Matthew's Feed
May 25, 2010

US government keeps “boot on neck” of BP over spill

, May 24 (Reuters) – The U.S. government piled
pressure on BP Plc on Monday to clean up a “massive
environmental mess” in the Gulf of Mexico, and a top official
said fines would definitely be imposed on the energy giant for
the spreading oil spill.

The company insisted it was doing all it could to try to
seal a blown-out oil well spewing hundreds of thousands of
gallons (litres) of oil into the Gulf every day, a disaster
that threatens to become the worst U.S. oil spill in history.

May 24, 2010

Pressure piles on BP as Gulf spill widens

VENICE, La, May 24 (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama
was dispatching two Cabinet secretaries to the fouled Gulf
Coast on Monday to keep pressure on energy giant BP to plug an
undersea oil leak that threatens an ecological disaster.

British-based BP <BP.L> is readying new measures to try to
stop the gushing torrent of oil that has been spewing for more
than a month from a ruptured well a mile (1.6 kms) below the
surface of the Gulf of Mexico.

May 24, 2010

U.S. govt 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 (110 kms) 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 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 24, 2010

U.S. 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 (110 kms) 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 24, 2010

Louisiana hits BP and government for slow oil response

VENICE, La (Reuters) – Louisiana’s governor on Sunday blasted energy giant BP and the federal government for failing to act fast enough to protect the state’s coastlines from a massive undersea oil leak.

The U.S. Coast Guard and BP were slow to make decisions and delayed supplying necessary clean-up equipment even as oil washes onto the state’s fragile marshland, Governor Bobby Jindal said.

May 24, 2010

Louisiana hits BP, US govt for slow oil response

VENICE, La, May 23 (Reuters) – Louisiana’s governor on Sunday blasted energy giant BP <BP.L> and the federal government for failing to act fast enough to protect the state’s coastlines from a massive undersea oil leak.

The U.S. Coast Guard and BP were slow to make decisions and delayed supplying necessary clean-up equipment even as oil washes onto the state’s fragile marshland, Governor Bobby Jindal said.

"It is clear the resources needed to protect our coast are still not here: boom, skimmers, vacuums, jack-up barges are all in short supply," Jindal told a news conference in Venice.

"Oil sits and waits for clean-up and every day that it waits for clean-up more and more marsh dies," said Jindal, whose words were echoed by a number of local officials.

Jindal said he was "frustrated" by the slow pace and said the delays were "unacceptable." He called for the Coast Guard to delegate more authority to local leaders to protect their own parishes.

Oil from a blown-out BP well in the Gulf of Mexico has been gushing into the sea for over a month. Jindal said he had been told a new BP plan to seal the well would be implemented on Wednesday.

Already, oil had tarred 65 miles (100 km) of the state’s coast, he said.

In one example of delay, parish presidents had put in an urgent request to the Coast Guard on May 3 for 5 million feet (1.5 million metres) of hard boom to stop oil before it hits the coast but so far only around 800,000 feet (240,000 metres) had been supplied, Jindal said.

He also raised the pressure on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to grant permission for the construction of a series of sand levees and said he was "passionate" about the issue.

"Silence on this plan is the equivalent of saying: ‘we will just clean it (oil) out of the wetlands,’" he said, arguing that the dangers of inaction were far greater than possible risks of associated with construction.

"BP is responsible for paying for this but they should not have veto authority over the dredging plan or any of the other plans that are being proposed by the parish or by the state," he said.

State and local leaders want to dredge sand from the sea floor and erect up to 80 miles (130 km) of levees, which reinforce, extend and in some cases join barrier islands to impede the progress of oil into the marshlands.

Experts on the coast including conservationists and academics have deep doubts about the plan, arguing it would take too long to implement and could alter the Mississippi River delta’s balance between fresh and salt water.

(Editing by Eric Beech)




May 23, 2010

U.S. says must rely on BP to stop oil;Iran offers help

By Matthew Bigg

VENICE, La. (Reuters) – The U.S. government is forced to rely on BP and the private oil sector to try to plug the gushing Gulf of Mexico well because only they have the technical know-how to stop the spill at those depths, the U.S. Coast Guard chief said on Sunday.

Admiral Thad Allen, who heads the oil spill response operation, also said he trusted BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward at a time when U.S. government and public criticism of the company and its executives over the spill is mounting daily.

May 23, 2010

US environment chief to visit Gulf, spill spreads

, May 23 (Reuters) – The top U.S. environmental official was to visit the Gulf Coast on Sunday as energy giant BP Plc <BP.L> scrambled to contain a widening oil spill.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson planned to return to the Gulf to monitor the EPA’s response, while Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was to travel to the BP Command Center in Houston to get an update from the federal science team working on the problem.

The two Cabinet members’ missions underscore the rising political and economic stakes for the Obama administration in dealing with the environmental disaster, which grows worse as oil gushes from a ruptured well on the sea floor.

Salazar was also to address the media the day after U.S. President Barack Obama blamed the spill on "a breakdown of responsibility" at BP. Obama also unveiled a commission to investigate the disaster.

The Democratic president, in his weekly radio and Internet address on Saturday, said offshore drilling could go forward only if there were assurances that such accidents would not happen again.

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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 spill has raised major questions about Obama’s earlier proposal to expand offshore drilling as part of strategy to win Republican support for climate change legislation.

Analysts say mounting ecological and economic damage could also become a political liability for Obama before November’s congressional elections.

POLITICAL PRESSURE

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>

"First and foremost, what led to this disaster was a breakdown of responsibility on the part of BP and perhaps others, including Transocean and Halliburton," Obama said in his toughest remarks yet on companies linked to the spill.

"And we will continue to hold the relevant companies accountable," he said.

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.

Sheets of rust-colored heavy oil are clogging fragile marshlands on the fringes of the Mississippi Delta, damaging fishing grounds and wildlife.

Many believe it has already become the worst U.S. oil spill, eclipsing the 1989 Exxon Valdez accident in Alaska.

In his executive order announcing former Democratic Senator Bob Graham and and former EPA chief William Reilly would co-chair the commission, Obama also made his first reference to the possibility of a criminal probe.

BP made no immediate comment on Obama’s suggestion that it was to blame for the deep-sea disaster. But the company’s chief executive, Tony Hayward, said he welcomed the establishment of the commission and pledged to work with its co-chairmen.

BP and the EPA are locking horns over the dispersants the company is using to try to contain the spill.

The spill has hurt fishermen because federal authorities have closed a wide slew of Gulf waters to fishing. Wildlife and migrating birds have also suffered.

BP on Friday revised downward an earlier estimate that one of its containment solutions, a 1-mile (1.6 km)-long siphon tube inserted into the larger of two seabed leaks, was catching 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons/795,000 litres) of oil per day.

Its latest figures show 2,200 barrels a day.

The company’s next planned step is a "top kill" — pumping heavy fluids and then cement into the gushing well to plug it.

Many scientists dismiss an original 5,000 bpd estimate of the total leaking oil — often defended by BP executives — as ridiculously low and say it could be 70,000 barrels (2.9 million gallons/11 million litres) per day or more. (Writing by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Doina Chiacu)



May 23, 2010

Obama blames Gulf oil spill on “breakdown” at BP

WASHINGTON/VENICE, Louisiana (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Saturday blamed the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill on “a breakdown of responsibility” at energy giant BP Plc as he unveiled a commission to investigate the disaster.

Obama, in his weekly radio and Internet address, also said offshore oil drilling could only go forward if there were assurances that such accidents would not happen again.