Environmental law

These problems led the Horizon rig into an explosion, and the fire lasted for approximately 36 hours and sank the platform. As a consequence, eleven workers died and others got injured, and more than 4 million barrels of oil were spilled into the sea because it took the company more than 80 days to stop the leak (Achenbach & Fahrenthold, 2010) because of the lack of well-trained personnel in deepwater containments and the lack of high technology equipment.

Solving the Problem To solve the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, BP brought the best engineers and equipment in the world to work on the accident, but by the time the company stopped the leak, the spilled oil damaged the Gulf’s ecosystem.

As a result of this catastrophe, the bordering gulf states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida suffered the biggest impact to their economies, having as a consequence the loss of jobs in the coastal cities and a severe damage in the seafood industry. Due to the accident, BP took responsibility for the clean-up of the area, offshore and onshore. By working in conjunction with more than 47,000 federal, state, and local responders, and the latest technology in cleaning equipment, the affected area was almost cleaned one year after the catastrophe.

Most of the workers who lost their jobs during the drill ban along the coastline, as well as whose principal activity was fishing joined the organizations in charge to help clean-up the disaster. In addition, the company worked with federal and state agencies in different projects to restore natural resources in the Gulf of Mexico, and provided up to one billion dollars to fund these activities to keep improving the environment in the damaged area of the Gulf of Mexico. To assist in the recovery of the economy of those states affected in the area, BP is working through a variety of programs. Some of these plans included more than $170 million in four years to promote tourism in the four states of the Gulf coast.

Another program in which the corporation is involved is the seafood in the Gulf, and it is supporting this industry through programs that are monitoring, testing, and supporting seafood; hence, the seafood industry will restore confidence in consumers by promoting that Gulf’s seafood exceeds U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) safety guidelines. As a result, these programs have been helping in the restoration of jobs for all the commercial fishing companies. In addition to these programs, the corporation has been supporting the population affected in the gulf area using funds for community development, unemployed rig workers, labor force training, and educational initiatives.

Furthermore, a $20 billion trust was established in agreement with U.S. authorities to provide confidence that funds will be available to satisfy all the possible claims, settlement litigations and assorted costs due to the Deepwater Horizon accident (Dudley, 2011). With these supporting programs, BP has decided to keep improving the affected area in the long term, helping the environment as well as contribute to the development of the Gulf of Mexico community to continue working together.

Plans to Keep Drilling in Deepwater Based on the lessons learned from Deepwater Horizon tragedy, BP is operating three deepwater fields in the Gulf of Mexico, Marlin, Horn Mountain, and Na Kika. At this time, the company has improved their safety guidelines exceeding the U.S. and worldwide mandatory regulations. Its new measures have been applied in all its operations in the different wells over the world. Some of the new strategies to perform safety drilling operations are the improved blowout preventers (BOP) which come with more technology, a third party verification company to test and give maintenance to the BOP, rig audits, and superior standards in different operations as a quick offshore spill response, cementing, capping and containment procedures.

Court Case The catastrophe originated several lawsuits, class actions, and individual claims for personal injury, property damages, and economic loss against BP P.L.C., Transocean Ltd., and Halliburton Co. Therefore, in August 2010, in Louisiana, the judicial panel on multidistrict litigation (JPML) integrated all federal actions and assigned to the United States District Court Eastern District of Louisiana pursuant to “28 U.S.C. § 1407. See In re Oil Spill of the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, MDL No. 2179, 731 F. Supp. 2d 1352 (J.P.M.L. 2010)” (MDL-2179, 2013) in order to judge the degree of culpability each corporation should face for

the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The trial is on phase one, and it has been heard by the Judge Carl Barbier. The lawyers have argued negligence by the companies, and are trying to reach the most favorable agreement for their clients. Thus, with different agreements and negotiations, the Court has approved settlements to provide remedies for the economic and property damages, and the medical benefits in accordance to the General Maritime Law, Clean Water Act, Oil Pollution Act.

Some of the claims include: gross negligence, deliberate misconduct, strict liability, negligence per se, and nuisance. In addition, the court made this decision in order to avoid a twenty years of litigation like it took to the similar case of Exxon Valdez and Amoco Cadiz oil spill in Alaska.

An according to the court (MDL 2179, 2013), the settlements include the following agreements, a seafood compensation program, economic and subsistence damage compensation, a VoO charter payment, vessel physical damage reparation, coastal and wetlands real property damage, real property sales compensation, medical benefits, and a health outreach program. However, the court is starting the post-trial process, and has already order to the parties to submit their post-trial briefs and possible appeals in case that they do not agree in one or some of the parts of the agreements, and the reasons about the company’s liability according to the law.

Ethical Issue In my opinion, BP did wrong because the company had the opportunity to avoid the accident. However, the company tried to save money by lowering costs and having old and cheap equipment, and unsupervised personnel; consequently, the accident was inevitable and cause a big impact in the environment. Also, the company has all the resources to make tests, and be ready for accidents like the one in the Gulf of Mexico; however, the company did use its budget, and it took months to find the answer and stop the spill.

In addition, I think that the United States agencies that are in charge of authorizing deepwater drilling operations did wrong because they did not measure the risk, and did update their requirements. Consequently, BP obtained a permit to drill in deepwater without the real requirements, a catastrophe happened, and the United States citizens are paying the consequences.

I think that ethically, BP is doing a good effort to BP P.L.C. is a company that has been in the energy business for more than a century. This corporation has been improving its operations in different parts of the world thanks to its constant research, and it has become a world leader as an oil and gas producer. Also, it is one of the pioneers in deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and it is the largest lease holder in the United States with more than 650 lease blocks in waters greater than 1,250 feet. Unfortunately, BP had the record of the biggest oil spill in the area.

