BP Criminal Liability Working Thread

Jason Leopold and I have both been going head on at the DOJ and Obama Administration over the issue of criminal treatment for BP and its actions in causing the Gulf disaster; see: here, here, here and here. One of the thoughts has regarded the DOJ’s ability to leverage one or both of the Federal criminal probation matters BP is currently operating under for past crimes.

One case was for the Alaska spill and BP was placed on criminal probation for three years starting in December 2007. The other case was a felony plea resulting from the Texas City Refinery explosion. Here is the plea agreement from the Texas City Refinery case and here is the concurrent statement of facts in support thereof.

The key to unlocking where we stand on this is understanding the exact relationship, and how clearly defined it is, between the parent company “BP Plc.”, the Texas City criminal defendant entity “BP Products North America Inc.” and the Alaska criminal defendant entity “BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. Also, what exact names are on the permits and leases for the Macondo well project? How do all these fit together and can we pierce these alter egos and reasonably argue that the parent entity BP Plc. is legally, including criminally, liable for all?

So this is a crowdsourcing game for one and all that are interested in helping. If we can dissect this bull manure for the cute liability dodge sham it is, maybe we can gain some traction. Put any thoughts, links, cites and results of your work in the comments. Many of you are a lot better at drilling into corporate entities than I am, so thanks for the help!

196 replies
  1. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Okay, does anyone have a list of necessary information?

    Also, paging Rayne!! And paging JohnLopresti!

  2. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Suggestion: could you place a link on the sidebar, perhaps down below Marcy’s list of TIMELINE links?

    That would make it simpler to get back to the page, if it’s ongoing.
    Which, IMVHO, it will be.

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      Oh, gawd. You don’t think Marcy’s given him the key to that drawer too, do you?!

      • bmaz says:

        Oh, I could do that; problem is even if I put it in the sidebar like that, comments automatically turn off after three days or so. So this thread will be active for that long; if you all find things after that, just post it in the closest active thread you see and we will find it.

  3. Hmmm says:

    So you’ll need articles of incorporation for all three, I assume. Do we know in which state to look? Do oilco’s do the usual Maryland route, or do they have their own nefarious reasons to incorporate in some other particular state? I imagine Texas would be exceptionally pliant for them, for example.

  4. JasonLeopold says:

    Late to the discussion…Thanks for starting this thread bmaz!

    According to Mary Frances Barnes, BP’s probation manager in Alaska, BP Exploration Alaska is the entity on probation there and, as you know, there is currently another criminal investigation currently taking place there as a a result of last November’s oil spill. That investigation is being lead by the FBI and the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division to determine if BP violated probation under it’s 2007 plea agreement. If the probe concludes that they did then it will affect BP Alaska but could also lead to debarment for the company as a whole.

    In Texas City, OSHA slapped BP with record fines last October for failing to implement all of the safety measures that the parent company agreed to. There is also an investigation currently taking place on that one to determine if the refinery division violated probation.

    Also, one thing that was agreed upon in all of these cases when the govt settled with BP, the parent company, in 2007 was that the parent company itself had to implement improved safety and maintenance measures not just in Alaska and Texas but companywide.

    So according to some people who worked on both cases, an argument could be made that the same corporate culture, i.e. cutting back on safety and maintenance, was still in effect and is directly linked to the Gulf and possibly a case could be made that the disaster in the Gulf violated the probation. As bmaz said in previous threads, someone would need to make that argument.

    • bmaz says:

      Also, one thing that was agreed upon in all of these cases when the govt settled with BP, the parent company, in 2007 was that the parent company itself had to implement improved safety and maintenance measures not just in Alaska and Texas but companywide.

      How was this incorporated and memorialized in the agreements? What is/are the operative language and provisions? That could/would be key.

      • JasonLeopold says:

        I contacted BP’s debarment counsel Jeanne Pascal regarding the 27-page compliance agreement she worked on to find out if it was in fact for BP, the parent company. Will try to find some other info while I wait to hear back from her.

  5. R.H. Green says:

    DWBartoo @ 24 of the top-hat-n-tails thread lists BP Explorations and Productions,Inc. as the entity that applied for the exploration permit; his comment also cites other data that may of use in location the appropriate “defendants”.

  6. sojourner says:

    BMAZ, in response to your question in the last thread in response to my comments, it is entirely possible that BP used an alter ego to bid on the lease. With that said, though, I know it used to be that if a lease was assigned to another entity, approval was required by MMS. I say USED TO BE because there is no telling what went on during the Bush Administration.

    Oil and gas leasing is a very secretive business, and particularly in the OCS.

    However, the lease itself should be a matter of public record and available from the MMS. Now, if it comes back that they have misplaced it, or the record has been wiped clean, well… ;-)

    Someone in the prior thread commented about BP paying royalties on the oil and gas coming out of this blowout. Again, things may have changed, but standard leases usually use the phrase “produced, sold and saved” meaning content lost in a blowout is usually not calculated for royalties.

    I would love to see that lease…

    • sojourner says:

      In addition to my comment above, it is often standard practice for some smaller entity to do the leasing on behalf of a larger company in an effort to keep the larger company’s name out of the picture. For one thing, it tends to drive up lease prices. The smaller entity will do the leasing and eventually assign the lease to the company that will actually drill.

      I used to be involved in acquiring State of Louisiana leases for other companies, and I have to assume that the practice continues even in deeper federal waters.

  7. JasonLeopold says:

    OK. here’s some info. Check out this link: http://www.gomr.mms.gov/homepg/fastfacts/war/war.asp?-150975

    It’s definitely MC 252 and lease number G32306. So maybe we can trace some info from that.

    But notice the operator name: BP Exploration & Production. I may very well be wrong, but I thought there was something on the Texas Case that had the same name.

    I’m wondering if this can also be a violation of their Alaska probation because it’s also part of the exploration group

    • bmaz says:

      Right, but – at least on the case pleadings – that is BP Exploration (Alaska). Are they separate entities?

      I simply cannot believe that BP really has these alter egos truly independent and isolated from the parent; if they did they would have a command and control problem and that does not comport with how they do business. But if they don’t, then I think it is a lot easier to make the argument that are all in fact simply BP for purposes of liability, even criminal liability.

      • JasonLeopold says:

        Good point. Doug Suttles was head of BP Alaska and is now COO of BP global exploration and production, which also includes overseeing Alaska operations. That’s part of the parent.

        Also, BPXA is a wholly owned subsidiary of BP America. That would not make it truly independent I don’t believe.

  8. fatster says:

    MMS pretty much made the Gulf of Mexico the number one target for oil companies.

    See “Table 1. Anticipated Production”, p. 10.

    In “Environmental and Social Costs” is this: “This approach cannot and does not try to measure the effects of any individual spill, nor does it take into account the unlikely event of a catastrophic spill of unprecedented proportions.” p. 12

    Instead, they reached a happy middle ground: “If OCS oil and, to a lessor extent, natural gas are not produced, imports of foreign oil will increase substantially. Most of this oil would be imported by tanker, entailing risks of oil spills and environmental costs. Subtracting the environmental costs associated with these increased imports from the environmental costs associated with OCS production leaves an estimate of the net environmental and social costs associated with OCS activities.” p. 13

    Their formulas are a hoot, and the “Table 3. Program Area Net Benefits” has some eye-popping “Nets”, expressed in billions of dollars p. 17


    OK, now to try to stay within the assignment by bmaz.

  9. JasonLeopold says:

    Here’s BP’s statement after the settlement was announced on the Alaska and Texas incidents and the deferred prosecution agreement on the manipulation of the propane market:

    This is what they said in the statement, although the company does not indicate that this is directly related to the plea agreement:

    BP America is in the midst of a comprehensive effort to improve its safety culture and to strengthen and standardize process safety and risk management programs at all BP-operated facilities

  10. fatster says:

    “Before January 1999 the company was registered as the British Petroleum Company PLC. In January 1999 following a merger the company took on the Amoco name [27]. They retained the name BP Amoco, until April 2000 [28] The transition to the BP PLC name was managed by BPs advertising agency: Ogilvy & Mather and PR Consultants: Ogilvy PR. The change of name culminated in BPs new logo and re-branding, in the first quarter of 2001 [29].

