BP formalizes new Macondo spill group, with Dudley in charge
New York (Platts)–23Jun2010/1221 pm EDT/1621 GMT
BP Wednesday said that Bob Dudley has been named president and CEO of the company’s newly formed Gulf Coast Restoration Organization, effective immediately.
The company said that Dudley, who is also a managing director, will
report to BP’s group CEO, Tony Hayward.
The formalization of the new organization was in response to the Macondo
oil spill, and Dudley’s appointment effectively removes the embattled Hayward from day-to-day management of the spill response effort.
Dudley, appearing on the NBC program Today, said the new organization
“will be sustained for a long time” in order to “make sure we can deploy all
the resources of BP and of the unified command structure with the Coast Guard, make sure we transition the claims over to Ken Feinberg as an independent claims leader. And this organization will report into Tony Hayward. He’s fully, fully committed to BP meeting its obligations.”
BP, in a press release announced the new organization, said Dudley “will
manage all aspects of the response to the Deepwater Horizon incident and the
oil and gas spill in the Gulf of Mexico, ensuring that BP fulfills its
promises to the people of the Gulf Coast and continues its work to restore the
It noted that its exploration and production group “will remain
accountable for all activities relating to killing the MC252 exploratory well
and containing the flow of oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico.”
In addition to working with federal, state and local officials on the
cleanup and remediation efforts, the new organization will “keep the public
informed” of the cleanup activities, implement the $20 billion escrow account the company committed to as part of the compensation program and “continue to evaluate the spill’s impact on the environment.”
In the the Today interview, Dudley was repeatedly asked whether the new
organization was meant to get Hayward “out of the picture,” related both to
the spill and, ultimately, as head of the company.
He responded by saying there was a need to “bed this down,” by making the
temporary structure with its rotating staffers a more permanent operation.
Pressed by the interviewer again as to whether Hayward’s days are
numbered and whether BP is “committed to him,” Dudley said: “that’s right,
–Robert DiNardo, email@example.com
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And this –
Slow-motion tragedy for sea life
June 23, 2010
In the aftermath of the BP oil leak, the wildlife haven Grand Isle is at the heart of the environmental catastrophe engulfing the US coast of Louisiana, writes Suzanne Goldenberg.
“The wholesale slaughter of dolphins, pelicans, hermit crabs and other marine life is only now becoming readily visible to humans. So too is the futility of the Obama administration’s response effort.”
Out on the water, it starts as a slight rainbow shimmer, then turns to wide orange streamers of oil, whipping through the waves. Later, on the beach, we witness a vast, Olympic-sized swimming pool of dark chocolatey syrup left behind at low tide, and thick dark patches of crude bubbling on the sand.
The smell of the oil on the beach is so strong it burns your nostrils, and leaves you feeling dizzy and headachey even after a few minutes away from it.
According to Alaska-based marine biologist Rick Steiner, my companion on a boat ride through the slick, this is the most volatile and toxic form of crude oil in the waters and lapping on to the beaches of Grand Isle, the area at the heart of the slowly unfolding environmental apocalypse that has engulfed Louisiana, and is now moving eastwards, threatening Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.
Fifty-three days after BP’s ruptured well began spewing crude oil from 5,000 feet (1,500 metres) below the sea, the wholesale slaughter of dolphins, pelicans, hermit crabs and other marine life is only now becoming readily visible to humans.
So too is the futility of the Obama administration’s response effort, with protective boom left to float uselessly at sea or – in the case of the Queen Bess Island pelican sanctuary that we visit – trapping the oil in vulnerable nesting grounds.
Steiner, 57, a veteran of America’s last oil spill disaster, the Exxon Valdez in 1989, says he is in the Gulf of Mexico “to bear witness”, and for days he has been taking to the beaches and the waters in a Greenpeace boat gathering evidence.
The first casualties on Steiner’s tour appear minutes after our boat leaves the marina and moves through Barataria Pass, prime feeding ground for bottlenose dolphins. Several appear, swimming, eating, even mating in waters criss-crossed by wide burnt-orange streamers of oil. All are at risk of absorbing toxins, from the original spill and from more than 1.2 million gallons (4.5 million litres) of chemicals dumped into the gulf to try to break up the slick, says Steiner.
