "any larvae that came into contact with the oil doesn't have a chance." So, if a cloud of bluefin eggs passed through a cloud of contaminated water, that one silent encounter could well help snuff out a species already on the brink. And tuna is not the only species at risk. In July Harriet Perry, a biologist at the University of Southern Mississippi, found oil droplets in blue crab larvae, saying that "in my forty-two years of studying crabs I've never seen this." Tellingly, this vulnerability of egg and larvae to oil does not appear to have been considered when the Macondo well was approved for drilling. In the initial exploration plan that BP submitted to the government, the company goes on at length about how adult fish and shellfish will be able to survive a spill by swimming away or by "metaboliz[ing] hydrocarbons." The words "eggs" and "larvae" are never mentioned.
The well-documented dying off of coral as a result of BP's torrent of oil left behind clear evidence: the husks of those victims. But, Klein points out, there isn't always such vivid evidence. The smaller organisms and species that die leave behind so little evidence it's hard to know what's been wiped out. "When larval tuna or squid die," she writes, "even in huge numbers, they leave virtually no trace," she writes.
All this uncertainty will work in BP's favor if the worst-case scenarios eventually do materialize. Indeed, concerns about a future collapse may go some way toward explaining why BP (with the help of Kenneth Feinberg's Gulf Coast Claims Facility) has been in a mad rush to settle out of court with fishermen, offering much-needed cash now in exchange for giving up the right to sue later. If a significant species of fish like bluefin does crash three or even ten years from now (bluefin live for fifteen to twenty years), the people who took these deals will have no legal recourse. Even if a case did end up in court, beating BP would be tricky. As part of the damage assessment efforts, NOAA scientists are conducting studies that monitor the development of eggs and larvae exposed to contaminated water. But as Exxon's lawyers argued in the Valdez case, wild fish stocks are under a lot of pressure these days—without a direct chemical link to BP's oil, who's to say what dealt the fatal blow?
I was constantly struck by the strange simultaneity of discovery and destruction, watching young scientists experiment on fouled sediment drawn up from places science had barely mapped. It's always distressing to witness a beautiful place destroyed by pollution. But there is something particularly harrowing about the realization that we are contaminating places we have never even seen in their natural state. As drilling pushes farther and farther into deep water, risking more disasters in the name of jobs and growth, marine scientists trained to discover the thrillingly unknown will once again be reduced to coroners of the deep, boldly discovering that which we have just destroyed.
The full article is essential reading, as is its immediate predecessor.
In fact, blufin tuna is "the subject of a scientific fight that shows how hard it will be to gauge the environmental fallout of the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history." (h/t DawnN.)
The U.S. government will wrap up public meetings next week on whether to recommend declaring the Atlantic bluefin an endangered species. If the government declared the fish endangered, it would bar fishermen from targeting the fish in U.S. waters. An environmental group filed the request last year, claiming in part that the western-Atlantic stock of the fish, long believed to spawn only in the Gulf of Mexico, would "be devastated" by last year's spill from a blown-out BP PLC well.
There is, as Klein indicated there would be, dispute over how much of the rapid diminution of the stock is due to the Deepwater Horizon blowout affecting young or larval bluefin, or whether in fact the Gulf is the only breeding ground for Western-Atlantic bluefin.
Among the marine life scientists are examining are ones vital to Gulf businesses, such as shrimp, oysters and snapper. But experts also are trying to put a price on whatever damage the spill caused to species from microscopic plankton to massive whales. Under federal law, the government can tally ecological harm from a spill, and push those responsible to pay for it — money that's in addition to compensation for losses to businesses and residents.
"In hindsight, no one can say," said John Incardona, a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who has spent years studying how oil spills harm fish. "It is a major challenge, trying to distinguish whether one pollutant overrides all of the others and causes an ecological effect."
The question is whether the spill hurt or killed enough young bluefin that it will reduce the population in future years.
Bluefin hatch in the northern Gulf from roughly May through June — in the general area, and at the general time, of the BP spill. Eggs and larvae in the oil almost certainly died, scientists say.
That doesn't address the bigger issue: how the spill affected the bluefin population as a whole. Answering that would require knowing all the places bluefin spawn—in the Gulf, and beyond.
There are sharp disagreements as to whether there are two genetically distinct stocks of bluefin -- one spawning in the Gulf and the other in the Mediterranean.
NOAA is growing increasingly persuaded by the possibility western-Atlantic bluefin may spawn in significant numbers beyond the Gulf.
Each spring for three decades, the agency has dispatched a research ship to estimate the size of the annual spawn. Traditionally, it has sent the ship only to the northern Gulf — the only place where most scientists have said the fish spawns.
"It's like the drunk looking underneath the light to find his keys," said Frank Muller-Karger, a scientist at the University of South Florida who helps analyze data from the NOAA cruise.
