Transocean’s small fine for BP oil disaster

This video from the USA is called BP Oil Disaster: Fallout Making People And Wildlife Sick – Dean Blanchard Seafood, Inc. Closed.

By Bryan Dyne in the USA:

Transocean settles for $1.4 billion in criminal and civil charges

8 January 2013

Transocean Deepwater Inc. has settled for only $1.4 billion towards all criminal and civil claims relating to the company’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in 2010, which leaked 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico and killed eleven workers. The settlement was announced by the Department of Justice on Thursday.

The settlement, which must still be approved by US District Judge Carl Barbier, precludes other criminal fines that would have arisen if Transocean went to trial in New Orleans over the spill, which was set to begin February 25. Furthermore, the settlement will not require Transocean to plead guilty to any crime relating to the deaths of the eleven workers killed on the oil rig, in contrast to BP, which pleaded guilty to eleven counts of manslaughter.

The deal consists of criminal penalties and fines of $400 million. $150 million of the criminal settlement goes towards restoring the habitats in the Gulf of Mexico that were affected by the spill and a further $150 million will go towards oil spill prevention and response research in the Gulf. The criminal penalties are from a charge of “negligence” against Transocean by the Justice Department. The more serious charge of “gross negligence,” defined as “wanton and reckless conduct,” was not levied.

The civil settlement is $1 billion in civil penalties for violations of the Clean Water Act. $800 million of that will be directed by the RESTORE Act of 2012 and will be used to fund environmental and economic projects for Gulf states. The civil resolution also reserves the claims for natural resource damages and clean-up costs.

Much has been said about the record amount of civil penalties that Transocean is required to pay, more than BP settled for last November. Attorney General Eric Holder called the settlement “significant” and claimed that it is “justice for the human, environmental, and economic devastation wrought by the Deepwater Horizon disaster.”

However, as with the $4.5 billion BP settlement, Transocean is being required to pay a paltry amount, over the course of five years, for its part in the 2010 explosion. It compares to the estimated worth of the Gulf region of more than $1 trillion, ignoring long-term environmental and economic effects. Transocean’s fund for claims from individuals and business for damages relating to the spill is only $2 billion.

The “justice” that is being meted out is merely a further signal by the Obama administration to oil drilling companies that the fines imposed for an oil spill, no matter how damaging, are not punitive but merely the cost of doing business.

The response of the market to Transocean’s settlement was favorable. The shares of Transocean Ltd. rose 6.4 percent Thursday and rose again Friday, by 5.3 percent, closing at $51.82.

The current settlement by Transocean does not include charges against any Transocean officials. In fact, the settlement places the blame on the crew of the Deepwater Horizon. The settlement states that Transocean’s crew “were negligent in failing fully to investigate clear indications that the Macondo well was not secure and that oil and gas were flowing into the well.”

This statement is designed to shield and absolve Transocean and BP of any responsibility for the explosion. It ignores the mass of reports that surfaced in the weeks and months after the explosion that the actions of Transocean and BP were directed towards making up cost overruns caused by delays in drilling, which drove the companies to ignore safety concerns around the backlog of necessary maintenance for the oil rig and to attempt to cap the Macondo well with substandard materials.

There were also reports that revealed that BP had advance warning of the explosion, but chose to continue operations to avoid another $500,000 per day rental fee on the rig. Another report indicated that the Deepwater Horizon was drilling for oil at 25,000 feet below the seabed, 5,000 feet deeper than allowed by its permit.

Placing the responsibility for the explosion on the Transocean crew also allows the US government, particularly the Minerals Management Service (since renamed the Bureau of Ocean Energy), to avoid any responsibility. From January 2005 to April 2010, there were sixteen fewer inspections of the Deepwater Horizon than there should have been. Inspections from 2010 had data “whited out” without explanation.

Such actions coincide with the policy of the Bush and Obama administrations, which have both done their utmost to protect the oil industry from civil and criminal suits. BP’s fund for compensation for the entire Gulf coast was only $20 billion. BP has been doing its best to avoid paying even that amount.

In addition, the Obama administration has allowed oil drilling to expand. BP has seven operational oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and plans to bring two more operational this year. Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling efforts are ongoing despite a series of accidents over the last year, including the most recent, in which one of its oil rigs ran aground in the Gulf of Alaska.

The next significant settlement dealing with the 2010 spill will most likely involve the full scope of the civil penalties facing BP. A trial is set for February 25. The company faces civil suits for a maximum of $90 billion for the estimated 4.9 million barrels of crude oil that spilled into the gulf. A settlement is possible before this date.

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BP settles for $4.5 billion in criminal charges
[17 November 2012]

BP’s criminal pollution fine

This video from the USA is called BP Oil Spill Effect on Wildlife.

From the BBC:

15 November 2012 Last updated at 14:45 GMT

BP to get record US criminal fine over Deepwater disaster

BP is set to receive a record fine of between $3bn and $5bn (£1.9bn-£3.2bn) to settle criminal charges related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, the BBC has learnt.

It will be the biggest criminal penalty in US history, BBC business editor Robert Peston says.

The settlement with the Department of Justice involves BP pleading guilty to criminal charges.

It is thought that up to four BP staff may be arrested, Robert Peston says.

Details of the settlement are expected to be confirmed by the Washington-based Department of Justice later.

Earlier, BP said it was in “advanced discussions” with US agencies about settling criminal and other claims.

BP said that any deal would not include a range of other claims including individual and federal claims for damages under the Clean Water Act, and state claims for economic loss.

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 workers and released millions of barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico over 87 days.

The settlement is much bigger than the largest previous corporate criminal penalty assessed by the Department of Justice, the $1.2bn fine imposed on drug maker Pfizer in 2009.

The oil giant has been selling assets worth billions of pounds to raise money to settle all claims. The company is expected to make a final payment of $860m into the $20bn Gulf of Mexico compensation fund by the end of the year.

Other companies involved included Transocean, the owner of the rig and responsible for the safety valve known as the blowout preventer, and Halliburton, who provided cementing services.

BP is yet to reach a settlement with these firms. A civil trial that will determine negligence is due to begin in New Orleans in February 2013.

BP, Halliburton, Transocean criminal corporations

From Crooks and Liars in the USA:

Papantonio: BP – The Manslaughter Felon

By Heather

Sunday May 23, 2010 9:42pm

From Ring of Fire:

Mike Papantonio of Ring of Fire Radio discusses the history of BP and Halliburton, including their past as convicted felons. These two felons are responsible for the oil spill that is dumping millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, and we’re supposed to expect them to tell us the truth about what happened? Given their histories, that seems highly unlikely.”

Mike mentions the case of Jamie Leigh Jones that Halliburton left locked in a shipping container after she was raped until she agreed to sign a waiver not to sue them.

Sound familiar? We can add Transocean to Pap’s list as well.

Transocean To Workers After Rig Explosion: Sign The Waiver Here, Please!

BP and the US administration: here.

As the thick crude gushing from the broken well in the Gulf of Mexico coats wetlands along the coast, reliable figures of the extent of the spill are precious and few: here.

Confidence in BP’s response fading as oil spill spreads into marshlands, mires bird sanctuaries: here.

British Petroleum and friends: The face of the enemy: here.

BP Delays New Attempt to Stop Oil Leak in Gulf: here.

BP again delays attempt to stop gushing well: here.

Venezuela has sent a team of experts to Cuba to help preparations should the Gulf of Mexico oil spill reach its shores: here.

An alternative annual report for the oil company Chevron looks at the deep costs paid for the world’s oil addiction: here.