“They get it in their eyes. They get it in the fish they eat and it is also possible when they come to the surface and open their blowhole to breathe that they are inhaling some of it,” he says.
The Greenpeace crew turns up the throttle and the boat pulls up to the orange-and-yellow protective boom around Queen Bess Island, which was intended as a haven for the brown pelican. These birds, until recently, were on the federal government’s list of endangered species and were doing OK – but now that recovery appears to have been abruptly reversed.
A dark tide line of oil encircles the island, and has crept into the marsh grasses, where the pelicans nest. Many, if not most, of the adult birds had patches of oil on their breast feathers. Nearly all are doomed, says Steiner — if not now, then at some point not too far in the future. “The risks in here to birds are not just acute mortality right here, right now,” he says. “There is mortality we won’t see for a month or two months, or even a year.”
He points out a pelican standing so still it looks like it’s been made out of a slab of chocolate, another frantically flapping its spread wings to try to shake off the oil, and then another manically pecking at the spots on its chest. “He could be a candidate for cleaning, and he may survive,” Steiner says. “He obviously won’t if he’s not cleaned.”
Rescue teams have plucked hundreds of birds from the muck. But stripping oil from the feathers of stricken birds is a slow and delicate operation, and there is no assurance of the birds’ survival. About a third of the rescued birds have died so far.
As we pull up to Queen Bess Island, two crew boats are at work shoring up the two lines of defence for the island: an outer ring of orange-and-yellow protective boom intended to push the oil back out to sea, as well as an inner ring of white absorbent material that is supposed to suck up any of the crude that gets through.
Since oil began lapping at the Louisiana coast, the government has set down 2.25 million feet (685,000 metres) of containment boom and 2.55 million feet (nearly 780,000 metres of absorbent material. But local sports fishermen on Grand Isle complain that response crews bungled the protection zone for Queen Bess because they only put a portion of the island behind the orange-and-yellow barrier boom. That turned the boom into traps that pushed even greater quantities of oil onshore. Steiner agrees: “I would say 70% or 80% of the booms are doing absolutely nothing at all.”
The efforts on the beaches seem equally futile. By day workers in white protective suits march along the sands of the state park on the eastern end of Grand Isle, trying to suck up the oil. But as the tide goes out there is only more oil to be found, and dozens of dead hermit crabs that have struggled to flee to shore.
Steiner says he has seen it all before, after the Exxon Valdez went aground in 1989, and then in other oil spills he has monitored around the world from Lebanon to Pakistan. There is, he says, a drearily familiar pattern. “Industry always habitually understates the size of a spill and impact as well as habitually overstates the effectiveness of the response.”
In the case of the Exxon Valdez, he says, the environmental impacts persisted for months or years after the tanker went aground. That catastrophe, which saw 11 million gallons (nearly 42 million litres) of crude dumped into the pristine waters of Alaska, occurred within the space of six hours.
This spill is much worse. BP’s well on the ocean floor has been spewing greater volumes of crude oil into the water since April 20. Even by the US administration’s most optimistic forecasts, it will keep gushing until August, and the clean-up could last well into the autumn.
“This is just the start. It is going to keep coming in even if they shut the damn thing off today,” says Steiner.
Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
Homepage image by International Bird Rescue Research Center
Relief well backup plans are part of Gulf of Mexico oil spill response
Published: Tuesday, June 22, 2010, 7:09 PM Updated: Tuesday, June 22, 2010, 7:33 PM
Although drilling a relief well is still considered the ultimate solution for stopping the oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico, BP and government officials are working on backup plans if the well fails, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Tuesday.
Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Tuesday.
Allen, who is the federal government’s point man for spill response, shared one such plan that officials are in the early stages of studying. That involves the possibility of sucking oil from the well through a pipeline that would feed to an inactive platform nearby. From that platform, the oil could either be produced or pumped back down into the ground.
Allen said the idea came from a meeting last week with Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.
“We’ve always said from the start that we’re working multiple options in parallel so we have other options to go to,” Salt said.
Allen said the parties are sending out letters requesting information from platform operators near the blown-out Macondo well to find out their production capabilities.
“It’s very possible that they could do something like that,” said Don Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association. But Briggs said he didn’t think pumping the oil into a depleted reservoir would be easy. “I have to say, because that is so much oil, to be able to pump that amount into a reservoir, I doubt that.”
