Gulf Oil Leases to Continue Despite Unanswered BP Questions
This past weekend came word that the Interior Department is moving ahead with its first gas and oil leases off the Gulf Coast since the BP oil disaster of April 2010. The Washington Post reports that the new leases will commence in December and will include more than 20 million acres in the western region of the Gulf:
The lease sale is part of a gradual return by the Obama administration to policies it was pursuing before BP's Macondo well blew out and spilled nearly 5 million barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. Recently, the Interior Department also gave an approval that moved Shell Oil one step closer to drilling next year in the Chukchi Sea off northwestern Alaska. Last week there were 27 rigs operating in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, according to the department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. Thirty-three rigs were operating when the Deepwater Horizon accident occurred on April 20, 2010.
Meanwhile, evidence continues to surface about BP's less-than-honest conduct after the Deepwater Horizon explosion. The Justice Department continues its investigation:
Documents and interviews also indicate that BP, using reservoir data, computer modeling and imagery of the leaking pipe, may have had the ability to calculate a far more accurate estimate of the well's flow rate early on in the spill than it provided to the government. The company either never fully ran those calculations or their results were not disclosed to federal responders.
"There was no lack of highly-coordinated work going on on that topic right from the beginning," said an oil industry consultant directly involved in the effort to stop the leak, who requested anonymity because he may be called to testify in criminal and civil litigation related to the spill. "If all of those calculations were run, the flow rate could be fairly accurately predicted."
-- Brian Foley