Tag Archives: Spill

BP, Anadarko Fail to Win Review of Gulf Spill Fines

 

BP Plc and Anadarko Petroleum Corp narrowly failed to persuade a U.S appeals court to reconsider its 2014 ruling that they could face civil fines under federal pollution laws over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.


By a 7-6 vote, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals let stand a three-judge panel’s decision to uphold a 2012 ruling from U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans, in which he said the companies could face Clean Water Act penalties.


Barbier is scheduled on Jan. 20 to begin a non-jury trial to determine pollution fines. BP is appealing his Sept. 4 ruling that it was grossly negligent in causing the spill, exposing the London-based company to roughly $18 billion of potential fines.


BP and Anadarko had owned a respective 65 percent and 25 percent of the Macondo well, which blew out following the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.


They said they should not face fines because the discharge that culminated in the largest U.S. offshore oil spill was the result of a broken riser under the control of Transocean Ltd , which owned the rig.


The three-judge panel ruled against BP and Anadarko last June 4, and issued a separate ruling five months later that the companies said caused confusion, further justifying a rehearing.


An outside spokeswoman for BP declined to comment. Anadarko spokesman John Christiansen also declined to comment.


Writing for the dissenting judges, Circuit Judge Edith Brown Clement said on Friday the panel misinterpreted the Clean Water Act, and misapplied its own standard in assessing what happened.


She said denial of a rehearing “ensures that our precedent concerning liability for oil spills under the Clean Water Act remains unclear.”


The case is In re: Deepwater Horizon, 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 12-30883. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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India on Alert After Oil Spill in Sundarbans

Authorities on India’s eastern coast are on alert after a tanker and another vessel collided, spilling more than 350,000 litres of furnace oil into the waters of the Sundarban tidal mangrove forests in neighbouring Bangladesh.


“We are taking all precautionary measures,” Pradeep Vyas, additional director of India’s Sundarban Biosphere Reserve, told Reuters on Friday.


The Indian Coast Guard and Border Security Force are both monitoring the situation, and boats are patrolling the rivers that connect the Sundarban region, which straddles the border between India and Bangladesh, he said.


On Tuesday, an oil tanker carrying 358,000 litres of furnace oil and another vehicle crashed together. That caused the tanker to sink in the Shela river, in the Sundarbans, and spill its cargo into a complex network of rivers and canals, according to Mohammad Yunus Ali, chief conservator of forests in the Ministry of Environment and Forest.


Both Sundarbans include large swaths of protected areas that host a diverse wildlife, including threatened species such as the Bengal tiger, rare dolphins and the estuarine crocodile.


Yunus denied that the oil slick was moving towards India and said clean-up efforts were continuing. “We have been trying seriously to clean it within the quickest possible time,” he said. It was unclear when the process would be completed, he added.


Seven members of the sunken tanker’s crew managed to swim ashore, but the boat’s captain, Mokhlesur Rahman, was still missing as of Friday evening.


The Bangladesh government has filed a lawsuit against the owners of both ships.


The chief wildlife warden in the state of West Bengal told Reuters the spill had not yet had any impact on the tiger reserve territory or marine life on the Indian side of the border.


“It may happen, and if it happens we have to deal with it,” said Ujjwal Kumar Bhattacharya, the chief warden.

Reporting by Serajul Quadir in Dhaka, Sujoy Dhar in Kolkata; Writing by Krista Mahr

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Oil Spill at Quintero Bay, Chile

An oil spill occurred at Quintero Bay, Nr Valparaiso, Chile, following an incident on Thursday, September 24 at the Monobuoy Terminal when the MT Mimosa cut off hoses and cargo connection, resulting in a spill of around three cubic meters at sea, Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) Chile reported.


Following the incident, terminal owners ENAP, in coordination with the National Maritime Authority of Chile, deployed a team of expert environmental personnel to mitigate the impact on the environment, by employing absorbent sleeves and installing barriers with an 800 meters extension. Concurrently, an investigation was established with the involved stakeholders to determine the causes of this incident.


Today, the oil spill teams continue with the environmental cleanup and where affected, vessels will continue to be cleansed before departure.


Port operations have not been stopped but currently the ENAP terminals Monobuoy, Multibuoy and LPG are not working.


 

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Timeline: BP Oil Spill Litigation

BP Plc was found “grossly negligent” on Thursday by a federal judge in connection with its role in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The decision by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans, who oversees litigation related to the disaster, is likely to boost the British oil company’s costs emerging from the biggest offshore spill in U.S. history.