    .. .

    “The company’s recent history has been dominated by a number of mergers. BP already held a 55% stake in the US Standard Oil Company and in 1987 successfully acquired the remaining 45% and formed the company BP America [39]. 1987 also saw BP acquire Britoil the North Sea exploration company [40].

    “On August 11 1998 BP and Amoco: the American Oil Co. Established in 1910 [41], announced that they had agreed the world’s largest-ever industrial merger [42].

    On April 7th 1999 BP announced that it would buy from Enron the 50 per cent stake it did not already own in the solar electric company Solarex, the company would be called BP Solarex [43]. . . ..Also in recent years BP has combined its operations with Burmah-Castrol, well known for its Castrol branded lubricants [45] and ARCO, whose petrol is on sale across a large part of the United States [46]. ”


  11. fatster says:

    The BP-AMOCO Plan of Merger.

    “This AGREEMENT AND PLAN OF MERGER, dated as of
    August 11, 1998 (this “Agreement”), among THE BRITISH PETROLEUM
    COMPANY p.l.c. (“BP”), an English public limited company, AMOCO
    CORPORATION, an Indiana corporation (“Amoco”), and EAGLE
    HOLDINGS, INC., an Indiana corporation and a direct, wholly owned
    subsidiary of BP (“Merger Sub” and, together with Amoco, the
    “Constituent Corporations”); ”


  12. sojourner says:

    Jason — great work at finding those documents! Initially, you have this — BP was awarded Mississippi Canyon Block 252 (roughly 9 square miles) for $5903.37 per acre, plus a bonus payment to MMS for $34 million!! If you look at some of the other bids, they had to be pretty darned certain something was there…

    On the questionable side, your link at http://www.gomr.mms.gov/homepg/fastfacts/war/war.asp?-150975 is curious. BP was drilling away during that particular time, yet is reporting little or no activity. I wonder if MMS allows them to keep their information off of the reports. On the other hand, if you can’t trust the government to keep it secret, well — who can you trust??

    Seriously, that looks like a weekly drilling and operations status report, but they are not reporting anything…

    • JasonLeopold says:

      bonus payment to MMS! Wonder how much some of those individual regulators made off with. Wow!

      Interesting about the other document. I have not looked at it closely. I’ll take a peek at it now. Could it be that they keep it secret for market purposes?

      • sojourner says:

        The so-called “bonus” payments are pretty much standard practice as an enticement to sign a lease.

        The document here has some pretty interesting information about BP’s plans for that particular lease.

        Doing a quick scan, I find paragraph 7.1 of particular interest regarding BP’s ability to respond to a worst case scenario. I particularly like the statement that “I hereby certify that BP Exploration and Production has the capability to respond, to the maximum extent practicable, to a worst-case discharge, or a substantial threat of a discharge, resulting from the activities proposed in our Exploration Plan.”

        Paragraph 9.1 regarding Stipulation 3 should really raise some eyebrows! Essentially, it states that MC Block 252 is located within the Eglin Air Force Base water test area, and the BP must coordinate activities with it. I think that is where the restrictions on communications and reporting come in.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          …I find paragraph 7.1 of particular interest regarding BP’s ability to respond to a worst case scenario. I particularly like the statement that “I hereby certify that BP Exploration and Production has the capability to respond, to the maximum extent practicable, to a worst-case discharge, or a substantial threat of a discharge, resulting from the activities proposed in our Exploration Plan.”

          Paragraph 9.1 regarding Stipulation 3 should really raise some eyebrows! Essentially, it states that MC Block 252 is located within the Eglin Air Force Base water test area, and the BP must coordinate activities with it. I think that is where the restrictions on communications and reporting come in.

          Checked in to see whether there were any new comments on this thread.

          Absolutely brilliant.
          I’m sitting here with a huge, shit-eating grin just amazed.

          • 1970cs says:

            Given the size and scope of BP’s mess, limiting this to U.S. courts and lawsuits may be ignoring another possibility.

            The oil(BP’s) in the Gulf is the greatest threat to national security this country has ever faced on it’s own shores. Security types have been waving the terrorism flag for a while now trying to scare the crap out of people.

            Oil production and transport is one of the big tools they have trumpeted loudly.

            Since this oil in the Gulf is a threat to the national security, could an Executive Order or National Security Directive be used against BP, similar to war reparations?

            Where is the line between willful negligence causing a disaster of catastrophic proportions and the damage incurred by terrorism?

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              I don’t know what the legal line is for negligence and criminal conduct, but it seems likely that this could reach the ‘crimes against humanity’ level.

              Back on a prior thread, alabama left a comment that intrigues:

              BP’s various disasters (in Texas, in Alaska) happened under the “leadership” of John Browne, the guy who invented “Beyond Petroleum”–just when Bush was taking us to war against Hussein’s WMD…

              I wouldn’t be surprised if Obama appointed James Baker to take charge of this particular calamity: Baker headed up a Committee in 2007 charged with reporting on BP’s safety record, and produced a scathing report (he knows a thing or two about oil).

              If alabama comes around, any additional info or sources would be appreciated. Anyone else know about this…?

        • JasonLeopold says:

          Nice find!!

          Elgin Air Force Base! I wonder if that could possibly be connected in any way to a military contract as well?

          On the certification about being to handle the a “worst case discharge,” is that something that something that has legal ramifications? Meaning, is that done under penalty of perjury?

          I think that’s the statement that BP made that Boxer now wants the DOJ to conduct a criminal probe to determine “false statements.”

        • R.H. Green says:

          I looked at the link from Harpie 24. Two things I noted: 1) The list of stockholders reads like a who’s who the investment banking world, and 2) the list of subsidiaries does not list a BP Exploration and Production,Inc. Maybe your comment about applying for leases under an assumed name should be considered here, even though the application (from DWBartoo, cited by me @ 7), states that the applicant has adequate resources to deal with an accident (seems to invoke BP’s deep pockets)..

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            I looked at the link from Harpie 24. Two things I noted: 1) The list of stockholders reads like a who’s who the investment banking world, and 2) the list of subsidiaries does not list a BP Exploration and Production,Inc.

            In June 2008, a Senate subcommittee held a hearing on commodities price manipulation, and the oil spot prices surged in July. It was a short time later (Sept) that the market imploded.

            All of these things are surely connected, and almost certainly involve accounting fraud, offshore accounts, and shell corporations.

            So I view this thread as important.

        • JasonLeopold says:

          That 53-page document is very interesting reading. Would like to further understand the whole Elgin Air Force Base issue and Section 13b, which you noted in another comment above.

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            Jason, I had a thought about the nexus of “Elgin AFB” and this disaster.

            We have now learned that the well itself did not have structural integrity.

            However, an AFB would use the seas for ‘target practice’ and drop ordinance, would they not? Is it possible that somehow ordinance played into this? (If it did, BP would probably claim injury from the government, but I am pretty sure that the liability would be all BPs for not confirming that there was no ordinance near where they drilled. Or could some triggering of ordinance in this region also explain the source of the plume a distance from the rig…?)

            Don’t mean to get OT, just thought I’d put a note in case anyone has more info.

            • thatvisionthing says:

              You know what I think of when I see “Elgin AFB”? State secrets. Even Jesse Trentadue finally hit the “state secrets” law in his FOIAing and litigating for Oklahoma City bombing records, when he FOIAed for CIA records. Interview link

              Horton: All right, well, so, what do we find out this week? What’s in these new documents? This judge told you, no, basically, your latest suit from Freedom of Information Act against the CIA has failed, correct?

              Trentadue: It has, but, as you pointed out, [the judge] did a lot for me and he did a lot for the American people. He told us things that otherwise we would never have known. What happened is, I, in order to document the link between my brother’s murder and the bombing, and the connection to Guthrie, I filed a number of Freedom of Information Act suits. I sued the FBI. This time I sued the CIA. And it was sort of on a hunch, I said to the CIA I want all documents showing your involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing or prior knowledge of that attack. And they came back and gave me 37 blank pages, 12 documents all together, 37 blank pages, and they were stamped Secret, National Security. And they said, “Oh by the way, we have all these other documents that are so super secret we can’t even give you blank pages.” So…

              Horton: Do they say how many were the ones that they couldn’t release in any form?

