What new procedures/routines/safeguards have been/are being put in place to prevent such an accident from happening again?
Safety is and has always been of paramount importance to BP. Since April 2010, BP has made a number of safety enhancements. For example, the company introduced a stronger, company-wide safety and operational risk organization, staffed by safety experts who set standards and have broad powers to approve appointments to safety-critical roles and stop work if necessary. In addition, BP has enhanced its internal standards and practices for drilling, and has built the state-of-the-art Houston Monitoring Center, which provides additional monitoring support and resources to rig crews, who have primary responsibility for monitoring BP assets in the Gulf of Mexico., h
What has BP done to remedy any damage to the environment?
From the beginning, BP worked under the direction of the Unified Command to fight the spill and minimize its impact on the environment and human health by containing, removing and dispersing the oil offshore, and by implementing strategies to protect the shoreline and clean up oil that came ashore. BP has spent more than $14 billion and 70 million personnel hours on response and clean-up activities. No company has done more, faster, to respond to an industrial accident.
Since approving the Shoreline Cleanup Completion Plan in November 2011, the US Coast Guard’s Federal On-Scene Coordinator has declared Removal Actions Deemed Complete for all but nine of the approximately 4,400 shoreline miles in the area of response, meaning operational activity has ended. The remaining nine miles are in Louisiana and are pending administrative action by the Coast Guard. BP remains committed and prepared to address potential residual oil even after removal actions are deemed complete. Following long-standing protocols established under the law, the Coast Guard will investigate reports of oil received by the National Response Center (NRC) and will direct BP to respond if it determines the oil is from the Macondo well and is actionable.
Since May 2010, more than 240 initial and amended work plans have been developed to study resources and habitat by state and federal trustees and BP through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process. The study data will inform an assessment of injury to natural resources in the Gulf of Mexico and the development of a restoration plan to mitigate the identified injuries. By the end of 2013, BP had paid more than $1 billion to support the assessment process.
To accelerate environmental restoration efforts in the Gulf, BP voluntarily committed up to $1 billion to fund early restoration projects while the assessment work is being completed. To date, BP and the trustees have reached agreement or agreement in principle on a total of 54 early restoration project that are expected to cost approximately $698 million, including 10 projects that were approved in 2012 and are already under way.
BP also is supporting economic recovery efforts along the Gulf Coast by paying legitimate claims and supporting two of the region’s most vital industries – tourism and seafood. As of February 28, 2014, BP had paid $12.9 billion in claims, advances, settlements and other payments. This includes $11.1 billion for individual and business claims; just under $1.5 billion for government claims, advances and civil settlements; and $329 million for other payments such as tourism promotion, seafood testing and marketing, and behavioral health. The majority of these payments have come from the $20 billion trust BP established in 2010 to pay claims, settlements, natural resource damages and other costs. The trust has been fully funded.
The Gulf tourism industry has seen a strong rebound. Many of the tourism records that were broken in 2011, the year after the spill, were surpassed again in 2012. BP is supporting Gulf Coast tourism through the payment of $179 million for state-led tourism campaigns. In addition, BP launched an advertising campaign that complemented these efforts by promoting tourism across the entire Gulf Coast. BP is also providing another $57 million to non-profit groups and government entities across the Gulf Coast to promote the tourism and seafood industries. These grants are part of the settlement agreement reached between BP and the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee.
Many experts believe Gulf of Mexico seafood is making a strong recovery. Preliminary data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) indicate that recreational fishing continued to recover in 2012 and 2013, following a strong year in 2011. According to NOAA’s preliminary data, recreational fishing landings (fish brought to shore) in the Gulf of Mexico during 2012 were approximately 3 percent higher than the annual average from 2007-2009. During the first 10 months of 2013, recreational harvests were 31 percent higher than the average over the same period in 2007-2009. In addition to resolving legitimate claims made by those in the fishing and seafood processing industry, BP has paid or committed to pay $82 million to Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi for state-led seafood testing and marketing programs.
According to commercial landings information, Gulf seafood is available in numbers comparable to pre-accident levels. In fact, according to data from NOAA, commercial seafood landings in the Gulf in 2011 were higher than any other year in the last decade. These results varied based on individual species and states.
What is left to be done for the environment?
The data from the ongoing Natural Resource Damage Assessment will inform an assessment of injury to natural resources in the Gulf of Mexico and the development of a restoration plan to mitigate the identified injuries.
Through the landmark Early Restoration Framework Agreement signed with state and federal Trustees in April 2011, BP is funding up to $1 billion in early restoration projects to speed the recovery of natural resources in the Gulf that were injured as a result of the accident. To date, BP has reached agreement or agreements in principle with the Trustees on 54 projects representing approximately $698 million, including both ecological and human use (recreational) projects.
The agreement between BP and the Trustees makes it possible for restoration to begin at an earlier stage of the NRD process than usual. NRD restoration projects are typically funded only after the NRD assessment is complete and a final settlement has been reached or a final court judgment has been entered. This process often takes many years, and restoration is often delayed during that time. The early restoration framework agreement allows the parties to expedite projects to restore, replace or acquire the equivalent of injured natural resources in the Gulf soon after an injury is identified, reducing the time needed to achieve restoration of those resources.
More information is available at http://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/gulf-of-mexico-restoration/restoring-the-environment.html.
How has the disaster affected BP as a company?
As BP’s chief executive, Bob Dudley, said in a speech in April 2013, the accident caused BP “to look afresh at everything we do in BP, not only safety, but also how we create value in a way that is sustainable over many decades.” More information is available at:
What reaction does BP have to the compensation awards given so far?
From the outset, BP stepped up, acknowledged its role, and committed to do the right thing. The company has kept its word, having already paid more than $26 billion on response, clean-up and claims. While we are willing to pay legitimate claims, we did not agree to pay for fictitious losses or losses that are not related to the spill. In challenging misinterpretations of the settlement agreement, we are defending our rights and ensuring that our commitment is not twisted or exploited. We owe it to our shareholders and employees to do so, and we believe that the unmooring of the settlement from the express terms of the agreement likely changes the calculus other businesses will consider when deciding whether to settle or litigate.