Ken Salazar awards one deep water drilling permit … to BP?
posted at 5:45 pm on March 3, 2011 by Bruce McQuain
And here I thought BP was the problem. So the company who had the dysfunctional equipment that was the cause of the Deepwater Horizon blowout is an almost half owner in the Santiago well? Yes, according to AP :
BP Plc, whose Macondo well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history last year, co-owns the well that was granted the first deepwater drilling permit since the disaster.
BP is Noble Energy Inc’s partner in the well, holding a 46.5 percent interest, BP said.
Noble operates the Santiago well that received a permit from U.S. regulators on Monday to resume drilling in the Mississippi Canyon area of the Gulf, about 70 miles (110 km) south of the Louisiana coast.
In an update AP adds that Noble runs the show and makes the drilling decisions.
Hey, if they say so — but we are talking about and almost 47% partner here. Silent? Probably not.
“Given how the people of the Gulf view BP, this drilling partnership could be called ‘Noble meets ignoble’,” said Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the top Democrat on the Natural resources Committee.
“While the optics of this situation contain their own special irony, the reality is that Noble Energy has met the federal government’s necessary metrics for safety and response,” Markey said.
“Irony” doesn’t begin to explain this award of a permit. “Cynical”, “calculating” and “political” all seem appropriate words to add to the mix.
We’re to believe that only BP and Noble got it right and none of the other oil companies have yet?
Probably not. BP and others have been working jointly through their industry association (the American Petroleum Institute) to address the problem. It strains credulity to believe that they’re the only one’s who’ve gotten in right. This is an industry wide problem. API helps establish industry wide standards. The granting of a drilling permit – a single drilling permit – seems more of a cynical and calculated political attempt to relieve pressure on the administration in general and Salazar in particular, as he headed to the Hill to give testimony while gasoline prices head up.
Michael Bromwich, who heads the offshore drilling regulating agency, insisted on on Monday there were “no politics involved” in approving the permit.
Riiiight. Of course there weren’t.
But the irony, regardless, is still inescapable.