On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon rig operating in the Gulf of Mexico experienced a well blowout which sank the platform and resulted in the release of oil into the Gulf, a great catastrophe for the environment that the company and the world will not forget.

In this paper, we are going to study the legal consequences for the company, and the ethical considerations for this disaster. Hence, we are going to analyze how the organization took a risk with its deepwater drilling, what the company did to solve the problem, how it plans to keep drilling in deepwater using new safety precautions, how the court is developing the case, and the ethical considerations in future operations.

BP Drilling in Deepwater BP took the initiative to drill in deepwater because of its global experience, the extent of its discoveries in the area, and its presence in the Gulf of Mexico for more than 25 years. Furthermore, BP had the technology, workforce, and all the requirements under the United States law to perform the activity. According to BP P.C.L., the Deepwater Horizon accident was caused because the blowout preventer equipment (BOP) couldn’t control the flow of oil and gas and its emergency functions failed. Because of this, the personnel working at that time couldnot avert the tragedy.

However, according to investigations made by the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, the agency that oversees deepwater drilling, they found that rig workers ignored signs that the well was getting close to an uncontrolled blowout, and the catastrophe could have been prevented. In addition, BP was criticized because the well design was a cheap one which could enhance risks while running operations (Gold, 2010).

the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The trial is on phase one, and it has been heard by the Judge Carl Barbier. The lawyers have argued negligence by the companies, and are trying to reach the most favorable agreement for their clients. Thus, with different agreements and negotiations, the Court has approved settlements to provide remedies for the economic and property damages, and the medical benefits in accordance to the General Maritime Law, Clean Water Act, Oil Pollution Act.

Some of the claims include: gross negligence, deliberate misconduct, strict liability, negligence per se, and nuisance. In addition, the court made this decision in order to avoid a twenty years of litigation like it took to the similar case of Exxon Valdez and Amoco Cadiz oil spill in Alaska.

An according to the court (MDL 2179, 2013), the settlements include the following agreements, a seafood compensation program, economic and subsistence damage compensation, a VoO charter payment, vessel physical damage reparation, coastal and wetlands real property damage, real property sales compensation, medical benefits, and a health outreach program. However, the court is starting the post-trial process, and has already order to the parties to submit their post-trial briefs and possible appeals in case that they do not agree in one or some of the parts of the agreements, and the reasons about the company’s liability according to the law.

Ethical Issue In my opinion, BP did wrong because the company had the opportunity to avoid the accident. However, the company tried to save money by lowering costs and having old and cheap equipment, and unsupervised personnel; consequently, the accident was inevitable and cause a big impact in the environment.

Also, the company has all the resources to make tests, and be ready for accidents like the one in the Gulf of Mexico; however, the company did use its budget, and it took months to find the answer and stop the spill. In addition, I think that the United States agencies that are in charge of authorizing deepwater drilling operations did wrong because they did not measure the risk, and did update their requirements. Consequently, BP obtained a permit to drill in deepwater without the real requirements, a catastrophe happened, and the United States citizens are paying the consequences.

I think that ethically, BP is doing a good effort to support the community; however, I will not allow BP to make business in the United States as a punishment. However, we have to follow the law, and according to the law, if the company meets all the requirements, BP is more than welcome to make business. In conclusion, the initiative of drilling in deepwater taken by BP P.L.C. gave the company and all the oil industry a lesson to learn.

The accident in Deepwater Horizon was a tragedy from which all the oil drilling companies learned because it was one of the biggest spills in the world, and there were not companies with the resources or the knowledge to contain it.

During the accident, the organization implemented new strategies to stop the leak and reunited the best engineers in the world to attain ideas about possible solutions. Lamentably it took so long, people died, a big damaged in the environment was caused, and the economy of the boarding states was hurt because of the spilled oil in the gulf coast. Consequently, BP took the responsibility and is paying the consequences by facing a trial, is committed with the U.S. to help the restoration of the Gulf of Mexico, and is supporting different programs to improve the communities involved.

Additionally, studies have shown that oil supplies in deepwater are the ones that are going to be needed in the future. Because of this, oil companies are starting to invest in deepwater drilling, and BP as a global leader is a pioneer. Thus, the organization enhanced its safety operations, applied them worldwide and it is already drilling in deepwater in different countries.

In future initiatives, these types of accidents will be diminished due to the effort of the oil companies to increase safety guidelines, acquire better equipment, prepare its personnel for any possible situation and share information between the different companies over the world. Furthermore, countries supporting deepwater drilling will have to modify their environmental law in order to protect the country’s population, the ecosystem, and their economy; hence, these modifications to the environmental law will help to avoid big environmental and human catastrophes.

References Achenbach J. & Fahrenthold D.A. (2010, August 3) Oil spill dumped 4.9 million barrels into Gulf of Mexico, latest measure shows. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/02/AR2010080204695.html Dudley, B. (2011, April 19) The Lessons of Deepwater Horizon; Changing BP alone is not enough--the entire oil industry has to make better preparation for the possibility of future spills.

The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.stedwards.edu:5000/wallstreetjournal/docview/862562168/135D64EB5594B7FF8B5/13?accountid=7075 Fowler, T. (2013, Apr 18). Corporate news: Testimony ends in BP trial --- judge to assess civil culpability for energy firms in deepwater horizon disaster.

Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https://ezproxy.stedwards.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1328220381?accountid=7075 Gold, R. (2010, Jul 19). Rig's final hours probed --- spill investigators focus on 20 'anomalies' aboard doomed deepwater horizon. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https://ezproxy.stedwards.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/613624174?accountid=7075 MDL No. 2179 (2013). In Re: Oil spill by the oil rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, on APRIL 20, 2010. United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, 2010