  • April 20, 2010 Rig Explodes: An explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig at the Macondo exploration well kills 11 workers and releases millions of barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The well is capped in mid-July. BP ultimately sets aside $42 billion to pay for cleanup costs, damages and penalties.
  • November 2012 Criminal Case Settled: BP agrees to pay $4.5 billion in fines and other penalties and pleads guilty to 14 criminal charges. The U.S. government bans BP from new federal contracts, imperiling the company’s role as a top U.S. offshore oil producer and No. 1 military fuel supplier. Separately, the U.S. Department of Justice files criminal charges against three BP employees in connection with the accident.
  • December 2012 Class Action Settled: Barbier gives final approval to BP’s settlement with individuals and businesses claiming to have lost money and property because of the spill. BP initially estimates it will pay $7.8 billion to settle more than 100,000 claims, but the dollar amount is not capped. The company later says the payout may grow substantially, in part because of payouts to many claimants who suffered no harm, and files numerous legal challenges to the agreement.
  • February 2013 Civil Trial Begins: Officials from the federal government and several U.S. states begin facing BP in court at a three-phase civil trial over how blame should be apportioned between BP, Transocean Ltd, which owned the drilling rig, and Halliburton Co, which did cement work. Government lawyers urge Barbier to find BP grossly negligent, which could roughly quadruple the amount of fines under the U.S. Clean Water Act.
  • Sept. 30, 2013 Second Phase of Trial Begins: The second phase begins to determine how much oil was spilled.
  • Sept. 4, 2014 Judge Finds BP Bears Most of the Blame: Barbier finds BP “grossly negligent” for its role in the oil spill. He assigns 67 percent of the fault to BP, 30 percent to Transocean and 3 percent to Halliburton. BP pledges to appeal.
  • January 2015 Next Phase of Trial Scheduled to Begin: Barbier is scheduled to determine how much oil was spilled. The amount would be used to calculate damages.


(Compiled by David Gregorio; Editing by Howard Goller)

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Maritime NZ Oil Spill Response Review: Submissions

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) says it invites submissions on its draft updated New Zealand Marine Oil Spill Response Strategy 2014 (the draft Strategy).


The draft Strategy, (available at http://bit.ly/1pe6p46) is based on the current version but substantially updated to include lessons learned nationally and internationally in recent years and follows discussion with regional councils, the community and iwi, and industry at a series of public held earlier this year.


The safety agency points out that it is important to note that the strategy does not cover the permitting and approval process for oil and gas exploitation. Neither does it cover emergency response to other hazardous and noxious substances. These issues are “out-of-scope” of this strategy.


Background

Under the Maritime Transport Act 1994, MNZ is required to regularly update the Strategy, last revised in 2006.


The draft Strategy not only provides information about how Maritime NZ responds to marine oil spills, but also, for the first time, sets the vision, principles, goals, and objectives for the next five years for New Zealand’s marine oil spill readiness and response.


When finalised the Strategy will provide a framework within which New Zealand’s approach to managing marine oil spills can continue to develop.


The draft Strategy identifies four key goals:

  • New Zealand is able to respond to a significant marine oil spill
  • New Zealand’s readiness and response is evidence-based, intelligence-led and meets international best practice
  • Maritime NZ builds and maintains relationships that will improve readiness and response to marine oil spills and help meet international obligations
  • Industry and regional readiness and response capability is matched to the scale of their responsibility and risk


The goals and objectives will shape the future capability requirements for New Zealand and Maritime NZ and the resources needed to give effect to this capability.

 
Make a submission

    •    e-mail to osrs@maritimenz.govt.nz

    •    ordinary post to Oil Spill Response Strategy Review, Maritime New Zealand, PO Box 25620, Wellington 6146

    •    fax to (04) 494 8901

    •    delivery to Maritime New Zealand, level 11, 1 Grey Street, Wellington


The deadline for making a submission is 5.00pm on Monday 25 August 2014.

 

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Thai Resort Owners Sue State Owned Company for Oil Spill

Business owners on Koh Samet island are suing a state-owned petroleum enterprise for the oil spill that polluted the resort island’s beaches last year. More than 50,000 litres of crude oil leaked from pipeline operated by PTT Global Chemical in July 2013 and blackened several beaches on Koh Samet island, reports Khaosod English.


Pitsanu Khemaphan, president of the Restaurant and Hotel Association on Koh Samet, arrived at Rayong Provincial Court with his lawyer  to file a lawsuit against PTT Global Chemical for the incident, demanding 300 million baht (US$9.4 million) in compensation.


The suit was co-filed by owners of Nimmanoradee Resort, Samet Cabana World Resort, and Heaven Resort, who say their businesses were severely affected by the oil spill. The case has been accepted by court officials for further procedure.


