The Real Views Online – North Central Louisiana's Multicultural Magazine

serving north central louisiana and sharing it with the world

Ex-BP engineer arrested in Gulf oil spill case

leave a comment »

 

The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — Federal prosecutors brought the first criminal charges Tuesday in the Gulf oil spill, accusing a former BP engineer of deleting more than 300 text messages that indicated the blown-out well was spewing far more crude than the company was telling the public at the time.

Two years and four days after the drilling-rig explosion that set off the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, Kurt Mix, 50, of Katy, Texas, was arrested and charged with two counts of obstruction of justice for allegedly destroying evidence.

The U.S. Justice Department made it clear that the investigation is still going on and suggested that more people could be arrested. In a statement, Attorney General Eric Holder said prosecutors “will hold accountable those who violated the law in connection with the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.”

Federal investigators have been looking into the causes of the blowout and the actions of managers, engineers and rig workers at BP and its subcontractors Halliburton and Transocean in the days and hours before the April 20, 2010, explosion.

But the case against Mix focuses on the aftermath of the blast, when BP scrambled to plug the leak. Even then, the charges are not really about the disaster but about an alleged attempt to thwart the investigation into it.

In court papers, the FBI said one of the areas under investigation is whether the oil company intentionally lowballed the amount of crude spewing from the well.

In outlining the charges, the government suggested Mix knew the rate of flow from the busted well was much greater than the company publicly acknowledged. Prosecutors said BP gave the public an optimistic account of its May 2010 efforts to plug the well via a technique called a “top kill,” even though the company’s

internal data and some of the text messages showed the operation was likely to fail.

An accurate flow-rate estimate is necessary to determine how much in penalties BP and its subcontractors could face under the Clean Water Act. In court papers, prosecutors appeared to suggest the company was also worried about the effect of the disaster on its stock price.

 

Advertisements

Written by demon53

April 25, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: