Follow the lastest BP Gulf Oil Spill news here, with updates throughout the day. A mishmash of pictures, news, videos, and resources.
July 18 updates
Oil Seeps Discovered at Well (Bloomberg Businessweek): U.S. tells BP to uncap well to prevent further damage. Expect a volatile day for BP shares tomorrow. From Thad Allen, head of the response team:
“Allen said a “seep” was found “a distance” from the well and anomalies had been observed at the well head, in a letter sent today to BP Chief Managing Director Bob Dudley that was posted on a government website about the spill.
July 15 updates
BP chokes off leak, now begins the wait (Yahoo/AP): “BP finally choked off the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday — 85 days and up to 184 million gallons after the crisis unfolded — then began a tense 48 hours of watching to see whether the capped well would hold or blow a new leak.”
From Gulf Oysters, A Domino Effect of Lives Touched (NYT): Looking at domino effects from the spill, from personal and environmental perspectives. Good read.
July 8 updates
BP says Gulf spill could be stopped this week (Washington Post): Let’s hope so. The question for BP and Gulf residents is this: ultimately how much damage will be done by the oil, gas, and dispersants already released into the Gulf? Nobody knows, with guesses ranging from barely-noticeable to apocalyptic.
Florida Outlines Spill Response (Gov Monitor): A nice overview of Gulf currents, oil footprints, and beach soilings.
July 7 updates
No sovereign relief for BP (WSJ): Interesting developments in BP’s quest for cash: “The logic is fuzzy. BP says it won’t issue new equity to help pay for clean-up costs in the Gulf. If so, any investment by a sovereign fund would not provide new capital to shore up BP’s finances.“
Abu Dhabi: Once Burned by Citi, Twice Shy with BP? (WSJ): Abu Dhabi invested $7.5b in Citigroup with a disastrous ending. Will they do it again? “Its like deja vu all over again. One of the world’s biggest multinational companies flounders amid dire predictions that it could go bust or be nationalized, and a deep-pocketed white knight from the Middle East stands at the ready.“
June 25 updates
BP Plunges to 14-year Low on Spill Costs, Storms (Business Week): Covers hurricane concerns, stock drop.
No Gulf seafood, no po-boys; owner shuts La. cafe (AP): Detailing the closure of a seafood cafe in Louisiana, due to rising seafood costs
BP says Gulf relief well on target for mid-August (AP) The first relief well could attempt a “bottom kill” procedure by mid-August.
June 22 updates
Anadarko Hopes Blame Is Pinned on BP (NYT): “Rival oilmen have every reason to cast BP as a rogue.”
Record 26k barrels captured yesterday (WSJ) 16k barrels recovered, 10k flared.
Latest NASA satellite image of the spill:
June 20 updates
Hurricanes and the Spill: NOAA Fact Sheet (PDF) (NOAA.gov) Scientists discuss how hurricanes could effect the BP oil spill, in both positive and negative ways.
Slower growth, no dividend: BP is no buy (Forbes) Interesting take from Forbes reporter Anita Raghavan.
June 19 updates
Gulf oil spill: a hole in the earth (Guardian) Outlines mistakes made and the possible environmental damage, based on what we know from previous spills.
The oil disaster is about human, not system, failure (WSJ editorial by a O&G exec): Terry Barr, an O&G insider: “This well failed its casing integrity test and nothing was done…”
June 18 updates
BP’s Quest for Time (EAC): “The Dwarves dug too greedily and too deep. You know what they awoke in the darkness of Khazad-dum…”
Embattled BP Chief Hayward Taking Back-Seat in Gulf Response (ABC News): “Embattled energy giant BP appears to be shuffling CEO Tony Hayward out of the spotlight a day after the British native roiled Congress with what critics called “evasive” testimony…”
June 17 updates
Anderson Cooper Becomes Loud Voice for Gulf Residents (NYT): He recently caught flack for mentioning an estimate of 70,000 BPD, with everyone dismissing his claims. Now that the upper-limit has been raised to 60,000.
Stunning photos of the Horizon rig sinking from National Geographic: Here’s one from their gallery. Gives some idea of just how big these rigs are:
BP supervisor fired for raising safety concerns (Huffington Post) The case of Ken Abbott, a project control supervisor on BP’s Atlantis rig. He was fired shortly after raising safety concerns.
Sea creatures flee oil spill, gather near shore (AP): Duke marine biologist Larry Crowder, “A parallel would be: Why are the wildlife running to the edge of a forest on fire? There will be a lot of fish, sharks, turtles trying to get out of this water they detect is not suitable.”