              Trentadue: No, they said that would be disclosing how many they had.

              Horton: So 37 that you know about that they gave you blank pieces of paper. Here’s 37 blank pieces of paper, and there’s another stack of pieces of paper that we can’t even tell you how high it is but you can’t have any of that either.

              Trentadue: And it’s so secret we can’t even get any blank pages.

              Horton: Heh. And, so, what’d the judge say?

              Trentadue: Well, I sued them and said I want those documents, and the judge, of course, they came in, and it’s the very first time anyone in my Freedom of Information suits has ever asserted national security and the exemption of producing. And that’s like, it’s a rock that you can’t get around, once the government throws up national security. And they did more than that. They said to release these documents would pose a grave threat to the security of the United States of America. And the judge’s hands are tied at that point. It’s like a shield that he can’t go beyond, behind. But what he did, and I think he did this intentionally, is he wrote his opinion to let me know and the public know that there was a foreign connection to the Oklahoma City bombing. And he goes through it and he discusses the CIA’s assistance in helping prosecute Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols. And he talks about the contacts with foreign informants, foreign witnesses. He paints a very clear picture that there was foreign involvement, and of course there has to be because the CIA is a foreign intelligence agency. By law it cannot operate within the borders of the United States unless, unless there is a foreign element here.

              Horton: So, to paraphrase, basically the judge is telling you, “We can’t give you these documents about the CIA’s involvement with foreign informants that knew something about the Oklahoma City bombing.” That’s basically the way he’s saying it to you.

              Trentadue: Yes, he says, “But I want you to know they were there.”

              Nobody could have foreseen? I can. BP and the Energy Department, Interior Department, is there any meaningful difference? After Cheney?

            • JasonLeopold says:

              Some info on Elgin, FWIW:

              Eglin is one of the Air Force’s largest bases, and is a primary test center for non-nuclear munitions. Located on the coast of the panhandle of Florida, the base covers 724 square miles of land, and has 97,963 miles of water ranges in the Gulf. Facilities include: a climatic laboratory, capable of subjecting bombers to subzero temperatures; a guided weapons evaluation facility; a space surveillance facility, which feeds information to Cheyenne Mountain; a major Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) school; and a Special Operations Command Center, located on Hurlburt Field, one of several auxiliary fields within Eglin’s large restricted perimeter. Eglin is also one of three sites of Wright Lab, the Air Force’s largest laboratory complex, and is associated with a test group at Holloman AFB in New Mexico, along with the Aeronautical Systems Group at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. There are 70,000 people at Eglin, including the families of personnel stationed there.

              • Gitcheegumee says:

                It would also perhaps be useful to include Barksdale AFB,located in Louisiana. Wiki has an interesting entry for them. Here is only a snippet:

                Barksdale Air Force Base

                Air Force Global Strike Command

                IATA: BAD – ICAO: KBAD – FAA LID: BAD
                Airport type Military: Air Force Base
                Owner United States Air Force
                Operator Air Force Global Strike Command
                Location Bossier City, Louisiana
                Built 1931
                In use 1931-present
                Occupants 2d Bomb Wing
                Elevation AMSL 166 ft / 51 m
                Coordinates 32°30′07″N 093°39′46″W / 32.50194°N 93.66278°W / 32.50194; -93.66278
                Website http://www.barksdale.af.mil

                Sources: official website[1] and FAA[2]

                Barksdale AFB
                Location of Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana
                Entrance to Barksdale Air Force Base located approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) east-southeast of Bossier City, Louisiana.

                The host unit at Barksdale is the 2d Bomb Wing (2 BW), the oldest Bomb Wing in the Air Force. It is assigned to the Air Force Global Strike Command’s (AFGSC) Eighth Air Force (8 AF). The 2 BW is equipped with the B-52H Stratofortress bomber, and provides flexible, responsive, global combat capability, autonomously or in concert with other forces, and trains all Air Force Global Strike Command and Air Force Reserve Command B-52 crews.

                NOTE:Some may recall that Barksdale was the AFB involved in the nuclear warheads being mistakenblt transported a couple of years back. Here’s just one link:
                Search ResultsB-52 mistakenly flies with nukes aboard – Army News, news from …Sep 10, 2007 … But the nuclear warheads should have been removed at Minot before being transported to Barksdale, the officers said. …
                http://www.armytimes.com/news/…/marine_nuclear_B52_070904w/ – Cached – Similar

                (Just for the record, the Army has a training facility at Fort Polk,Louisiana–quite near the SPR in West Hackberry.La. mentioned upthread.)

  13. fatster says:

    Interesting links at this website, from some entity called “Corporate Dirt Archives.” Hahaha

    Examples of headings:

    British Petroleum / Amoco / ARCO History & Mergers
    BP Amoco’s Solar Power Greenwashing Exposed

  14. fatster says:

    Interesting observation:

    “While headlines from the Gulf of Mexico will focus upon the clean-up effort and environmental repercussions of the spill in the coming days, headlines from the Middle East will deal with the Obama administration’s plan for renewed sanctions on Iran, the possibility of an escalation of tension between Washington and Tehran, as well as the planned summer U.S. troop withdrawal in Iraq. With BP’s deep involvement in all three contexts, perhaps they are not entirely separate stories.”


    Oh, shoot, I’m off course again. Sorry.

    PS Well, while I’m off-course, I may as well add this:

    “Obama biggest recipient of BP cash” [Congress, too]


    • harpie says:

      I’m really glad you linked to that article about BP’s links to Iran, etc. I don’t think it’s “off course” at all!

      • fatster says:

        Thanks, harpie. You and I share a love of into, don’t we? I’m kind of being a loose cannon today, all over the place, rather than concentrating as bmaz asked.

    • bmaz says:

      Excellent! If they do “not distinguish” why should we or the DOJ??

      This is the case we have to hand on a silver platter to the fucking DOJ so they will do their job.

      • harpie says:

        Yessiree, bmaz!
        And, I hate to admit how exciting it was to see that list of documents [and this whole thread, for that matter]…now I’m off to read.

      • BoxTurtle says:

        This is the case we have to hand on a silver platter to the fucking DOJ so they will do their job.

        Objection! Assumes actions not in evidence!

        Boxturtle (They’re not going to do their jobs unless ObamaLPP is threatened)

  15. bmaz says:

    Just so everybody here knows, I just put the following in as an update to the prior Top Hat and Tails Thread:

    UPDATE: Henry Waxman, Bart Stupak and the Energy and Commerce Committee have made a notable document dump:

    Committee Releases Memo & Documents Concerning Issues Raised in Recent News Media Accounts Related to the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

    Sunday, 30 May 2010 15:06

    Today, the Committee on Energy & Commerce released a memo and documents concerning issues raised in recent news media accounts related to the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill.

    Yesterday, The New York Times published an article entitled “Documents Show Earlier Fears About Safety of Offshore Well.” The article described documents from BP that, according to The New York Times, “show serious problems and safety concerns with the Deepwater Horizon rig.”

    Some members have asked whether we were the source of the documents cited by The New York Times and whether they can review the documents. We were not the source of the documents, but we have been able to identify most of the documents mentioned in the article. We are providing them to the members as attachments to this memorandum.

    Some of these are technical documents about well design. Others are documents that raise questions, but their connection to the blowout, if any, require additional investigation. The Committee staff is continuing its investigation of these issues.


    Memo from Chairmen Henry A. Waxman and Bart Stupak

    Evaluation of Casing Design Basis for Macondo Prospect, May 14, 2009

    GoM Exploration Wells, Appendix F, Jan 2010

    BP Email, March 12, 2010

    BP Emails, March 10, 2010

    BP Emails, February 8, 2010

    BP Emails, November 17, 2009

  16. bmaz says:

    And, just to keep y’all pissed off and working, check this shit out:

    BP CEO Hayward Denies Existence Of Underwater Plumes:

    BP PLC CEO Tony Hayward on Sunday disputed claims by scientists that large undersea plumes have been set adrift by the Gulf oil spill and said the cleanup fight has narrowed to surface slicks rolling into Louisiana’s coastal marshes.

