Chris's Feed
May 25, 2010

Protesters bare nearly all at BP’s Houston office

HOUSTON (Reuters) – About 100 protesters, some wearing cowboy boots and little else, took to the sidewalk outside the U.S. headquarters of BP Plc on Monday to “bare the truth” about the giant oil spill that is threatening an environmental disaster for the Gulf of Mexico.

On a hot Texas afternoon, protesters marched to BP’s Houston “campus” from a nearby park chanting phrases like “Hey, hey, Lamar McKay, how many fish did you kill today,” a reference to BP’s top U.S. executive.

May 24, 2010

Government slams BP for missed deadlines on spill

VENICE, La/HOUSTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government threatened on Sunday to remove BP from efforts to seal a blown-out oil well in the Gulf of Mexico if it doesn’t do enough to stop the leak, though it acknowledged only the company and the oil industry have the needed know-how.

The Coast Guard said that over 65 miles of Gulf Coast has experienced “shoreline impact” from the spill and less than half of it could be cleaned up relatively quickly, underscoring the growing ecological toll of the disaster.

May 23, 2010

U.S. slams BP for missed deadlines on spill

VENICE, La/HOUSTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government threatened to remove BP from efforts to seal a blown-out oil well in the Gulf of Mexico if it doesn’t do enough to stop the leak, though it acknowledged only the company and the oil industry have the know-how to halt the deepwater spill.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Sunday Washington is frustrated and angry that BP missed “deadline after deadline” in its efforts to seal the well more than a month after an oil rig explosion triggered the disaster.

May 23, 2010

U.S. government slams BP for missed deadlines on spill

VENICE, La/HOUSTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government threatened to remove BP from efforts to seal a blown-out oil well in the Gulf of Mexico if it doesn’t do enough to stop the leak, though it acknowledged only the company and the oil industry have the know-how to halt the deepwater spill.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Sunday Washington is frustrated and angry that BP Plc missed “deadline after deadline” in its efforts to seal the well more than a month after an oil rig explosion triggered the disaster.

May 23, 2010

US gov’t slams BP for missed deadlines on spill

VENICE, La/HOUSTON, May 23 (Reuters) – The U.S. government threatened to remove BP <BP.L> from efforts to seal a blown-out oil well in the Gulf of Mexico if it doesn’t do enough to stop the leak, though it acknowledged only the company and the oilindustry have the know-how to halt the deepwater spill.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Sunday Washington is frustrated and angry that BP Plc missed "deadline after deadline" in its efforts to seal the well more than a month after an oil rig explosion triggered the disaster.

"I am angry and I am frustrated that BP has been unable to stop this oil from leaking and to stop the pollution from spreading. We are 33 days into this effort and deadline after deadline has been missed," U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said after visiting BP’s U.S. headquarters in Houston.

"If we find they’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing, we’ll push them out of the way appropriately," he told reporters as the administration maintained its hard line.

Salazar’s strongly worded comments followed President Barack Obama’s on Saturday, when he blamed the spill on "a breakdown of responsibility" at BP. The unfolding disaster has become a top priority on Obama’s crowded domestic agenda. <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

TAKE A LOOK on the spill [ID:nSPILL]

INSIDER TV: link.reuters.com/wuw64k

Graphic: link.reuters.com/ken64k

Breakingviews column [ID:nLDE64C1D1]

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The chief of the Coast Guard, Admiral Thad Allen, acknowledged on Sunday that the government is forced to rely on BP and the private oil sector to try to plug the gusher. At the same time, BP said the containment method it was attempting on the ocean floor was capturing much less of the leaking oil than three days ago.

Company engineers were readying other short-term solutions, the next one expected to start late on Tuesday. But BP Managing Director Bob Dudley said there was "no certainty" of success at the unprecedented depths at which they were being tried — one mile (1.6 km) down in the Gulf of Mexico.

More than a month after a rig explosion triggered what Obama has described as an environmental disaster and "BP’s mess," oil is still spewing virtually unchecked from BP’s ruptured Macondo seabed well.

TRUST

At a time of mounting U.S. government and public criticism of the company and its executives over the catastrophic spill, Allen said he trusted BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward, who has made comments downplaying its size and environmental impact.

Sheets of heavy oil have washed ashore in Louisiana’s fragile marshlands and lesser "oil debris" has also reached the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama in what is seen as an ecological and economic calamity for the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Given the lack of a solution so far and the doubts over BP, Allen was asked on CNN’s "State of the Union" why the U.S. federal government did not completely take over the spill containment operation from the London-based firm.

"What makes this an unprecedented anomalous event is access to the discharge site is controlled by the technology that was used for the drilling, which is owned by the private sector," Allen said. "They have the eyes and ears that are down there. They are necessarily the modality by which this is going to get solved," he added.

