Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: Headlines Overnight

Oil Starts Washing Ashore on Gulf Coast

image BY MARGARET TALEV AND DAVID LIGHTMAN – McClatchy News Service

WASHINGTON — With crude oil washing up Thursday night on the Gulf Coast, President Barack Obama stepped up federal efforts to help clean up the spill in the Gulf of Mexico, putting the Department of Defense at the ready and dispatching three Cabinet officers to the scene.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said Thursday that he was filing legislation to block expanded drilling. A bipartisan group of Florida federal and state lawmakers is stepping up its opposition to plans to bring oil rigs within 125 miles of Florida’s gulf coastline, and other coastal state lawmakers are voicing second thoughts.

Growing Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico Could Cost Insurers $1.5 Billion

The growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, caused by a leaking BP Plc well, may cost the insurance industry as much as $1.5 billion in claims, according to Transatlantic Holdings Inc.

Transatlantic, the reinsurer divested by American International Group Inc., said its own costs from the spill may be less than $15 million, according to the company’s earnings conference call held earlier today. PartnerRe Ltd., the reinsurer that purchased Paris Re Holdings Ltd., faces claims of $60 million to $70 million, it said in a statement today.

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Coast Guard Capt. Joseph Paradis (R), commanding officer of Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit in Morgan City, Louisiana, USA, briefs Tony Hayward, chief executive of British Petroleum, on the Deepwater Horizon incident on 28 April 2010. Staging areas are being set up along the Gulf Coast to actively identify, target and protect environmentally and economically sensitive areas. Credit: EPA/MARC MORRISON

Gulf Oil Spill: Safety Fete Postponed

LA Times – It was to be a celebration, but a federal agency in charge of offshore drilling has postponed next week’s annual luncheon in Houston, which was to extol the safety record of offshore oil drilling.

A new posting on the website of the U.S. Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service, or MMS, noted that the agency is busy and the unfolding tragedy that has cost lives and oil might conflict with the May 3 luncheon.

“The ongoing situation with the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling accident has caused the MMS to dedicate considerable resources to the successful resolution of this event, which will conflict with holding this ceremony next week,” the posting said.

imageA high volume skimming system skimmed oil from the Gulf of Mexico near Venice, La. USCG, Petty Officer 2nd Class Prentice Danner, via Associated Press

Oilfield Equipment Mfgr Cameron Plunges on Concern Over Role in Rig Blast

April 29 (Bloomberg Business Week) — Cameron International Corp., the second-largest U.S. maker of oilfield equipment, had its biggest decline since 2008 in New York trading on concern over possible liability for a Gulf of Mexico rig explosion and oil spill.

Cameron dropped $5.77, or 13 percent, to $38.70 as of the 4 p.m. close of the New York Stock Exchange and traded as low as $34.65. The Houston-based company said yesterday that it provided so-called blowout preventers for Transocean Ltd.’s Deepwater Horizon rig, which caught fire and sank after an explosion last week.

Oil Spill’s Blow to BP’s Image May Eclipse Costs

imageHAMMOND, La. / NY TimesBP says that the offshore drilling accident that is spewing thousands of barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico could cost the company several hundred million dollars.

Nobody really knows whether the London-based oil giant is being too conservative about the cost for the April 20 accident, which some experts say could end up as the biggest oil spill in history. The 1989 grounding of the Exxon Valdez off Alaska, for example, cost Exxon Mobil more than $4.3 billion, including compensatory payments, cleanup costs, settlements and fines.

Regardless of the out-of-pocket costs, the long-term damage to BP’s reputation — and possibly, its future prospects for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico — is likely to be far higher, according to industry analysts.

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Whistleblower Accuses BP Over Rig Documents

A contract worker at BP has raised safety concerns after accusing it of failing to keep key documents for its Atlantis rig

The Guardian/UKBP is being investigated by US authorities over claims from a whistleblower that the oil company broke the law by not keeping key documents relating to a giant deepwater production platform in the Gulf of Mexico, the Guardian has learned.

The documents for the huge Atlantis platform act as an “operator’s manual”, and a complete up-to-date set of records is vital to shut down the platform properly in case of an emergency.

BP said it was co-operating fully with the investigation and denies the allegations.

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A view of the oil slick from the Nasa Earth Observatory, captured using the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) on Nasa’s Aqua satellite. Photograph: NASA/AFP/Getty Images