BP vs. Gulf Coast: It’s Not Settled Yet | The Nation

7 Mar

Big Oil has no interest in a trial and has been pushing BP to settle. The 72 million pages of documents and hundreds of witnesses gathered for the trial are likely to reveal damning evidence harmful not only to BP, Halliburton, and Transocean but to every major oil company working in offshore waters today. … the kinds of catastrophic errors that led to the explosions on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, killed eleven men, capsized the rig and created a three-month-long uncontrollable oil and gas spill are not only endemic throughout the entire industry, they also remain largely unaddressed. It is expected that even more damning evidence not previously made public would come out at trial. A settlement deal, however, would likely seek to require that all such evidence be kept from the public….

Evidence presented at trial could also prove damning to the Obama administration. In Black Tide, I document the administration’s failure to adequately hold BP to account for its catastrophic Macondo well operations and the subsequent disaster, as well as the administration’s own role in keeping the truth about the scope of the disaster from the public. Again, it is anticipated that even more damning evidence could come to light at trial.

BP does not hold all the cards. It is the world’s fourth-largest company. But it is, like all of the oil industry, heavily dependent on owning, producing and selling oil to maintain that position. BP is the largest producer of oil and gas in the US Gulf Coast. BP is likely willing to make sacrifices in order to maintain these leases and acquire more. A long, drawn-out trial revealing damaging evidence could renew public calls to cancel or at least curtail these leases. BP also does not want the economic uncertainty of a long trial. Finally, it does not want what could easily be a $60 to $70 billion judgment….

via BP vs. Gulf Coast: It’s Not Settled Yet | The Nation.

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