British oil company BP is finally settling up with the federal government and five states affected by the devastating oil spill that hit the Gulf Coast when BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in 2010. The company has tentatively agreed to pay $18.7 billion in damages over 18 years, The New York Times reports.
Last night, 60 Minutes aired a report on how BP is trying to get out of a contract that has forced the oil giant to pay billions in reparations stemming from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, even to people who weren't directly affected by the disaster. The funny thing is that BP has no one to blame but itself.
Remember how BP's relentless pursuit of profits at the expense of safety caused the Gulf of Mexico to be flooded with oil a little while ago? No. I don't remember that. Do you? Hmm. What I do remember is BP's absolutely awesome Olympic spirit!
While the rest of Washington squabbles over the debt ceiling, one man has been fighting for your right to buy real lightbulbs. Republican Congressman Joe Barton — of BP "shakedown" fame — has been trying to overturn the 2007 law that requires lightbulbs to operate 30 percent more efficiently by 2012. Barton lost last night after failing to get two-thirds support in the House.
One need only look to the iPad 2 feeding frenzies currently gripping China for evidence that Apple is the hottest brand on the planet. And now it's official: Research company Millward Brown puts Apple at the top of their annual 100 global brand power list, knocking Google off the throne its held for four years running. The iPad has helped Apple grow 84%, to an estimated worth of $153 billion.
Geez, the federal government sure has made the last year so tough for struggling oil companies to get new offshore drilling leases. And if there's one sector that needs a helping hand these days, well, it's oil. But thanks to House Republicans those dark days will soon be over! Yesterday a bill was passed — creatively titled the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act — by a vote of 266-to-149 to bring back offshore drilling auctions, which had been shelved in order to make sure safety and environmental concerns were addressed — a long, drawn out mess that was probably pretty annoying for oil companies.
Pariah oil company BP is settling charges by paying $25 million in civil fines over two oil spills on Alaska's North Slope in 2006, and for basically ignoring court orders to properly maintain their pipelines. How shocking! According to a report in the Times, "The fine is the largest per-barrel assessment ever levied against an oil company in a spill case and represents a new blow to BP's corporate treasury and reputation." Yes, it's a new blow to BP's reputation, but it's doubtful the company's rep can get much worse than it already is.
BP went after three companies yesterday with lawsuits for "misconduct" (ha!) and for tarnishing its good name over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill last year, most notably Halliburton. Yesterday's filing blasts Halliburton for "improper conduct, errors and omissions, including fraud and concealment," and it is thought the company is seeking some $42 billion in damages. But don't worry, Halliburton is used to this sort of thing. They'll probably be just fine.
After ejaculating 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, BP doled out $750 million to state and local governments in a panicked attempt to seem less evil. The states, being dutiful stewards of the environment, directed the money to cleanup and mitigation. Kidding! No, they spent it on the Doobie Brothers and iPads.
In not-very-shocking news from the Gulf of Mexico, scientists have said that six dolphins that washed up on the shore there had oil on them, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials have traced the oil directly to last year's BP spill. Previously, experts said that "unusual mortality events" were responsible for the deaths of over 400 baby dolphins in the Gulf. Well, we have a culprit for at least a few of them now.
Last week, the owner of the fiery death trap Deepwater Horizon oil rig, Transocean Ltd., announced in a SEC filing that it was handing out huge bonuses to its top executives for the "best year in safety performance in our company's history." Transocean CEO and big bonus recipient Steve Newman also made a point that of the 11 crew members who died on the oil rig last year, 9 of them were Transocean employees. Who cares about those other guys, right? Unsurprisingly, that filing pissed off a lot of people. So now they're really sorry for saying that... really!
Remember Transocean Ltd., the company that owned the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded in a hellish ball of fire, killing 11 workers and setting off the massive Gulf oil spill last year? In documents filed with the SEC on Friday, the company announced it was handing out bonuses to senior executives for overseeing the "best year in safety performance in our company's history." Perhaps that's because, as Transocean CEO Steve Newman wrote in a statement, "Of the 126-member crew [on the Deepwater Horizon], 115 were safely evacuated." He also points out that only 9 of the 11 dead were Transocean employees.
Bloomberg reports today that the Justice Department is exploring manslaughter charges against BP managers over the deaths of 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig last year. According to the report, invesitgators want "to determine whether [BP managers'] testimony was at odds with what they knew." In other words, they want to know if Tony Hayward and his pals were lying through their teeth to congress during testimony last summer.