Two years ago, the agency began extending the cruise south, to the Gulf's Mexican waters. Sure enough, said Mr. Lamkin, NOAA's tuna-spawning expert, the cruise found tuna larvae there. This spring, he hopes to broaden the search to the western Caribbean.
Even if scientists can determine conclusively that spawning takes place outside of the Gulf, that won't resolve how damaging the spill was to the tuna in the Gulf.
Map of Bluefin Tuna Essential Fish Habitat and the Gulf Oil Spill from the Center for Biological Diversity. (h/t DawnN)
William Riley, co-chair of the Spill Commission, was head of the EPA during the Exxon Valdez crisis. And that experience makes him so close to being right about the use of dispersants in the Deepwater Horizon spill. Sadly, close isn't good enough.
"One of the real surprises here, to me, is having overseen much of the response to Exxon Valdez in 1989 in Prince William Sound, the status of the dispersant question was still unresolved," Reilly said at last week's press conference at which the commission presented its final report to the president, recalling that, "I did not permit dispersants to be used in many parts of the sensitive areas -- around the fish hatcheries, for example, in Prince William Sound, because of fear that getting into the water column would have contaminated the fish."
Similar concerns were directed at [EPA Director Lisa] Jackson's decision to let BP rely as heavily as it did on dispersants as part of its cleanup strategy. But Reilly said, in the end, "to be clear, and contrary to my initial assumption going into the dispersant issue, we believe that Administrator Jackson made quite a sound and defensible professional decision with respect to her permission to use dispersants in the way that she did."
But Reilly said the Commission makes "strong recommendations that EPA seriously begin to test toxics, the toxicity of dispersants and their effectiveness, and to do so in real-time situations," so that the next time disaster strikes, the EPA administrator can make decisions based on more and better information.
Eight environmental groups are calling on Congress to heed a recommendation from the President Obama's oil spill commission to dedicate 80 percent of the possible billions of dollars in Clean Water Act penalties to long-term restoration of the Gulf region.
"The oil spill commission recognizes that we cannot compound one tragedy with another," said a joint statement the nonprofit environmental advocacy groups, including Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Environmental Defense Fund, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Ocean Conservancy, Oxfam America and The Nature Conservancy. "Congress should invest Clean Water Act penalties in the aggressive and comprehensive restoration of the ecosystem, creating thousands of new jobs and providing significant benefits to the commercial fishing and tourism industries, among others, impacted by the spill damage to the ecosystem."
Without congressional action, the Clean Water Act fines automatically will be deposited into the federal treasury. There, it will be placed in the Oil Spill Trust Fund, and be used as a source of federal money to clean up and repair the environment after future oil spills around the country, said Kerry St. Pé, director of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program.
We already know BP has no heart. And they don't care who they screw. So it should come as no surprise that many fishermen who risked their only means of income -- their boats -- have not been paid as promised by BP.
Twenty fishermen from Mississippi sued BP in Federal Court, saying the oil company chartered their boats after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill but hasn't paid up. The fishermen say BP's Vessels of Opportunity Program took their boats out of commission for other work, and that BP failed to decontaminate the boats, as it promised. The fishermen's attorney said more such lawsuits are expected.
"The charter agreements were all drafted by BP, and plaintiffs sought work for their vessels in mitigation of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill, pursuant to BP's advertised Vessel's of Opportunity Program," the complaint states.
"Some plaintiffs, in order to comply with BP's requirements for activation, had to remove rigging and other equipment essential for commercial fishing. Once activated, charter payments were supposed to be made as stated in the charter party documents. As a condition for chartering their vessels to BP ... plaintiffs were prohibited from using their vessels in any other endeavors. In addition, as a consequence to chartering their vessels to BP, plaintiffs, due to environmental and/or regulatory and/ or concerns of being fined by government agencies, were unable to use the vessels in any other endeavors until decontamination and/or verification of final decontamination was provided. Plaintiffs have invoiced BP for the charter hire, but BP has failed to make payment in full."
Those complaints will wind up before Judge Carl Barbier, along with a multitude of others. But Judge Barbier is making sure nothing falls through the cracks. Particularly any documents related to the BP spill. Curiously, though, his latest order pertains only to the US government.
[The order], signed Jan. 4 in federal court in New Orleans, gives instructions to U.S. agencies - including the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, and Homeland Security, among others - for preserving documents related to the Deepwater Horizon explosion and resulting oil spill.
The order specifically states that it does not impact or change any of the U.S.' "obligation to preserve physical evidence, such as air, water and soil specimens" and evidence from the Deepwater Horizon explosion site.
The order also states that the United States is to maintain "certain databases containing Potentially Relevant Information, such as testing date, and has taken steps to insure that historical information can be restored to such databases in the event of system failures."
The order also states that by preserving information, "the United States is not conceding that such material is discoverable in this matter, nor is the United States waiving any claim of privilege."
The family of Karl Dale Kleppinger, killed when the Deepwater Horizon exploded, has settled with the rig owners and operators.
Lawyers for Kleppinger's estate, in a filing on Thursday with the federal court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, said all claims against Transocean and intervening defendants, including BP and rig service providers Halliburton Co and Cameron International Corp, had been resolved.
BP doesn't merely impoverish the working class. They're more than willing to destroy the already impoverished. 73 farmers in Colombia are suing BP for breach of contract and negligence, claiming construction of BP's 450-mile Ocensa pipeline destroyed their lands and livestock.
...In the first case of its kind the farmers claim that BP acted negligently and breached a duty of care towards them.
They say that BP Exploration Company (Colombia) Ltd worked with Colombia's national oil company and four foreign multi-national corporations, to construct the 450-mile (720 km) Ocensa pipeline. They allege that this caused extensive erosion and damage to soil and groundwater, causing crops to fail, livestock to perish, contaminating water supplies and making fish ponds unsustainable.
According to documents lodged in the high court last month, the scientific investigation has alleged that BP failed to take proper measures to control soil erosion on the farmers' land, failed to properly preserve the topsoil when earth was moved during the construction process and failed to prepare the soil properly for construction. The farmers say that BP engaged in "risky or dangerous activity" and add that an environmental impact study submitted by BP to the Colombian Ministry of the Environment in 1994 was "inadequate and defective".
The solicitor acting for the farmers, Paul Dowling of Leigh Day & Co. [said,] "Rather than accepting responsibility for its actions, BP has, in the same way as it has done in the Deepwater Horizon spill, sought to distance itself as far as possible from the environmental destruction that has taken place."
If the court accepts the evidence of environmental damage caused by the project it could open the way for similar claims by other communities in developing countries who say they have been adversely affected by oil pipelines.
The farmers report that paramilitary units hired by the Colombian government to guard the pipeline have menaced them. One lawyer sought and was granted asylum in the UK when she learned her name was on a hit list.
BP, true to form, denies the charges, saying the pipeline was properly constructed and caused no damage. They claim farmers cleared trees from their land in order to expand grazing for their cattle, thereby destroying their own lands. Yes. Because farmers wouldn't know that would be the consequence of clear-cutting, would they. Seems BP doesn't even bother to come up with plausible refutations any more.
Nearly lost in the midst of all this is that Doug Suttles, according to a BP internal memo by Bob Dudley, "has elected to retire." He's been with BP for 22 years.
Dudley said that BP owed Suttles 'a debt of gratitude' for his commitment during this time.
A BP spokesman refused to say whether Suttles had been nudged towards the exit because of the fiasco that followed the spill.
BP said Suttles 'has chosen to retire' but refused to comment on whether he was handed a big payoff - saying 'that is a private matter'.
Truth-out.org has a report on oil and dispersants detected in their own tests of seawater, sand, and seafood in the Gulf. (h/t DawnN. She's everywhere.)
In October 2010, Truthout tested several water and soil samples from the Gulf of Mexico for chemicals in BP's crude oil and toxic dispersants. One sample of dead marine life was also tested.
Lab tests have confirmed oil and chemicals from the dispersants in the samples tested, which contradicts ongoing statements from both BP and the Obama administration that the Gulf of Mexico is safe from the effects of the BP oil disaster.
Details at the link, including some shockingly high percentages of oil and Corexit in the samples.
Free market capitalism, the economic model driving governments and corporations, is fundamentally responsible for BP's Deep Water Horizon environmental catastrophe, according to a London Business School academic.
"The Spill", Frontline's excellent presentation, is now available on DVD.
Yet another book is out on the Gulf spill.
In their new book, "IN TOO DEEP: BP and the Drilling Race That Took it Down" investigative reporter Alison Fitzgerald and Stanley Reed, a journalist who has covered BP for over a decade, take us behind the scenes examining the people and the culture to help explain how the "tragedy of the Deepwater Horizon was not simply a horrible accident. It was a disaster that many say was long in the making, was foreseeable, and almost inevitable."
Factbox: Lawmakers, groups react to oil spill report.
And further comments are available here.
BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, who referred to the victims of the Gulf spill as "small people," is a contender to become the new CEO of Volvo.
Mr Svanberg is a well-respected business figure in Sweden but failed to woo BP's shareholders because of his invisibility during the first days of the oil spill. He also let slip ill-advised comments that he had assumed being in for a "smooth ride" at BP.
More "no comment" refinery maintenance by BP... are they cleaning up their act? Or just trying to appear to be doing so.
Beyond Petroleum (BP), among some other stellar organizations, has been nominated by the Indigenous Environmental Network to receive the 2011 Public Eye's Worst Company of the Year Award.
BP has also been honored with the "Accidental Earth Experiment Award"...
for its starring role in one of last year's most devastating experiments with the Earth system.
The award is bestowed on that entity whose negligence and incompetence cause such great environmental devastation that among its consequences is the emergence of unique data scientists can use to study the Earth.
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:
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.
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