NEW ORLEANS (AP) — BP acted "recklessly" and bears most of the responsibility for the nation's worst offshore oil spill, a federal judge concluded Thursday, exposing the energy giant to roughly $18 billion in additional penalties.
BP's market value plummeted by $7 billion after the ruling as its shares suffered their worst percentage decline in almost three years. By Thursday afternoon, company shares had fallen almost 6 percent to $45.05.
BP PLC, which vowed to appeal, already agreed to pay billions in criminal fines and compensation to people and businesses affected by the disaster. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier's ruling that BP acted with "gross negligence" deals instead with civil responsibilities, and could nearly quadruple what the London-based company has to pay in fines for polluting the Gulf of Mexico.
The judge held a non-jury trial last year to apportion blame for the Macondo well spill, which killed 11 men on the Deepwater Horizon rig and spewed oil for 87 days in 2010.
He ruled that BP bears 67 percent of the blame, Swiss-based drilling rig owner Transocean Ltd. bears 30 percent, and Houston-based cement contractor Halliburton Energy Services is responsible for 3 percent.
An electrical panel malfunction that led to a toxic gas emission from a Valero refinery in Texas City early Sunday won’t signal a repeat of wider problems that plagued the facility in 2011, officials told FuelFix.
Former contractor Kenneth Abbott and the environmental group Food & Water Watch will likely appeal a ruling by U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes that dismisses their multibillion dollar suit against BP for its safety practices in the Gulf of Mexico’s Atlantis field, their attorney said, FuelFix reports.
WHITING, Ind. (AP) — An explosion at BP oil refinery in northwestern Indiana along Lake Michigan rattled nearby homes and sparked a fire that was later extinguished, but it didn't cause any major injuries or halt production at the facility, a company official said Thursday.
The explosion Wednesday night at the Whiting refinery, which is just east of Chicago, was caused by "an operational incident" on a processing unit, BP America spokesman Scott Dean said. It happened about 9 p.m. and was extinguished by the plant's fire department within a couple of hours.
One employee was taken to a hospital as a precaution, but was later released, Dean said. Refinery operations were "minimally" affected by the fire, he said.
A lawsuit filed by former contractor Kenneth Abbott and the environmental group Food & Water Watch, claiming that BP misled regulators about the safety of its operations in the Atlantis field in the Gulf of Mexico, has been dismissed by U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes, FuelFix reports.
TORONTO (AP) — The weak safety culture of a now-defunct railway company and poor government oversight were among the many factors that led to an oil train explosion that killed 47 people in Quebec last year, Canada's Transportation Safety Board said in a new report released Tuesday.
TSB chair Wendy Tadros said 18 factors played a role, including a rail company that cut corners and a Canadian regulator that didn't do proper safety audits.
The safety board issued its report 13 months after a runaway train carrying 72 carloads of volatile oil from North Dakota derailed, hurtled down an incline and slammed into downtown Lac-Megantic, Quebec. Several train cars exploded and 40 buildings were leveled, including a popular bar that was filled with revelers enjoying a summer Friday night. The unattended train had been parked overnight on a rail line before it came loose.
SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department said Friday it will file no criminal charges following a four-year investigation into the April 2010 explosion that killed seven workers at the Tesoro Corp. refinery in Anacortes.
The decision was shared with victims' relatives earlier in the day, said Jenny Durkan, the U.S. attorney in Seattle.
Prosecutors examined whether criminal environmental and worker safety laws and regulations had been violated, but there was no evidence that reached the "exacting bar for criminal prosecution," Durkan said in a news release.
The Department of Transportation’s plan to improve oil train safety figures that old tank cars barred from carrying Bakken crude could be recycled for use transporting Canadian tar sands oil, but industry experts have dismissed that idea as unfeasible, Reuters reports.
The plan released by the Department of Transportation to improve oil train safety would have 15,000 older tank cars converted to carrying Canadian tar sands oil without performing any major retrofits, a prospect that alarms environmental campaigners, E&E reports.
A public hearing on possible regulations to require stabilization of volatile Bakken crude before it’s transported will be held by the North Dakota Industrial Commission, The Wall Street Journal reports, noting that top federal officials visiting the state Friday were briefed on the proposal.
The computer model the Environmental Protection Agency uses to test the effects of its Clean Power Plan on grid reliability will likely face challenges from states as well as GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill, E&E reports.
Ethanol and biodiesel RIN generation each dropped more than 1 percent in November, according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency, and advanced biofuel RIN generation plummeted while no RINs were generated at all for cellulosic biofuel during the month, Platts reports.
Response to President Barack Obama’s move to continue a ban on drilling in Bristol Bay was muted, but he may face much more serious opposition from oil companies if he moves to do anything similar in the Beaufort or Chukchi Seas, National Journal reports.
The U.S. should “consider the serious consequences” from its move to impose steep tariffs on Chinese solar panels, the country’s Commerce Ministry said Wednesday, but in a hint that Beijing might be interested in settling a long-running dispute over the issue, the statement urged the U.S. to “appropriately manage trade frictions,” The New York Times reports.
Solar panels and engineering services to build a 131-megawatt facility in Georgia will come from First Solar, according to an announcement from Southern Co., which says the farm should come online in the fourth quarter of 2016, Bloomberg reports.
Grupo Fermaca is to build a 262-mile pipeline -– to come online in 2017 -- that will bring U.S. natural gas to northern Mexico, now that the firm has won construction rights in an auction, state power company CFE announced late Tuesday, Platts reports.
Solar generation is poised to take off in Texas, NPR reports, noting that the state is unlikely to follow Spain’s example of heavily subsidizing the industry, and also is likely to use panels rather than the solar towers and mirrors of thermal technology.