Oil spill may cost BP far more than $20 billion (LA Times): “One of the problems is that we don’t even know if $20 billion will be enough. This is all on an unprecedented scale”
June 16 updates
BP and Obama Tentatively Agree on $20b Oil Spill Fund (NYT): Headlines will say an agreement has been reached. That’s not true yet. There will be fierce arguments over the details, and I don’t expect them to be settled any time soon. At some point, if people are not getting the compensation they need, things will come to a head.
Obama hammers BP in Oval Office speech (Washington Post): “We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused”.
June 15 updates
Matt Simmons says Nuke is Only Way to Cap Oil Leak (Bloomberg TV): Here’s to hoping he’s wrong…
This short documentary shows how Russians sealed a massively out-of-control natural gas well using a small atom-bomb in 1966. Pretty obvious propoganda, but interesting nonetheless:
Obama: ‘We will make BP pay’ (Daily Finance, June 15) Obama talks tough to BP in his national address. Historical note: he also talked tough to banks in his inagural address. He proceeded to follow the Rubinesque school of economics, and shunned Paul Volcker until his poll numbers plummeted. Expect public reaction to be the key driver going forward.
Alternative Worst-Case for BP: 10m barrels and $560b in damages (me, here on June 15): My analysis here uses current high-end barrel-per-day and total costs based on the Exxon Valdez to arrive at rough worst-case scenarios.
Gulf Oil Spill to Spur Clean Energy Transition (Green Chip Stocks, June 15) Nick Hodge says that the BP spill, along with other recent events, “are speeding up this transition in a way not seen before”.
U.S. Adds Measures to Check Gulf Seafood (WSJ, June 15) The U.S. government is adding measures to protect consumers from eating any seafood tainted by the oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, including moving inspections onto docks, targeting additional sampling of vulnerable products and creating a protocol to reopen fishing areas.
Efforts to Repel Gulf Oil Spill Are Described as Chaotic (NYT, June 14): Campbell Robertson of the NYT discusses problems on the ground, lack of adequate response tools in place prior to the disaster. My take: Expect tomorrow to be another volatile day for BP shares, with the recent flood of news and President Obama scheduled to address the nation at 8:00 pm EST (coincides with close of after-hours trading in U.S.).
Exxon Throws BP Under Bus, Defends Safe Offshore Drilling (Exxon Mobil, June 14) Exxon Mobil has launched new blog, presumably to distance selves from BP and defend the overall offshore drilling industry. Excerpt from a post: “this incident represents a dramatic departure from the industry norm in deepwater drilling”.
BP Remote-Operated Vehicle (ROV) shows oil leaking from sea floor (June 13):
The leak starts off as a trickle, but keep watching. It appears that the fissure spreads and there are significant clouds of oil/gas visible.
BP made series of “shortcuts” on oil well, House democrats say (Washington Post, June 14): “The letter lays out five decisions BP took ‘to speed finishing the well,’ which was running ‘significantly behind schedule,’ the lawmakers say. ‘In effect, it appears that BP repeatedly chose risky procedures in order to reduce costs and save time and made minimal efforts to contain the added risk,’ they said.”
South Florida: We’re on our own if oil comes (Palm Beach Post, June 14): Pressure on BP to hand off compensation operations to an independent party grows.
Chevron Distances Its Ways from BP’s (WSJ, June 14): “This was a preventable disaster” says John Watson, Chairman and CEO of Chevron (NYSE: CVX). Chevron has the largest offshore drilling operations in the gulf, and the moratorium could adversely affect their business. Prepare for a nasty battle this week as the blame-game escalates.
Experts: Spill may not be capped till December (Guardian, June 13): “Saleri, who dealt personally with four blowouts during a career with Saudi Aramco and Chevron, said the BP fire and spill was the worst he had seen. He believes it may cause more damage than the Ixtoc I blowout 30 years ago, which is regarded as the most damaging of its kind.”
BP May Lose Oil Leases, Contracts as Punishment for Gulf Spill (Bloomberg Businessweek, June 13): “BP Plc may lose control of its U.S. oil and natural gas wells and be barred from doing business with the federal government as punishment for the worst oil spill in U.S. history, industry and regulatory analysts said.”
Obama to Call for Escrow Account and Independent Panel for BP Claims (Politico, June 13): It’ll be interesting to see how BP shares respond on Monday.
Gulf businesses say compensation from BP too slow (USA Today, June 12): Profiles businesses directly affected by the spill, gives a good overview of the situation. Excerpt: “Instead of tending to customers, the owner of the 68-room Best Western hotel in Navarre, Fla., is tending to BP claims adjusters”.
U.S. Gives BP 48 Hours to Boost Containment (Bloomberg, June 12): American politicians continue to step-up the pressure on BP. Excerpt from the article: “BP plans to almost triple its capacity to capture oil from its leaking well to as much as 50,000 barrels a day by mid-July, the Coast Guard said yesterday.
