Sunday, March 4, 2012

B.P. Settlement Will Get Them Past Oil Spill Disaster

When the April 2010 gulf oil spill occurred, many thought it would be the end of B.P. After all, spill related costs were projected as high as $200 billion! But those in the know suspected that this too would pass and the company would survive. LINK. Now, settlement appears to be a reality.

It is now projected that total costs will be around $50 billion assuming that the class-action suit is resolved. The settlement will require B.P. to pay $7.8 billion will likely win favor with our federal government, which controls access to oil reserves. This could end up being a huge benefit to B.P. But it won't be easy to forget the blowout of the Macondo well which destroyed the Deepwater Horizon rig and killed 11 workers. Two hundred million gallons of oil polluted the water and disrupted thousands of lives and businesses. The spill also killed wildlife and closed vast down areas of commercial fishing. However, the settlement will help tens of thousands of victims, including fishermen who lost work and cleanup workers who got sick. It is expected that the federal court in New Orleans will approve the settlement in order to keep things moving forward.

B.P. expects to pay the victims using the $9.5 billion dollars remaining in trust fund to pay claims of victims. The trust has already paid out $10.5 billion. The recent settlement does not conclude lawsuits with federal, state and local governments or resolve environmental damage. Those claims may take another $25 billion to fully resolve. But at this point, B.P. can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Update 3-10-12: Lawyers are ready to battle over legal fees! LINK


Anonymous said...

I think they are getting off too light!

Video Guy said...

"I think they are getting off too light!"

I agree considering that the entire event was avoidable had it not been for this corp trying to cut corners with safety... for profit.

I guess they will now just raise the allowable levels of toxins in the seafood we eat coming from the gulf to say things are alright. After all it will be 10-20 years before any cancers start to show up, and they will be hard to connect, as the villains of this disaster will have moved on to other ventures.

We need oil for our modern lifestyles, but we don't need to use so much of it if we utilize other energy sources like wind and solar.

Video Guy said...

Took some big hits from mother nature this week there in Indiana...I hope everyone form Indiana here at legal pub got through it and suffered no losses.

The scientist say these type of storms will become more frequent do to higher ocean temps. If you know people who lost their home due to this natural disaster, tell them to build an earth home next as these type of storms will have no effect on them. And since they maintain a average temp of 68 degrees year round on their own, one can also reduce the amount of energy used to heat and cool the home...saving energy, and reducing pollutants into the atmosphere.

Anonymous said...

50 billion ain't exactly light

Anonymous said...

Energy conservation and alternative energy sources are necessary for survival. Ignore destiny and those with foresight will thrive while you struggle to even survive.

Countries will rise and fall based upon their energy resources.

Anonymous said...

Sounds about right

Video Guy said...

(So, let's start with punitive damages.

I was stunned that there is no provision, as expected, for a punishment fee to by paid by BP for it's willful negligence. In the Exxon Valdez trial, a jury awarded us $5 billion in punitives - and BP's action, and the damage caused in the Gulf, is far, far worse.

BP now has to pay no more than proven damages. It's like telling a bank robber, "Hey, just put back the money in the vault and all's forgiven."

Here's just a couple of facts that should have been presented to a jury:

For example, the only reason six hundred miles of Gulf coastline has been slimed by oil was that BP failed to have emergency oil spill containment equipment ready to roll when the Deepwater Horizon blew out. BP had promised the equipment's readiness in writing and under oath.

And here's the sick, sick part. This is exactly the same thing BP did in the Exxon Valdez case. It was BP, not Exxon, that was responsible for stopping the spread of oil in Alaska in 1989. In Alaska, decades ago, BP told federal regulators it would have oil spill "boom" (the rubber that corrals the spreading stuff) ready to roll out if a tanker hit. When the Exxon Valdez struck Bligh Reef, BP's promised equipment wasn't there: BP had lied.

And in 2010, BP did it again. Instead of getting the oil contained in five hours as promised as a condition of drilling, it took five days to get the equipment in place (and that was done by the US Navy on orders of the President).

This was more than negligence: it was fraud, and by a repeat offender. Now BP is laughing all the way to the bank.)

Video Guy said...

(And there's more. BP mixed nitrogen into the cement which capped the well-head below the Deepwater Horizon. BP claimed to be shocked and horrified when the cement failed, releasing methane gas that blew apart the rig. BP accused the cement's seller, Halliburton, of hiding the fact that this "quick-set" cement can blow out in deep water.

But, in an investigation that took me to Central Asia, I discovered that BP knew the quick-set cement could fail - because it had failed already in an earlier blow-out which BP covered up with the help of an Asian dictatorship.

The lack of promised equipment, the prior blow-out -- it all could have, should have, come out in trial.

Think about it: BP knew the cement could fail but continued to use it to save money. Over time, the savings to BP of its life-threatening methods added up to billions of dollars worldwide. BP will get to keep that savings bought at the cost of eleven men's lives.

I have been to the Gulf and seen the damage -- and the oil that BP says is gone. Miles of it. As an economist who calculated damages for plaintiffs in the Exxon Valdez oil spill case, I can tell you right now that there is no way, no how, that the $7.8 billion BP says it will spend on this settlement will cover that damage, the lost incomes, homes, businesses and boats, let alone the lost lives -- from cancers, fetal deformities, miscarriages, and lung and skin diseases.

Two years ago, President Barack Obama forced BP to set aside at least $20 billion for the oil spill's victims. This week's settlement will add exactly ZERO to that fund. Indeed, BP is crowing that, adding in the sums already paid out, the company will still have spent less than the amount committed to the Obama fund.

So BP walks without the civil punishment that tort law and justice demand, grinning and ready to do it again: drill on the cheap with the price paid by its workers and the public.)

Anonymous said...

Total settlement was 50 billion. Not a piddley sum

Anonymous said...

When will someone finally stand up to this companies? If everyone drove a prius we would not need to import any oil.

Legal Pub said...

Update 3-10-12: Lawyers are ready to battle over legal fees!
Link to story is under the update on first page.