Asked too about the apparent growing U.S. lack of confidence in BP CEO Hayward, Allen said: "I trust Tony Hayward. When I talk to him, I get an answer".

BP has deployed a long suction tube down to the larger of two leaks from the well, but a BP spokesman said on Sunday this captured only 1,360 barrels per day of oil over the 24 hours to midnight Saturday. The flow has been declining from the 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons/795,000 litres) per day the company had said the tube was siphoning off three days ago.

BP engineers are now preparing a "top kill," pumping heavy fluids into the well to try to shut it off, an operation to begin late Tuesday or early Wednesday, Dudley told CNN.

Many scientists believe the Gulf spill has already eclipsed the 11 million gallons (41 million litres) spilled by the 1989 Exxon Valdez tanker accidnet in Alaska. They warn the spreading oil could increasingly be caught in a powerful ocean current that could take it to the Florida Keys, Cuba and the U.S. East Coast.

PRAYERS TO GOD

Churchgoers in Louisiana coastal parishes affected by the spill prayed for God’s help. "You (God) can clear that oil up, because that oil was down there thousands of years before it came up in the Gulf. So you know what to do with it, dear God," retired oyster fisherman Herbert Guidry prayed in the New Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church in Houma.

Analysts say growing ecological and economic damage from the spill could become a political liability for Obama before November congressional elections.

While also promising to hold Washington accountable for proper oversight of the industry, Obama ramped up pressure on companies linked to the spill: BP, Halliburton <HAL.N> and Transocean Ltd <RIG.N>. He believed a "breakdown of responsibility" between them led to the disaster.

BP stocks have taken a beating in the markets in the month since the well blowout and rig explosion that killed 11 workers and touched off the spill. Its share price shed another 4 percent on Friday in London, extending recent sharp losses. (Additional reporting by Susan Heavey and Jackie Frank in Washington, Sharon Reich in Louisiana, Hashem Kalantari in Tehran; Writing by Ed Stoddard and Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Jackie Frank)



May 20, 2010

Luminaries urge Obama to act on energy after spill

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Actor Robert Redford and other big name clean energy advocates are piling pressure on U.S. President Barack Obama to seize upon the giant Gulf oil spill as a catalyst to steer America clear of its oil addiction.

“The Gulf disaster is more than a terrible oil spill,” Redford says in a television ad sponsored by environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council that began airing late Wednesday. “It’s the product of a failed energy policy.”

May 17, 2010

BP reports limited success in containing oil spill

, May 16 (Reuters) – Energy giant BP
reported a limited success at containing the oil that is
gushing unabated into the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday but a
skeptical U.S. government said it was “not a solution.”

Reports of huge oil plumes in the Gulf, including one as
large as 10 miles (16 km) long, three miles (5 km) wide and 300
feet (91 metres) thick, underscored the drama’s gravity.

May 17, 2010

BP marks first success in containing oil spill

HOUSTON/GALLIANO, Louisiana (Reuters) – Energy giant BP marked a limited success at containing the oil that is gushing unabated into the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday and said it may be able to stop the flow permanently in about a week.

But reports of huge oil plumes in the Gulf — including one as large as 10 miles long, three miles wide and 300 feet thick — underscored the spill’s environmental impact as the crisis moved into its 24th day.

May 16, 2010

BP says successfully tests oil-siphoning system

HOUSTON/GALLIANO, Louisiana (Reuters) – Energy giant BP said Sunday it successfully tested a system to siphon oil from a blown-out well, a move the company called an “important step” in containing a spill that threatens environmental disaster.

Crude oil has been gushing unchecked into the sea from a ruptured undersea well in the Gulf of Mexico about a mile under the water’s surface, threatening an ecological and economic calamity along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

May 14, 2010

On doomed rig, lapses sparked catastrophe

HOUSTON (Reuters) – A cascade of human and mechanical failures likely caused last month’s deadly offshore rig explosion and an undersea oil gusher that could be the worst U.S. environmental disaster, according to data gathered by congressional investigators and reviewed by experts.

Around 10:53 p.m. EST on April 20, Swiss-based Transocean Ltd’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded while it was drilling a well a mile beneath the Gulf of Mexico under contract for London-based BP Plc. Eleven rig workers are presumed dead.

    • About Chris

      "Chris has been a journalist for Reuters since 2001, when he joined the Washington DC bureau as a summer intern. As a correspondent in Washington, Chris covered energy policy, reported on Congress, the Supreme Court and federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency. As Houston Bureau Chief, Chris oversees a team of five reporters and covers general news topics like the BP oil spill, hurricanes, NASA, and national politics. In addition, Chris oversees a team of Power and Gas reporters in New York and Houston."
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