Lessons learned from Exxon Valdez (Miami Herald, June 12): Expert Rick Steiner, “There’s really no easy way to rehabilitate oiled wildlife, no easy way to restore an oil-injured ecosystem and there’s certainly no easy way to make lives whole that were turned upside down by these things. Those are lessons we learned the hard way in Alaska and they’re lessons that are being learned here, very poignantly.”
Florida skips offshore oil-binge but still pays (New York Times, June 12): Neighbor Louisiana earns $65 billion per year from the oil and gas industry. Florida, not wanting to risk their tourism industry, played it safe. But they may end up as the biggest loser, despite their conservative strategy. Expect Florida to demand a piece of Lousiana’s revenue to assist in cleanup efforts if BP can’t or won’t cough it up.
Obama meets with Cameron, says BP “must meet economic claims” (Reuters, June 12): On Saturday President Obama had a 30-minute call with UK Prime Minister David Cameron, insisting BP pay all compensation claims, including ones from workers idled by the drilling moratorium.
Feds tell BP to get more aggressive with capture plans (CNN, June 12): “Federal authorities have ordered BP to get more aggressive with its plans to recover thousands of barrels of oil spewing from a broken well into the Gulf of Mexico, according to a letter made public Saturday.”
BP’s 8 Stupidest Mistakes (The Week, June 11): Self-explanatory.
Oil Spill Trajectory Simulation, 4 Months Out (EAC, June 11): “The video below shows results from a 4-month computer simulation, showing a path that could take the oil spill all the way to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and far out into the Atlantic.”
Gulf Real Estate May Lose $4.3 Billion in Value Due to Oil Spill (Bloomberg, June 11): Costar… made its forecast for property prices assuming a 10 percent loss based on previous disasters, such as oil spills, hurricanes and the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident in Pennsylvania, Miller said.”
Scenes from the Gulf of Mexico (Boston.com, June 11): Some of the best photojournalism we’ve seen so far, but also among the most troubling. It’s focused on wildlife, so don’t click this one if you are disturbed by images of oil-soaked animals.
NASA Satellite Images of the Gulf Oil Spill: (Green Chip Stocks, June 11th): Some of the best aerial imagery we have of the spill, and a coast-guard flyover video with some large-scale shots of oil ribbons (looks like it was shot with a camera-phone, or lower quality video of some sort.
Exxon Still Owes $92 Million for Valdez Spill (Seattle PI, June 10): Food for thought when it comes to the upcoming legal battle, which is destined to be larger than Exxon’s 1989 tanker spill.
U.S. initially refused Dutch oil skimmers, then changed their minds 7 weeks later (Houston Chronicle, June 9): This story has been around for a while, but more disturbing details are emerging. Three days after the Horizon explosion, the dutch government offered BP and Obama administration officials specialized skimming equipment capable of removing 20,000 tons of oil per day. It’s now 7 weeks later, and those in charge of the cleanup are changing their tune.
Will BP Go Bust?: One of my articles posted here on June 1, exploring the possibility of a BP bankruptcy.
- Oil Spill Tracker – Interactive tool to track the oil spill
- Drilling Mud 101 – NYT article explains how “drilling mud”, which has become a new (and possibly poorly understood) household word, works.
- Google’s Oil Spill Response Page – Download Google Earth files of the spill, view trajectory forecasts, browse user-uploaded videos, and more.
- Oil Spill Fixes – Interactive Timeline from the New York Times
- NOAA Interactive Coastal Ecosystem Map – Be sure to click the ridiculous “disable disclaimer” button in the bottom-left of the left sidebar. They don’t make it easy, do they? But I guess there are all sorts of political hoops to get through. So let’s take a second to appreciate whoever took the time to build this and push it through to the web, despite the potential fallout if it makes anyone look bad.
Must-watch video – Marine Biologist Rick Steiner Discussing Long-Term Damage & Dispersant Use (Time Magazine, June 11).
Live BP Oil Spill Feed
Images (updated daily):
NASA Satellite Image. Description: “On June 12, 2010, oil from the still-leaking Deepwater Horizon well was particularly visible across the northern Gulf of Mexico when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image at 1:55 p.m. Central Daylight Time. Oil appears to have reached beaches and barrier islands in Alabama and the western Panhandle of Florida. Close to the location of the well, the oil appears gray, but to the northeast, it is bright silver. The increased brightness does not necessarily mean the oil is thicker or more concentrated there; it may simply be that the oil is located in the sunglint region of the image—the spot where the Sun’s reflection would appear if the water surface was as perfectly smooth as a mirror.”
A crude oil wave washes up on the Alabama Shores on Saturday, June 12 (credit: AP)