U.S. Allows BP to Bid on Gulf of Mexico Leases
After debates among the Obama administration, it has been announced that BP will be allowed to bid on new oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico, despite the numerous safety and environmental regulations that were violated contributing to the Deepwater Horizon explosion in April 2010.
Michael Bromwich, head of the recently coined Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, discussed that the committee was reviewing findings of the investigation and said it boiled down to a question of whether or not the administrative death penalty based on one incident was appropriate. He said that the committee viewed it as inappropriate, even though BP’s previous leases and neglect cause the worst maritime oil spill in the history of the United States killing 11 people and affecting millions.
BP has been working very hard to polish their tarnished reputation, with a reputed $7Billion in compensation claims coming from BP’s pocket. They are expected to pay out another $20Billion in fines under the Clean Water Act, as well as additional fines under the Department of Interior. Vice President of BP America told members of Congress when the bid was opened to the company that they believe they now have the necessary systems and capabilities in place to continue safety enhancements of deepwater drilling. Another golden ticket for BP arose this week at the announcement of a $7Billion project for an oil field off the Scottish coast that was just approved by British authorities.
Environmentalists are sharply criticizing the decision of the US government, saying that it is way too soon to let BP back into the Gulf, and that they simply do not deserve the benefit of the doubt.
The first scheduled auction of offshore leases post-Deepwater Horizon will open two million acres of the western Gulf of Mexico for exploration and drilling for sale in December. DOT says production of these leases could reach 420 million barrels of oil, and 2.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.