BP Co-Owns Gulf Well That Got Deepwater Permit

Deepwater HorizonEarlier today I accused Interior Secretary Ken Salazar of a “cynical” approach to issuing deepwater drilling permits for the Gulf of Mexico. I did not realize how right I was. According to Kristen Hays of Reuters:

BP Plc, whose Macondo well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history last year, co-owns the well that was granted the first deepwater drilling permit since the disaster.

BP is Noble Energy Inc’s partner in the well, holding a 46.5 percent interest, BP said.

Noble operates the Santiago well that received a permit from U.S. regulators on Monday to resume drilling in the Mississippi Canyon area of the Gulf, about 70 miles (110 km) south of the Louisiana coast.

I pointed out that the moratorium was a policy response by officials like Salazar who were hostile to deepwater drilling even before the BP disaster. His department’s …

BP Oil Spill Commission Chief Counsel Blames BP Instead of Entire Industry

Deepwater HorizonOn Thursday, Fred Bartlit, Chief Counsel of the BP Oil Spill Commission, issued a report in which he put blame squarely on BP for the disaster, including a failure to adequately supervise its Halliburton and Transocean subcontractors.

The seven-member Commission, appointed by President Obama before the well had even been capped, issued its “final” report on January 11. Although it cited many of the same BP-specific problems detailed by Bartlit, it implicated the entire oil and gas exploration and production industry, and called for “systemic reforms.”

The Commission’s membership included prominent environmentalists who opposed offshore drilling even before the Deepwater Horizon disaster, such as Frances G. Beinecke, the president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. By blaming the entire industry, it reinforced flawed policy responses, like the Gulf-wide moratorium on drilling.

As Co-Chair William K. Reilly claimed:

Our investigation shows that a series of specific and preventable human and engineering

CNBC: Flaherty Rips Congressional Calls to End BP Dividend

Today I discussed the increasing pressure on BP to suspend its dividend with Matt Miller of Wealth-X, along with CNBC co-hosts Amada Drury and Larry Kudlow. Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) has organized a letter signed by 50 members of Congress demanding such a suspension. Here’s a transcript:

Amanda (Mandy) Drury: Well, BP is of course facing a lot of heat about its dividend. Lawmakers are saying the oil giant should halt its payments to shareholders until it stops the leak and has a clear idea about the total costs for the spill. So, should BP be keeping its dividend or should it suspend it? Let’s ask Peter Flaherty from the National Legal and Policy Center and Matt Miller, chief research officer at Wealth-X and also former Forbes editor. Gentlemen, thanks for your time. Peter, why do you say, keep it?

Peter Flaherty: Having these Congressmen get involved strikes …

Beyond Pathetic

BP logoIt’s revealing that the “greenest” of the big international oil companies is now responsible for one of the worst ecological disasters in history. Maybe BP should have concentrated on its core mission of efficiently and safely producing oil instead of trying to make us believe that BP stands for “Beyond Petroleum.”

Most big companies zealously guard their brand names. British Petroleum seems embarrassed by theirs. Even as the Deepwater Horizon gushes into its 42nd day, the BP website proclaims:

Our brand is summed up by the phrase ‘beyond petroleum’. BP recognises that meeting the energy challenges of today and tomorrow requires both traditional hydrocarbons and a growing range of alternatives. We are at the forefront of delivering diverse, material and real solutions to meet the world’s needs for more and secure, cleaner and affordable energy.

The ubiquitous and annoying Beyond Petroleum TV ads always feature windmills, a tiny corner of …