    During a tour of a company staging area for cleanup workers, Hayward said BP’s sampling showed “no evidence” that oil was suspended in large masses beneath the surface. He didn’t elaborate on how the testing was done.

    “The oil is on the surface,” Hayward said.

    • GulfCoastPirate says:

      These corporations really do think we’re all stupid don’t they?

      I have a question. As a technical type and not a legal/corporate type, and if BP supplies so many oil products to the military, who knows if all the fines paid in Texas City (and elsewhere) were not simply offset by the military paying higher prices for their supplies? A nice little ‘under the table’ agreement between the government and a powerful corporation.

    • bobschacht says:

      Yeah, this statement is of a piece why BP is opposed to getting tankers to scoop up the goop and sort it out. His solution: a large wet blanket. I guess he wants to wait until it washes up in the marshes.

      Bob in AZ

      • Loo Hoo. says:

        I was thinking of a giant hoola hoop on the floor around the spill with a monstrous hose to the surface. Sounds easy enough. /s

        • fatster says:

          If you could get the giant hula hoop spinning around, maybe you could separate oil from water using centrifugal force. Or something.

  17. harpie says:

    BP Products North America, Inc. investment review:

    Under “Key Developments”:
    Air BP Wins $124,754,182 Fixed-Price Contact

    Air BP, Warrenville, Ill. is being awarded a maximum $124,754,182 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for aviation turbine fuel. Other locations of performance are Texas and Louisiana. Using service is the Defense Energy Support Center. The original proposal was Web solicited with 27 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is April 30, 2011. The Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-10-D-0474).

    Also found a complaint against them [concerning pricefixing [?]][no lo comprendo]:

    • JasonLeopold says:

      That’s actually one of my next stories! Diving into the military contracts. Last year, one of the guy’s who worked on reupping BP’s military contract left the government to go to work for BP

  18. sojourner says:

    Nowhere am I finding the actual lease document that was signed, along with any stipulations that were entered into. I would LOVE to see that!

  19. fatster says:

    This is interesting (e.g., the “promises” oil companies must make relative to insurance and other such stuff).

    Federal Regs: Oil Spill Financial Responsibility for Offshore Facilities in 1998. Although dated 1998, the MMS web page links directly to them, so they should be current/


  20. sojourner says:

    OK, I dunno if you can call it criminal… This is the basic MMS lease form as of 2004.

    So far, as I am reading through it, Section 11 regarding Safety Requirements, jumped through the screen and slapped me in the face.

    Section 13b is probably why the federal government is not just jumping into the fray.

    Section 18d goes into the national defense restrictions and needs again — and (although IANAL) could likely be used by the government to restrict access to the area by reporters.

    • qweryous says:

      There are different MMS lease forms for mineral, and oil/gas offshore leases.

      UNDER THE OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF LANDS ACT” is the one that is used for the lease area that is leaking.

      LINK: http://www.gomr.mms.gov/homepg/mmsforms/FormMMS-2005.pdf

      However there have been revisions on multiple occasions, and this document (linked in this comment) has this note at the bottom:
      “MMS Form MMS-2005 (October 2009) (Supersedes all previous editions of MMS-2005 which may not be used). Page 7”

  21. fatster says:

    Wonder if it’s possible, and how many hoops are involved, in getting these completed forms for BP:

    “A new or renewed application for OSFR approval must include only one original of each of the following:
    1. Form MMS-1016, Designated Applicant Information Certification, 2. Form MMS-1017, Designation of Applicant (from each responsible party who did
    not previously submit this form),
    33. One or more of the following forms appropriate for the type of financial evidence used:
    A. Form MMS-1018, Self-Insurance or Indemnity Information, along with a bound, audited financial statement, and a signed Treasurer’s letter.
    B. Form MMS-1019, Insurance Certificate.
    C. Form MMS-1020, Surety Bond. 4. Form MMS-1021, Covered Offshore Facilities.
    A submittal for an addition(s) or a deletion(s) to a current, approved OSFR application must include only one original of each of the following:
    For addition(s): Form MMS-1022, Covered Offshore Facility Changes. Form MMS-1017, Designation of Applicant (from each responsible
    party). Form MMS-1019, Insurance Certificate (only if the Schedule Option
    is selected).”


    These should be public documents, but I won’t be surprised if they’re not.

  22. sojourner says:

    My friends, I think I have contributed what I can to the thread and am thrilled that I managed to made RoTL grin! I have to run off and take care of some other things but will stop by from time to time to read the mail. Have a good evening!

    • JasonLeopold says:

      Thanks so much for highlighting those important points in the documents. I am going to try and get a copy of the lease from MMS if it is not available publicly.

  23. fatster says:

    Here’s one way BP is going to avoid paying compensation:

    The fishermen and the tax man

    BP’s request for tax records poses a problem for some residents of fishing communities in southeastern Louisiana — the nonconformists who haven’t kept records or reported their cash income


  24. fatster says:

    Oil Spill Protest in Jackson Square Sunday May 30, 2010

    Photos from the Times-Picayune – NOLA.com

    Spike Lee was there, too, BTW.


    Go People!

  25. bobschacht says:

    Lt. Gen. Russel Honore on CNN Brooke Baldwin segment tonight arguing that the U.S. should invoke a special law (can’t remember; can’t find link) to give the Coast Guard special powers. His argument deserves more attention.

    Oh, BTW, turns out Honore is probably(?) going to run against Vitter.

    Bob in AZ

    • bobschacht says:

      OK, I found a link (emphasis added in quote) for what Lt.Gen. Honore is proposing:

      BP’s job is to focus on stopping the flow of oil. The government needs to provide more military “command and control” of the situation. As BP works to stop the gusher, the government must address the problem of the oil coming ashore and take care of the people affected, possibly retraining them in other jobs. The government could do this by using the Stafford Act to fund the states so they can protect their shoreline and clean up the oil. Then, the long-term effects of the spill must be mitigated.

      Bob in AZ

  26. bobschacht says:

    Othniel makes a good point in a Seminal diary:
    Don’t let obsession with the oil spill distract us too much for keeping pressure on for REAL financial regulation reform.

    Bob in AZ

  27. pdaly says:

    OT: the film Fair Game premiered 5/21/10 in Cannes Film Festival
    and this past Friday 5/28/10 , Valerie Plame Wilson and Joe Wilson returned their Political Courage award to the Pacific Palisades Democratic Club of California out of protest when the club snubbed another potential nominee for being Republican (The nominee Mickey Weinstein is fighting the Christianists’ attempts at a takeover of the US military)

  28. JasonLeopold says:

    bmaz, based on what Harpie found in the annual report as to the structure of BP and its subsidiaries do you think that alone could be used in terms of leveling a probation violation wrt the Gulf?

    • JasonLeopold says:

      I do realize there’s still a lot more work to do and that it would likely take a prosecutor who would be willing to make that case. What do we know about the US atty who has jurisdiction on the BP disaster?

      • thatvisionthing says:

        ianal — but my question is, why wouldn’t this go to a corporate monitor with a sweet fine to govt? They’re happy all around, we’re screwed. That’s the pattern isn’t it?

        bmaz wrote about BP Alaska specifically here:

        Felony charges would not be pursued and the agreement foreclosed any future prosecutions. No BP executive faced any criminal liability for a spill second in size only to the Exxon Valdez;

        The fines proposed by Justice (to which BP immediately agreed) were only a fraction of what was legally required under the Alternative Fines Act. EPA had calculated the appropriate fine levels as several times what Justice offered BP – ranging from $58 million to $672 million, depending upon the economic assumptions; and

        The BP Alaska settlement is part of a pattern of “lowball” corporate public safety and pollution settlements engineered by the Bush Justice Department. In that October 2007 settlement package, Justice asked for only $50 million in fines for the BP Texas refinery explosion in which 15 people died – penalties not carrying strong deterrent value for a big multi-national corporation

        The above is verbatim from a formal complaint filed with the Inspector General of the DOJ, Glen Fine, by West and a group known as Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

        You have some special faith in Obama’s DOJ? I don’t.

