Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Obama allows BP to bid for drilling in the Mexican Gulf

Obama allows BP to bid for drilling in the Mexican Gulf

Oct 17, 2011 22:40 Moscow Time
Gulf of Mexico. Photo: EPA

The Obama Administration keeps committing one totally inexplicable mistake after another. The US government is allowing BP – the oil company responsible for the ecological disaster in Mexican Gulf - to continue bidding for gulf oil drilling rights. It is hard to find any other reason for this questionable decision rather than an attempt to upset the rest of Obama’s supporters. In 2008 Obama became a new hope for the middle class, students, immigrants and environmentalists. Now that these hopes have fallen through, the groups that were the basis for Obama’s victory are faced with nothing but disillusionment.

After the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which killed 11 workers, injured 17 others and unleashed nearly 5 million barrels of crude oil into the ocean, nobody could even imagine that BP had any chances to continue operation in the Mexican Gulf Area. The spill which flowed for three months was described as the "worst environmental disaster the US has faced" by the White House energy advisor Carol Browner. The disaster dealt an enormous amount of damage to the US and world ecology, affecting eight US national parks and threatening more than 400 species.

BP and its contractors – Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig and Halliburton, a well-cementing company -  tried to blame each other for the catastrophe, but there was no doubt that all of them would have to face the consequences.

On Thursday all three were charged with 15 breaches of offshore regulations. While Transocean and Halliburton argued that BP is the guilty party, BP in its turn is still trying to convince the contractors to contribute their share of the compensation, which the company has already paid. "The issuance today of notices of non-compliance to BP, Transocean and Halliburton makes clear that contractors, like operators, are responsible for properly conducting their deepwater drilling activities and are accountable to the US government and the American public for their conduct," said BP in a statement.

But what BP should be really afraid of is being found guilty of gross negligence. Such a decision, made by any court, would automatically trigger billion-dollar claims under the US’s Clean Water Act.

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