Source: Khaosod English

 

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Tesoro Refining Wins 2011 Long Beach Oil Spill Case

Freeman Freeman & Smiley say that its lead trial attorney  Robert S. Crowder (assisted by attorneys Russell R. Fisk and John D. Van Ackeren) have celebrated a win with their client, Tesoro Refining & Marketing Company LLC in a lawsuit filed by Plaintiffs North of England Protecting & Indemnity Association Limited, United Africa Petroleum Limited and General National Maritime Transport Company.

Plaintiffs brought claims as insurer, owner and operator of the Libyan Motor Tanker Aljalaa for cleanup costs associated with an oil spill which occurred at Tesoro’s Long Beach, California, terminal on February 21, 2011.

Although the M/T Aljalaa was admittedly responsible for the spill of its own fuel oil, Plaintiffs claimed that Tesoro was negligent in both responding to the spill and placing a pre-transfer oil spill containment boom from which some of the spilled fuel oil escaped.


At trial, North of England listed $2.74 million in itemized damages and also sought to recover attorney’s fees.


The defense team’s strategy was to defend Plaintiff’s allegations while providing the Court with a readily-understandable explanation of the technical issues in the case.


Honorable Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, presided over the trial in Pasadena. At the close of Plaintiff’s case, Tesoro moved for judgment on partial findings on the ground that Plaintiff had failed to carry its burden of proof on both of the general negligence claims. The motion was briefed, argued, and granted by the Court, resulting in a complete defense and obviating any need for Tesoro to present any evidence or witnesses of its own.


“It is highly satisfying to have demonstrated here that Plaintiff’s contentions were unfounded,” says Robert S. Crowder. “We hope that this result in a case involving stakeholders on four continents that was delivered in a courtroom packed with regulatory and industry observers will dissuade others from seeking to pursue unwarranted claims against those whom they perceive as having deep pockets.”

 

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Appeals Court Not to Revisit BP Oil Spill Compensation Decision

A U.S. appeals court will not revisit a decision to reject BP Plc’s bid to block businesses from recovering money over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, even if those businesses could not trace their economic losses to the disaster.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in March voted 2-1 to authorize payments on so-called business economic loss claims, and said an injunction preventing payments should be lifted. BP asked the entire 5th Circuit to rehear the case.


However, the 5th Circuit voted 8-5 to let the March ruling stand, according to a court filing made public on Monday.


In a statement, BP spokesman Geoff Morrell said the company is disappointed in the decision, and is considering its options. Plaintiff attorneys Steve Herman and Jim Roy said in a statement they are “pleased that the court of appeals agreed that BP must honor its contract.”


The decision is a setback for BP’s effort to limit payments over the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and rupture of BP’s Macondo oil well.


The disaster killed 11 people and triggered the largest U.S. offshore oil spill.


A lower court judge had ruled that BP would have to live with its earlier interpretation of a multibillion dollar settlement agreement over the spill, in which certain businesses claiming losses were presumed to have suffered harm.


BP argued that this would allow businesses to recover for fictitious losses, but the 5th Circuit rejected its appeal.


The case is In re: Deepwater Horizon, 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Nos. 13-30315 and 13-30329.


(By Dan Levine)

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BP Cleaning Up Oil Spill On Alaska’s North Slope

 

Work crews for BP Plc were clearing contaminated snow on Thursday on Alaska‘s North Slope after a Prudhoe Bay well line ruptured, spraying a 34-acre area with crude oil and natural gas.

Just how much liquid escaped from the line remains under investigation by BP and Alaska‘s Department of Environmental Conservation.

It remains unclear whether the leak, detected earlier this week, is connected to a decline in North Slope oil production. BP did not return emails seeking comment.

Since the spill occurred, daily North Slope production has dropped about 10,000 barrels per day, from 533,000 to 521,000, according to state tracking data.

As of Saturday, however, two days before an inspector discovered the problem, production was at 551,000, according to Alaska’s Department of Revenue.

The production figures include five major fields, the largest of which is Prudhoe Bay.

The leak comes nearly eight years after BP had to order Prudhoe operations to be partially shut down when a transit line leak discharged about 200,000 gallons of oil.

And it comes four years after the fatal Macondo well explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, in which BP was the operator.

For the current incident BP has a 40-person crew working during the day and about 20 at night, mainly using shovels and brooms.

This time of year that area receives nearly 20 hours of daylight.

BP discovered the leak during a routine investigation on Monday afternoon, according to an Alaska DEC report.

A few hours after discover the line was depressurized to stop the leak, the state report said.

(Reporting by Steven Quinn; Editing by Terry Wade and Lisa Shumaker)

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