        The last thing I have to say about environmental justice is, if BP had done property damage in DEFENSE of the environment, they would be be facing extreme isolation in a Communication Management Unit dungeon with no due process to even figure out who threw them there (not a judge–then who?) or challenge their confinement. First these CMUs were secret, now they’re not and the govt wants even more stringent rules. Determinant factor for who gets sent there: Your “inspirational significance.” Hope someone qualified here does a comparison.

          • thatvisionthing says:

            No, that’s my point — you all here can build a wonderful case, and then DOJ will refuse to prosecute it, or will milk it for self-engorgement and access via corporate monitoring–a jolly feedback loop or laundry cycle among thieves (can you bring RICO charges against the DOJ?), or will deliberately sabotage it, like the Blackwater Nisour? Square murder case where the State Dept spoiled the case before it even started by illegally taking evidence. Darn that darn darn Miranda, wasn’t it? Sorry if I’m using the wrong terms, but ianal, iad (i am disgusted).

            Also, I hope you look at the DOJ link I left above, it goes to Jesse Trentadue’s 34-page PDF (letter and supporting documents) to Pat Leahy requesting a chance to testify at Eric Holder’s confirmation hearings.

            No one could be less suitable to uphold the principles of justice in America than Eric Holder. And I would like the opportunity to appear before the Judiciary Committee to testify to that fact.

            Jesse C. Trentadue to Patrick Leahy, December 19, 2008

            (I guess Pat didn’t let him.) Apparently Jesse Trentadue‘s story is known “out there” in the blogosphere, but totally unreported on in the MSM, yet he’s been FOIAing and litigating for years and the crap he’s been able to document is HUGE… involving the Oklahoma City prosecutions and congressional UNoversight, when Eric Holder was Deputy AG.

            antiwar radio interview

            Horton: What do you know about current Attorney General Eric Holder and his involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing and/or the cover-up thereof?

            Trentadue: Well I know Holder was the one in charge of covering up my brother’s murder. He put together what they call a roll-out plan called the Trentadue mission, and it was to prevent any kind of inquiry into my brother’s murder, no hearings in Congress. I mean, he strong-armed Senator Hatch, Senator Dorgan, every other senator he could get a hold of to stop any kind of investigation into my brother’s murder. He did that personally.

            Horton: And how do you know that?

            Trentadue: Because I have a whole bunch of e-mails back and forth involving Holder and implementing “the Trentadue mission” he called it, documenting what he did and what his role was as Deputy Attorney General. And I suspect he played the same role in keeping a lid on the bombing.

            Horton: So all those years that I was scratching my head trying to figure out how it could possibly be that Congress never convened a single hearing on any subcommittee in either house when it was run by either party on this case, it was because Eric Holder was doing the shuttle diplomacy there between branches of government preventing Dan Burton, Orrin Hatch, Arlen Specter, Patrick Leahy, people like that, from investigating this case.

            Trentadue: Both my brother’s murder and the bombing. It’s my understanding there’s never been a hearing on the bombing.

            And that’s the guy Obama chose for AG, an obstruction of justice artist and congressional fixer. And that’s the guy who’s supposedly our best hope for getting cases tried in federal courts instead of Calvinball military commissions. And now BP. I looked through Jesse’s PDF and I see the name “Margolis” on p.6 — wouldn’t that be David Margolis, Obama’s hatchet man on the OLC report, letting Yoo and Bybee off the hook? And here is Pat Leahy NOT calling on Holder and Margolis when he held the Senate hearing on the OLC report. Sweet.

            I love what you all are doing here, but it freaks me out that in the end it’s going to depend on Obama and Eric Holder, and Pat Leahy too I guess, and how well they… hey, I was going to say manage the information, but maybe finally they’ve hit a blowout of info that they can’t control. Well then, carry on!

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              you all here can build a wonderful case, and then DOJ will refuse to prosecute it, or will milk it for self-engorgement and access via corporate monitoring–a jolly feedback loop or laundry cycle among thieves (can you bring RICO charges against the DOJ?), or will deliberately sabotage it, like the Blackwater Nisour?


              However, looking forward it is now much more likely that jurisdictions other than the US will be involved, so any work done here could be used by any government or non-profit or international entity.

              Don’t put all your eggs in the DoJ basket; no point.
              There are other baskets that almost certainly would love to keep their costs down and take advantage of publicly available info.

              And not simply at EW, but at many, many sites.
              This is a new phenomenon, and a quick google has me intrigued at how many ‘normal’ people, to say nothing of people with expertise, are taking time to track this mess.
              Unless BP thinks that it can somehow sink the entire Internet, I’d say the crowd-sourcing genie is out of the bottle.

              • thatvisionthing says:

                However, looking forward it is now much more likely that jurisdictions other than the US will be involved, so any work done here could be used by any government or non-profit or international entity.

                How sad is that. I’m still waiting for war crimes trials, but the last I heard they did away with the one Spanish judge willing to go there.

                Look, Obama’s press conference at the Gulf, with photo op stage managing and all, just like Bush? With minor substitutions, Stephen Colbert could say this all over again:

                I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message: that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound — with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world.
                h/t danps

                Now it’s Obama saying he’s in charge and everything will be fixed. As. if. What an idiot. You can’t fix dead and he isn’t going to try.

                More truthiness, less truth.

                But the more they close their fist on reality, the less they hold. I guess I’m placing more faith in the court of public opinion. The govts think they have a grip on… whatever… but in fact they’re delegitimizing themselves. Didn’t Doonesbury have a cartoon theme where the Bushes were invisible, dematerialized, immaterial? So goes Obama.

  29. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    I don’t want to go OT, but I do want to leave a link here — maybe Jason Leopold or someone can make sense of it. Via Yves Smith’s list of links today, a Kansas City Examiner link about potential profits that Halliburton could make off this disaster as a result of a buying up a company that specializes in ‘well intervention services’ the week before the explosion:

    Just eight days before the uber-Valdez accident, Houston-based Halliburton acquired Boots & Coots Services, also based in Houston, in a $240 million cash and stock deal.
    Boots & Coots, which uses the graphic of a burning oil well to represent the ampersand in its name, specializes in “pressure control and well intervention services.” In other words, when an oil well explodes, Boots & Coots can step in and help remedy the problem.

    Here’s hoping that someone around here might be able to match this information with any and all BP documents, or Transocean documents, about BP awareness that the Deepwater Horizon rig hand encountered trouble in weeks prior to the conflagration.

    I think that it would be impossible to prove, but the coinkydink is creepy.

    • bmaz says:

      I read some on Boots and Coots for some reason or another as I was doing some research a few days ago. Boots and Coots are the nicknames of Red Adair’s two former partners who split off and formed their own company. They were getting pretty old, in their 80s, and one of them was in very poor health early this year and in fact died right around the first of April. I think they had already sold a healthy chunk of the company long ago and this was just kind of the natural progression of the company.

        • bmaz says:

          Dude was literally larger than life. To give you an idea, John Wayne played him in the movies (and that was all the way back in 1968, Adair was the man all the way well past the first Gulf War when he was called on to put out the oil fires left behind by Sadaam). Hellfighters:

          Hellfighters is a 1968 American film starring John Wayne, Katharine Ross, Jim Hutton, Bruce Cabot, Jay C. Flippen and Vera Miles. The movie, directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, is about a group of oil well firefighters, based on the life of Red Adair. Adair, “Boots” Hansen, and “Coots” Matthews, served as technical advisors on the film.

          • BoxTurtle says:

            And it is an excellent movie, I recommend it highly. I’ve seen it several times and next time it comes on TV I’ll watch it again. Theres something about putting out a fire with nitroglycerin that just appeals to me.

            Boxturtle (First time I watched it, I thought it was going to be a monster flick with demons)

  30. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    From the Guardian, in an article about a UK pension fund suing BP

    The pension providers are taking the company to court for the stock market losses attached to pipeline fractures that resulted in 200,000 gallons of oil being spilled and the Prudhoe Bay field being temporarily shut down. Accidents in March and August 2006 knocked billions off the BP share price, and Lothian is arguing that its funds have paid the price for management ineptitude….

