1. BP looking to cut Clean Water Act fines by $10 billion
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier recently reaffirmed his ruling that BP was grossly negligent in the events leading up to and during the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Now BP is seeking to have a new, lower cap placed on the fines it could face come January. Under the Clean Water Act, BP could face fines of up to $4,300 per barrel of oil spilled during the 87-day fiasco. However, according to David Hammer for the Shreveport Times, BP wants Judge Barbier to cap the per-barrel fine at $3,000 before the Deepwater Horizon litigation moves forward in 2015. Read more.
2. What makes the new Hess-Chevron offshore rig so unique?
A unique spar platform is finally being put to use in the Gulf of Mexico, and that’s not even the most exciting part of the project. This spar platform was entirely constructed in the United States, and according to Jennifer Larino for the Times-Picayune, it employed 7,000 workers in the process. Why does this make the spar platform unique? Most offshore drilling rigs are constructed in Asian countries because of the difference in labor and material costs. But the spar platform was produced domestically, indicating further trends toward energy independence for the U.S. Read more.
3. Is fracking causing a schism in St. Tammany?
The fracking debate is beginning to cause rifts in St. Tammany Parish. Helis Oil & Gas Co.’s proposal to tap into the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale by drilling a well near Mandeville has sparked heated debate throughout St. Tammany. But that debate is starting to shake things up in the community. According to Kit Chatelain for the Times-Picayune, Abita Springs, a small town less than 10 miles from Mandeville, is withdrawing from the St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce as a result of the controversy. Read more.
4. TMS only one of 19 shale plays now unprofitable
Oil prices have dropped so low that 19 shale plays in the U.S. are no longer profitable. On that list are popular plays such as the Eaglebine, the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale (TMS), various Permian formations, and even parts of the Eagle Ford play. Crude prices have hit $75 per barrel, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimates this price is here to stay for another four months. Read more.
5. La. submits requests for oil spill penalty money
State officials are submitting four projects and one program to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council and hope at least a few will rise to the top to receive funding from a part of the BP oil spill penalty money. As part of the RESTORE Act, the council has control over a part of the funding that will come from penalties and fines resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. Read more.