But Allen cautioned that the first line of defense in the case of a failed relief well is the back up well being drilled nearby.
The first relief well had been drilled to nearly 16,000 feet by Tuesday. The back-up well is at about 10,000 feet. The wells need to reach 18,000 to be at a point where they can intersect with the damaged Macondo well.
There is a new website out of Oxford MS that is tracking property values, foreclosures and delinquencies in every county along the Gulf Coast. http://oilcrisis.collateralvision.com/blog.aspx
The information is a free public service. It is generated by the economists and software developers at FNC Inc., a mortgage software company founded by U of Mississippi professors.
Thankyou (my note)
(found here )
What others are writing about the Gulf oil spill: From ‘the Big Uneasy’ to D.C. fundraisers
Published: Wednesday, June 23, 2010, 4:14 PM Updated: Wednesday, June 23, 2010, 4:25 PM
New Orleans turns into the Big Uneasy after oil spill, says the Toronto Star.
Reuters is reporting that the United States will issue a more flexible oil drilling moratorium.
The Huffingpost Post carries a story that Rep. Joe Barton touts a defense of his BP comments, minutes after apologizing to the GOP for them.
The Washington Post reports on grass-roots efforts sprouting in the D.C. area to help Gulf oil spill victims.
My Note –
Wouldn’t that make an interesting study of perspectives and persuasion – to have a really big day by day study of the oil industry writing about this and everybody else writing about this – Yep, that would be nifty, especially after noting that the Petroleum CEOs and executives meeting in London thought it was all just an exaggerated media event without merit or appropriate to be of concern in any great measure.
I was just watching a couple people on the beach in Florida trying to pick up that oil with a little shovel and I’m thinking they are really going to need a bigger shovel – in fact a lot of bigger mechanical shovels all along the Gulf Coast in every state. (on CNN Wolf Blitzer show before the commercial.)
Thick pools of oil wash up along north Florida coast
Published: Wednesday, June 23, 2010, 3:17 PM Updated: Wednesday, June 23, 2010, 3:35 PM
Thick pools of oil from the huge Gulf oil spill washed up along miles of national park and Pensacola Beach shoreline Wednesday as health advisories against swimming and fishing in the once-pristine waters were extended for 33 miles east from the Alabama/Florida border.
Park rangers in the Gulf Islands National Seashore helped to rescue an oiled juvenile dolphin found beached in the sand. Bobbie Visnovske, a park ranger, said a family found the young female dolphin Wednesday morning. Wildlife officers carried the animal into shallow water for immediate resuscitation and later transported it to a rehabilitation center in Panama City about 100 miles to the east.
The beach looked like it had been paved with a ribbon of asphalt about 6 feet wide. The thick crude was unlike the matted tar balls that had washed up about two weeks earlier.
“It is very disappointing. It is not a pristine, white beach anymore. This used to be a place where you could come and forget about all your cares in the world,” said Nancy Berry, who fought back tears as she watched her two grandsons play in the sand far from the shore line.
Dozens of workers in protective clothing used shovels Wednesday to scoop up the oil and orange-tinged sand. There were a few sunbathers at the beach, but no one was in the water.
Tar balls stretch as far west as Panama City and heavier oil is predicted to wash ashore further east along the coast line in the coming days.
Gov. Charlie Crist toured Pensacola Wednesday morning. Crist said he has called for more skimmers and was disheartened so much oil had slipped through the 24-hour skimming operation that had been under way in the area for weeks.
The governor wants to call a special session of the Legislature as early as July to address tax relief and other spill-related issues. Crist said he has the support of Panhandle legislators, but legislative leaders in areas so far unaffected by the spill have been uncooperative.
Escambia County health officials warned beachgoers not to wade in oily water, not to touch the oil and not to fish in oily water.
“Young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and individuals with underlying respiratory conditions should avoid the area,” the health warning said.
The oil had a chemical stench as it baked in the afternoon heat.
BP Spill May Be Less Than Doomsayers Think: Tadeusz W. Patzek – BusinessWeek
My Note –
I didn’t read the article where Mr. Patzek is explaining that what we are seeing is not what we are seeing – however, has he seen the videos live streaming from the well at all?
What would cause Business Week to publish something like that based on delusion instead of reality?