    …Investigations by Congress and US federal authorities into the Alaskan spills showed, say the plaintiffs, “that BP knowingly, or with deliberate recklessness, failed to properly maintain, operate, inspect and monitor its pipelines at Prudhoe Bay”.

    They go on: “BP had received repeated warnings from multiple sources and knew that its pipelines were severely corroded, repeatedly cut corrosion-inhibiting maintenance in order to reduce costs and improve profits, and failed for more than 14 years to inspect the inside of the pipelines with an in-line inspection tool that would have precisely identified the level and location of the corrosion.

    Just in case anyone needed more ammo to go after BP.
    14 years they couldn’t inspect a pipeline…?
    Just…. wow

  31. tekel says:

    Bravo for crowdsourcing the research to support criminal liability for the corporation. It worked in 2003 for Groklaw, no reason it shouldn’t work here.

    I’m de-lurking to suggest a slightly different tack: instead of environmental offenses or violation of probation, why not start charging BP executives with criminal securities fraud?

    We now know that there were problems with the casing on the Macondo well at least 11 months prior to the blowout. We know that there were several rounds of conflict between the drilling engineers and BP’s “company man.” We know at least one, and possibly two or more, giant underwater toxic plumes of oil and dispersant are migrating through the deep water of the Gulf, just waiting to wash up on shore somewhere. We know that in the last 30 days, Tony Hayward and various other BP suits have made emphatic public statements denying these facts. At the time they made those statements, they knew or should have known that the statements were false.

    Sure, BP is listed on the London exchange instead of the NYSE. But BP or its US subsidiaries must still be subject to SEC regulation in affairs dealing with the sale of its securities, no? Public lies told by officers of companies that are required to register under the ’34 Act are grounds for punishing the the liar with restitution, fines, and 25 years in federal prison.

    • DWBartoo says:

      To be clear, this exploration plan is for Mississippi Canyon Block 252, wells A and B of the “Macondo Prospect”.

      Unless I am mistaken, it is well B, that is of moment.


  32. klynn says:

    Here is just some historic info which may not be helpful. There are some names which could lead to other sources.

    Jason, this article goes to the suggestion of smaller firms buying and BP turning around to get the lease. This article I think was posted on an earlier thread.

    Hard to believe this story appeared in this year’s March issue of the Economist.

    The link at the end of this article to a USGS study holds some interesting info.

    Forgive me for any repeats on links.

  33. fatster says:

    Sure hope you can get copies of all these documents soon, Jason & bmaz. Interesting.

    BP Prepared for Spill 10 Times Gulf Disaster, Permit Plans Say

    “BP Plc said in permit applications for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico that it was prepared to handle an oil spill more than ten times larger than the one now spewing crude into the waters off the southern United States.”

    What a joke!


  34. fatster says:

    BP and subsidiaries, good summary.

    “Who, Where, How Much?
    BP’s Board of Directors


  35. fatster says:

    More on subsidiaries:
    Subsidiaries/Affiliates Covered By Hoover’s

    Air BP
    Apex-BP Solar sa
    ARCO Aluminum, Inc.
    Logan Aluminum, Inc.
    BP Brasil Ltda
    BP (China) Holdings Limited
    BP Exploration Operating Company Limited
    BP France
    BP Lubricants USA, Inc.
    BP Marine Limited
    BP NGL
    BP Shipping Limited
    BP Solar International Inc.
    British Pipeline Agency Ltd.
    Castrol India Limited
    Deutsche BP AG
    Olympic Pipe Line Company
    OAO TNK-BP Holding

  36. fatster says:

    Independent Oil and Gas Producers sue Goldman Sach’s and BP subsidiaries for conspiracy to defraud

    More than 80 independent Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas oil and gas producers have filed lawsuits alleging that Goldman Sachs subsidiary J. Aron & Co. and British Petroleum subsidiary BP Oil Supply Company conspired with SemGroup to defraud them and convert millions of dollars worth of the producers’ crude oil and gas that was delivered to SemGroup prior to the company’s 2008 bankruptcy


  37. barne says:

    I don’t think many Americans know about BP’s propane price scam where they were picking something like $750 extra per year out folks’ wallets with a 50% illegal propane price hike. Hard to stay friendly with somebody who does that to your family.

    Somebody’s gotta start putting these scams on America into dollar and cents figures. “I regret to inform you that so-and-so just stole $750 out of your family’s savings?”


  38. Sara says:

    Just for everyone’s information, as you can use it…

    The lead Plaintiff Attorney for the 21 year running of the Exxon Valdez case was one Brian O’Neil of Fagre and Benson of Minneapolis. He was recently interviewed on Minnesota Public Radio regarding what it was like leading a case that lasted 21 years, with so many multiple parties. He said in the interview that he had been contacted to structure the team for the BP case, and while he didn’t relish another case of these dimensions, he was participating in planning. Far too early to say what his role might be, but he had much to say about the consequences for the people who sue. He reviewed the number of his clients who died before things were finally through all the numerous courts, the clients who had committed suicide, client’s families that had foundered, essentially all the lives destroyed by just being part of the process over all these long years. He clearly didn’t want to repeat the experience, but at the same time, knew he had the experience that could vastly shorten and perhaps humanize the process.

    The interview was a slightly different approach, I think the perspective would be worth spotlighting.

  39. JohnLopresti says:

    Maybe one of the differences between the ExxValdz incident and Bp*s current DWHrzn plight, could be Osha interest; I think some publicly reported Congres scrutiny as well as some of the documentDump, already show labor regs are a salient aspect drawing concern re the **April 20 accident**. If labor voices hint of stridency, resource extraction firms tend toward **proactive**, early strategies. The constituting of each extraction enterprise as a standalone shell for purposes of business accountability attests to the foreknowledge that safety liability issues are diffcult in risk-taking industries. Gingrich probably has a neoPlank on the topic set for by-election time2010, which might have the title *Dissolving osha*.

      • fatster says:

        Bypass means a remedial drilling effort in which you re-drill portions of a hole around junk (i.e., lost tools, pipe, or other material blocking the hole), re-drill “lost holes,” are re-drilled, or make directional corrections (straighten “key seats” or “crooked holes). In general, the proposed bottom-hole location of the new borehole is within 500 feet of the proposed bottom-hole location of the previous borehole. This is also called a mechanical sidetrack (see Exhibit 3).”


        Good little PDF for definitions of their tech terms. Damned handy little document!

    • thatvisionthing says:

      5 Will the proposed operation be covered by an EPA Discharge Permit? (please provide permit number in comments for this question) Y Number not yet assigned

      It tells you to look for an EPA Discharge Permit at least? Or it tells you that BP says a lot of things are N/A, in which case I don’t understand the Application for Bypass — bypass what?

  40. fatster says:

    There’s an old saying of the Sanfoil people that applies: “White man, you are so low that you crawl on your belly like a snake.”

    BP CEO Attributes Oil Spill Cleanup Workers’ Illness To Food Poisoning


  41. mattcarmody says:

    “The key to unlocking where we stand on this is understanding the exact relationship, and how clearly defined it is, between the parent company “BP Plc.”, the Texas City criminal defendant entity “BP Products North America Inc.” and the Alaska criminal defendant entity “BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. Also, what exact names are on the permits and leases for the Macondo well project?”

    This is the difference between a real person and a corporate person. When a human commits a crime and uses an alias fingerprints can connect the person to the crime. Corporate perps use all these legal fictions to get away with murder, literally, with murder.

    Santa Clara needs to be addressed.

    • thatvisionthing says:

      With deferred prosecution and all on the BP Texas case, doesn’t that mean there’s a corporate monitor? Who is the corporate monitor in this case, and what are the payment arrangements? Does anyone know?

    • bmaz says:

      Well, yes, Santa Clara should be revisited. But the real problem here is that the DOJ colludes with big business in allowing them to plead under bullshit subsidiaries. There are instances where the affiliate/subsidiary was literally created for the express purpose of being the guilty criminal defendant. The DOJ can absolutely require corporate entities plead under their parent name, but DOJ specifically and intentionally does not do so. It is a scam and a dereliction of prosecutorial duty, but there you have it.

