Skip to comments.Is Deepwater Horizon the New Ecuador?
Posted on 01/31/2012 9:37:30 AM PST by bananaman22
Nearly two years after the worst accidental offshore oil spill in the history of the energy industry, some of the biggest companies in the world are busy pointing their legal fingers at one another in court over who has to pay what in claims, damages and fines over the deadly Deepwater Horizon oil spill. A federal judge this week ruled that BP is still obligated to a clause in its contract with Transocean that would protect the rig owner from damages related to the spill. That means BP still has to shell out money to settle claims filed by those along the southern U.S. coast impacted by the spill. BP, meanwhile, is suing Halliburton, something Halliburton said was ridiculous. If the legal mess over Chevron's case involving Ecuador is any indication, former BP boss Tony Hayward will be pushing 80 before this gets settled.
Oil gushed from the Macondo well thousands of feet below the surface for most of the summer of 2010 before crews were finally able to control the spill. Fishing lanes were closed and the coastal tourism sector, still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, suffered dearly. Eleven rig workers were killed.
A federal report determined a faulty cement barrier was at least one of the underlying causes of the accident. In October, the government outlined seven different violations for operator BP, four for rig-owner Transocean and four for Halliburton, which worked on the cement barrier. BP sued Halliburton, which said it was looking forward to court. Full article at: Is Deepwater Horizon the New Ecuador?
The PEMEX IXTOC 1 spill was probably larger than Deepwater Horizon but political considerations preclude this from ever being recognized. PEMEX estimates of 10,000-30,000 BOPD were kept low by PEMEX and the Mexican government for liability reasons, and the US was sensitive to their predicament.
The press and our leader were interested in demonizing the oil industry during the BP spill so the estimates grew larger and larger as time went on. The later estimates of 100 MMBOPD and 100 MMCFGPD were hardly plausible. If we could make wells capable of sustaining months of production at those rates in the Gulf of Mexico we would be an oil exporter, not an importer.
The main difference between the two was that IXTOC 1 took 9 1/2 months to cap.
At the time the IXTOC spill, located in the Yucatan, affected fishing off the Mississippi delta, and there was great discussion of class action lawsuits against the Mexican government. The US government did not encourage such lawsuits at that time.
Within a year or so the naturally occurring organisms that ‘eat’ oil associated with natural seeps worldwide had dealt with the massive IXTOC spill, and the Gulf of Mexico returned to normal. The press and the US government had access to this information at the time of the BP spill but chose to create catastrophe models unfounded by previous experience. Your tax dollars at work.