Daily Mail, By DAILY MAIL REPORTER, 4th April 2011
Reports that BP will begin drilling in the Gulf of Mexico - less than a year after the worst oil spill in U.S. history - have been rejected today by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.
Media outlets in the United Kingdom reported on Sunday that a deal was about to be struck for BP to resume drilling at existing wells. The company is still reeling from the Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20, 2010 that led to millions of gallons of oil to pour into the Gulf.
‘There is absolutely no such agreement nor would there be such an agreement,’ Salazar said today of a potential deal with BP.
|Disaster: 11 workers were killed and 200 million gallons of oil leaked|
after the Deepwater Horizon well exploded last year
Calling the reported notion that BP would be able to drill a ‘misconception,’ Salazar said that the London-based global oil and gas company will need to undergo the same process to resume drilling as any other companies.
The explosion last April at the Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 workers and leaked 200 million gallons into the ocean.
BP, the largest holder of deepwater acreage in the Gulf of Mexico, is a partner in a well operated by Noble Energy, which has received the first permit to since the drilling ban ended.
Last week Lamar McKay, BP America’s CEO indicated that the company is ‘working constructively’ with regulators to meet new rules.
‘We are encouraged by both verbal and written messages we have gotten from regulators,’ McKay had said according to Reuters.
|Damage: Marsh grass in Barataria Bay, Louisiana, is still clogged|
with oil after the massive Gulf of Mexico spill
|Impact: A brown pelican covered in oil at East Grand Terre Island.|
BP hopes to restart deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico later this year
A source close to the company said: 'BP is hoping to resume drilling in the summer once it shows it can satisfy applicable regulatory conditions, as set out by the U.S. offshore regulator.'
Today Salazar took the opportunity to also publicly condemned rig operator Transocean for rewarded its top executives with 'safety' bonuses.
Transocean has given staff big payouts for achieving the 'best year in safety performance in our company's history.'
THE SPILL IN NUMBERS
- 4.9million - Number of barrels of oil leaked from the Deepwater Horizon well
- 6.2million - Number of gallons of oil removed off the Gulf by 830 skimming vessels
- 62,000 - Number of barrels leaking per day when the wellhead broke
- 53,000 - Number of barrels leaking per day when the well was capped on July 15
- $41billion - Amount BP is spending on cleaning up the spill and to cover damages
‘In my own view, 2010 was probably the greatest year of pain in terms of oil and gas development in the deep water all across the world, especially in the Gulf of Mexico,’ Salazar said today.
Transocean gave it most senior managers, two thirds of the total possible safety bonus, according to papers filed to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
It noted 'the tragic loss of life' in the Gulf, but said the company still had an 'exemplary' safety record because it met or exceeded certain internal safety targets.
William Reilly, co-chairman of the White House commission that investigated the oil spill, said that Transocean's comments were ‘embarrassing’.
‘It's been said with respect to the disaster that some companies just don't get it - I think Transocean just doesn't get it,’ Reilly said.
BP is spending around $41billion on cleaning up the spill and to cover damages, but investigations into the disaster are far from over.
News of the Gulf of Mexico drilling is expected to outrage environmentalists, but comes as a welcome development for the embattled oil firm.
The company is also reeling after a Swedish tribunal last month ruled a £10billion deal between BP and Russia's Rosneft should be put on hold because of a dispute with shareholders at Russian partner TNK-BP.
It has put the group's shares under pressure and led to doubts over chief executive Bob Dudley, who replaced Mr Hayward following the Gulf spill.