      • thatvisionthing says:

        See my question @ 145 — regardless of what level or sublevel, is there a corporate monitor for the BP Texas case (or BP Alaska, or…), who is it and what are the payment arrangements, is that known, or CAN that be known?

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Please write a post about this topic, specifically.

        I’ve seen this in land use (with developers creating LLCs for parts of different projects, each LLC a different ownership group, etc, etc).

        But I think that most of us, most of the time, don’t think about this.
        And because we don’t think about it, we don’t press our electeds about whether they think this is acceptable.

        I’d sure like to see a few candidates’ feet get put to the fire this November on specifically this issue. Because the winkie-winkie-nudge-nudge insidery bullshit has simply become too toxic.

        • Gitcheegumee says:

          I also have seen this in a land use case I researched-and the entities were involved in obtaining COE and EPA permits,if my memory serves me correctly.

  42. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Rep Bart Stupak (in an interview on CNN) actually does a very clear job of summarizing the timeline of key problems leading up to the blowout. He really synthesizes the problems with the gutting of regulatory agencies during BushCheney, as well as problems hiring people in the Fed government (with Senators putting ‘holds’ on nominees as ‘payback’ for political antagonisms going back years).


  43. Hmmm says:

    Sorry if this redundant in re:

    The key to unlocking where we stand on this is understanding the exact relationship, and how clearly defined it is, between the parent company “BP Plc.”, the Texas City criminal defendant entity “BP Products North America Inc.” and the Alaska criminal defendant entity “BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. Also, what exact names are on the permits and leases for the Macondo well project?

    CorporateWatch says:

    BP PLC, registered in England at Britannic House, 1 Finsbury Circus, London, is the overall BP holding company.

    First order subsidiaries of BP PLC include many national and regional divisions of BP … The most notable first order subsidiary remains BP International Ltd (registered in England). Below the BP international umbrella lie many further subsidiaries such as BP America holdings Ltd (registered in England), BP America Inc (registered in USA) … Exploration and production (Ex-Pro.) is mostly divided into national subsidiaries under the BP Exploration Operating Co. Ltd, Ex-Pro. Subsidiaries include, for example: BP Exploration (Angola) Ltd and BP Exploration (Caspian Sea) Ltd.

    Most BP subsidiaries can be recognised by the BP or Amoco name although others include The Standard Oil Co. Inc and more obscure examples such as Grangemouth Polypropylene Ltd. … and most US subsidiaries by the letters Inc. (Incorporated). A full list of subsidiaries can be found in Who owns Whom (vol.1 – UK & Ireland) available in the UK at most major libraries.

    Boomberg says “BP Products North America, Inc. operated as a subsidiary of BP America, Inc. but now operates as a subsidiary of BP plc.”.

    As of April 1 2009 BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. (BPXA) looks to have been a wholly owned subsidiary of BP America.

    That would seem to make BP Products North America, Inc. and BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. siblings under BP America, Inc.

    I guess the full chain would be: BP Plc (UK) owns BP International Ltd (UK) owns BP America holdings Ltd (UK) owns BP America Inc (US) owns both BP Products North America, Inc. (US) and BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. (US).

    ..Or at least before the moving of BP Products North America, Inc. to BP Plc., which makes it now:

    BP Plc (UK) owns BP Products North America, Inc. (US)
    BP Plc (UK) owns BP International Ltd (UK) owns BP America holdings Ltd (UK) owns BP America Inc (US) owns BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. (US).

    Does that sound about right?

      • Hmmm says:

        Meaning BP International Ltd is not in the chain?

        Also note that “BP Products North America, Inc. operated as a subsidiary of BP America, Inc. but now operates as a subsidiary of BP plc.” That would make it a 2nd tier entity now. If that Bloomberg info is good.

    • thatvisionthing says:

      The Application for Bypass that you posted a link to @124 was dated 4/15/10, just a few days before the blowout. It required an EPA Discharge Permit, number not yet assigned, and apparently (per fatster @130) anticipated drilling other holes in the immediate vicinity around junk. Maybe if you’re doing an EPA doc dump dive, something will be in there. Curious timing.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Curious timing.

        Ummmm. It is.
        If you look at that CNN clip of Bart Stupak summarizing what his committee discovered about the events leading up to the accident, it’s somewhat…. creepy.

        • thatvisionthing says:

          I am totally in awe of what you’re doing. I can’t imagine being able to make heads or tails of it. Sincere gratitude and applause.

      • sojourner says:

        The bypass permit request indicates that they ran into trouble on the hole. Directional drilling as they were doing often has issues. They could have gotten junk down the hole somehow, which may have required them to cement it and drill in a little different direction. I think this is basically a confirmation that yes — they were having some difficulties with this particular well.

        Whether or not this was part of the well control issue is hard to say. Formations in that area are fraught with erratic or abnormal pressures due to the amount of faulting that can occur.

    • thatvisionthing says:

      Continuing on with bmaz’s post that I started quoting @103 above:

      The complaint went on to quote West as follows:

      Never …have I had a significant environmental criminal case shut down by the political arm of the Department of Justice, nor have I had a case declined by the Department of Justice before I had been fully able to investigate the case. This is unprecedented in my experience.

      When a chief agency criminal investigator cannot get traction for the prosecution of crimes, and considers the internal DOJ policy to be complicit, you might have a problem. It appears, however, the complaint went nowhere, which is not IG Glen Fine’s fault as, once again, DOJ accountability has been prevented by the fact that, unique to executive agencies, the DOJ IG has no jurisdiction over the conduct of the attorneys in the DOJ and goodness knows neither OPR nor David Margolis would countenance such an investigation.

      Where is the DOJ on this now? Contemplating a third strike, repeat offender takedown of BP? No, there has been nary a peep in this regard from the Obama/Holder DOJ. In fact, the only lawyers DOJ has indicated they are assigning the BP Deepwater Horizon catastrophe are Civil Division and Natural Resource Division talking heads Tony West and Ignacia Moreno. Nope, par for the course, the DOJ is sending managers to smooth the waters, not prosecutors and investigators to bring accountability.

      And Margolis who bmaz mentioned? Probably the same Margolis in 136 above, in the “Trentadue Mission” coverup e-mail loop.

  44. Gitcheegumee says:

    Anybody familiar with the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST)?Also known as UNCLOS.

    According to Wiki, the EU has ratified it,but the US has yet to ratify it.

    I am curious if any of the terms of this treaty have been violated by BP.

    • thatvisionthing says:

      Craig Murray (UK) is — he’s been talking about it on his blog in re Israel and Turkey today and I also remember him making some quite heated comments earlier re Law of the Sea when Iran captured the British sailors. You can post a question on his blog and he may answer it. I don’t think he’s blogged about BP and the Gulf disaster.

      This is not theory. I was involved in the negotiation on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and at one stage was the Leader of the UK Delegation to the Preparatory Commission on UNCLOS.

      (from second link)

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        THANK YOU for this link. I have never come across Murray, but it IS bookmarked for future and frequent reference.

        I have been watching this LOST issue for some time, and it is disheartening how little coverage it has received considering its enormous implications.

        • thatvisionthing says:

          that was exactly his point when talking about the British sailors captured…

          December 1, 2009
          Why The Left – And The Media – Are Stupid

          The media are equally stupid. Amazingly, if you do a google news search on the term “innocent passage”, you get not one result. In all the acres of media coverage there has not been a single mention of what in fact is the law applicable to this situation.



          Right of innocent passage

          He also had something to say about the nebulousness of the maps that I didn’t hear elsewhere. I love this guy.

  45. Gitcheegumee says:

    Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea – Wikipedia, the …The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty, is the international …
    en.wikipedia.org/…/United_Nations_Convention_on_the_Law_of_the_Sea – Cached – Similar

    Oceans and Law of the SeaHome Page – Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, OLA, United Nations.
    http://www.un.org/Depts/los/ – Cached – Similar

    Oil slick crisis sets stage for UN’s LOST treaty « Victory InstituteMay 28, 2010 … The Law of the Sea Treaty is supported by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, environmental, energy, and business interests. …
    victoryinstitute.net/…/oil-slick-crisis-sets-stage-for-uns-lost-treaty/ – Cached

  46. Gitcheegumee says:

    Just for the record, regarding the nation’s oil reserves….Strategic Pteroleum Reserves (SPR).

    The SPR management office is located in New Orleans, Louisiana.

    The reserve is stored at four sites on the Gulf of Mexico, each located near a major center of petrochemical refining and processing. Each site contains a number of artificial caverns created in salt domes below the surface.

    Individual caverns within a site can be up to 1000 m below the surface, average dimensions are 60 m wide and 600 m deep, and capacity ranges from 6 to 37 million barrels (1 to 4.3 million m³). Almost $4 billion was spent on the facilities. The decision to store in caverns was taken to reduce costs; the Department of Energy claims it is roughly 10 times cheaper to store oil below surface with the added advantages of no leaks and a constant natural churn of the oil due to a temperature gradient in the caverns. The caverns were created by drilling down and then dissolving the salt with water.


    Bryan Mound – Freeport, Texas.
    Big Hill – Winnie, Texas.
    West Hackberry – Lake Charles, Louisiana.
    Bayou Choctaw – Baton Rouge, Louisiana.——–Wikipedia

    Note: The Strategic Petroleum reserves hold CRUDE oil only and are ALL on the Gulf of Mexico coastline.

    IIRC,as per Jason Leopold’s article ,the DOD purchased 80% of BP product for the miltary.

    Has it ever been established the quantity of crude that BP calculated was actually available at this particular well?

    Sure could have provided a dandy source of crude to replenish the SPR,had it not blown out…and would have explained MMS and EPA indifference.imho.

    DOE – Fossil Energy: Filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve – the …Mar 25, 2010 … The average price per barrel for crude oil in the SPR reflects the value of … Sunoco Logistics, and BP North America for exchange of 12.3 …
    http://www.fossil.energy.gov/programs/reserves/spr/spr-fill.html – Cached – Similar

    • thatvisionthing says:

      Mentions were made above about Elgin AFB and how the BP tract was within its test boundaries. Maybe the connection though is that the military is the biggest single user of oil in our country, I know I read that recently (here?). With such a gluttonous customer also being your regulator… no conflict of interest there, no?

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        Well, if you get a chance,check out the ENTIRE Wiki on SPR-especially the RIK contracts dissolution,as of December 2009.

        also,@#172,I just read elsewhere,that Holder will visit the Gulf this week.Think it was at Silobreaker-great site.

        • thatvisionthing says:

          also,@#172,I just read elsewhere,that Holder will visit the Gulf this week.

          (buries head in hands)

  47. Hmmm says:

    The Elgin angle’s weird. What if a really big bomb got dropped over water and went off underwater some time in the past, and that explosion softened the seafloor or fractured some substrate level, providing a latent escape path through which oil and gas are now escaping?

    • thatvisionthing says:

      Sounds like KB Home building a 587-home housing development over an abandoned bombing range… which they did, in Southridge Hills, Arlington, Texas. Maybe the govt will protect BP because the govt has fault.

  48. JasonLeopold says:

    Is this why the government and BP isn’t disclosing what the targets were for the well?


    Insiders say it’s time for BP to go.
    Written by WGNO ABC26 News | Monday, 31 May 2010 11:15

    One insider say it’s time that BP is removed from the job of trying to cap the well. The former President of the International Oil Spill Control Corporation said BP has no intentions of capping the well.

    Dr. Thomas Manton said BP is sitting on the mother load, two to three billion barrels of oil.

    Manton said that’s why BP wants to continue the flow oil onto those tankers.

    Manton said it’s in the nation’s interest that the well is capped now.

    He said President Obama should make the decision to remove BP from the operations sooner than later.

    • PJEvans says:

      I’d be more willing to buy that if they hadn’t been planning to cap this one, all along. It wasn’t intended to be a production well, AFAIK.

  49. Hmmm says:

    Not hard to imagine bombs exploded down there long before anyone realized them wuz oil fields.

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      German submarine U-166 (1941) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaFor other ships of the same name, see German submarine U-166. … the only German submarine sunk in the Gulf of Mexico during World War II. …
      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_submarine_U-166_(1941) – Cached – Similar

      U-boats in the Gulf of Mexico… ever watchful for German U-boats that terrorized Gulf shipping lanes. … the 10th U-boat flotilla to begin war time operations in the Gulf of Mexico. …
      http://www.wintertexansonline.com/uboats.htm – Cached – Similar

      German U-Boats in the Gulf of Mexico during WWII9 posts – 4 authors – Last post: Aug 11, 2006
      Read about German U-Boats in the Gulf of Mexico during WWII – Has anyone ever read.. Melanie Wiggins. 1995. Torpedoes in the Gulf: Galveston …
      http://www.military-quotes.com/…/german-u-boats-gulf-mexico-t23758.html – Cached – Similar

      UNCOVERING THE GULF OF MEXICO’S SEA OF LOST SHIPS | Sea Classics …The work conducted by the MMS and other scientists in the Gulf of Mexico … Another German submarine, the U-1 71, which was operating in the Gulf at the …
      findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa4442/is…/ai_n21099488/ – Cached – Similar

  50. Gitcheegumee says:

    Some may recall that Barksdale was the AFB involved in the nuclear warheads being mistakenblt transported a couple of years back. Here’s just one link:

    B-52 mistakenly flies with nukes aboard – Army News, news from …Sep 10, 2007 … But the nuclear warheads should have been removed at Minot before being transported to Barksdale, the officers said. … http://www.armytimes.com/news/…/marine_nuclear_B52_070904w/ – Cached – Similar

  51. Gitcheegumee says:

    BP Was Drilling In A Mine Field! Gulf of Mexico Is Major Dumping …20 posts – 4 authors – Last post: May 11
    You learn the darnedest things on the internets. For example, I just found out that the Gulf of Mexico is the primary disposal site for …
    crooksandliars.com/susie…/bp-was-drilling-mine-field-gulf-mexic – Cached
    Get more discussion results

    Suburban Guerrilla » Blog Archive » Drilling In A Mine FieldMay 7, 2010 … So we’re leasing offshore drilling rights to oil companies IN A FRICKIN’ MINE FIELD. (You’ll notice this NY Times piece on the problems of …
    susiemadrak.com/?p=2287 – Cached

    • PJEvans says:

      Do they normally set mines in 5000-foot deep water? My understanding is they’re usually in shallower water, preferably with more defined traffic patterns. (And you wouldn’t want to plant an offshore rig anywhere where there’s likely to be shipping traffic, anyway, so not anywhere that’s likely to be currently mined.)

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        PJ. you are getting into deep waters…”G”…far above my pay grade.

        However, my initial recollection of the info provided by MMS-in the linked Correntire/Madrak piece, mentioned 1000 feet,IIRC.

        However, it IS conceivable that materiel that was not a mine,specifically set, can wend its way down to the nethermost regions of Davy Jones, locker….waiting to be josteled about and …well, who knows?

  52. Hmmm says:

    Uhm, the GoM’s pretty big. Do we have any concrete fix on what part(s) have been used as dumping, practice, and/or minefields?

  53. bobschacht says:

    the President on Friday reiterated that the first and foremost goal of the entire government is stopping the leak…

    The President and BP are not on the same page. BP has abandoned “stopping” the leak, and is now focusing on “capturing” the leak. There is some miscommunication going on here between the President and Adm. Thad Allen.

    Bob in AZ

  54. Hmmm says:

    So… is the initial accident on the DWH consistent with an explosion on the sea floor, or at old-UXB-mine depth?

    Could the well bore have been drilled through an old, unmapped UXB dump?

    • bmaz says:

      The talk about mines and ordnance is nonsense from what I can tell. There is no evidence whatsoever to support any of it.

      • Hmmm says:

        Right. Previously I attacked it from the vanishingly-small-likelihood-of-spatial-coincidence side, here I go at it from the consistent-with-observations side. I think it likely fails both tests.

Comments are closed.