You may recall that last week the possibility of Hurricane Isaac stirring up oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster was being debated. Unfortunately, it looks like the debate is over and the pessimists have won. The Associated Press reports that oil and tar balls have been reported in Louisiana, Missisippi, and Alabama as the storm surges and floodwaters from Isaac have receded. In Louisiana, 13 miles of beach were closed due to the presence of oil and fishing was restricted around the closed area. Samples of oil from both Louisiana and Alabama are being tested to determine whether they are a match to the oil from the BP spill. The Huffington Post noted that areas of Florida and Texas are also reporting the presence of oil. While the origins of all the reported oil have yet to be determined, things are not looking good for BP. Incidentally, the company moved last week to donate $1 million to the areas of Louisiana and Missisippi that were damaged by Hurricane Isaac. But if the new oil is found to have originated with the Deepwater Horizon, BP may have to pull out its wallet yet again.
Archive for the ‘BP’ Category
Though much of the world seems to have moved on from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the struggle continues along the Gulf of Mexico. Last week, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) announced its final rules governing payment options and final payment methodology after receiving more than 1,440 comments from individuals and businesses. These comments range from pleas to move forward quickly to a 24-page comment from BP PLC itself, saying that Kenneth Feinberg’s allocation of the $20 billion damages fund has been overly generous.
In a recent press release, the Gulf Coast Restoration and Protection Foundation announced that qualified workers will have a second opportunity to apply for financial assistance this spring, stating that “up to 9,000 people might qualify for awards ranging from $3,000-30,000.”
There is another mammalian population that seems to be suffering from the fallout of the spill that cannot even apply for restitution. The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) announced this week that dead baby dolphins have been washing ashore at ten times the normal rate. Some 26 dolphins, many aborted before they reached maturity, have been found along the Mississippi and Alabama coastlines in recent weeks.
Though experts have not officially linked the spike in death rates to the oil spill, this is the first birthing season for dolphins since the oil spill last year. As institute director Moby Solangi told reporters, “this is more than just a coincidence.”
Mortality rates in the Gulf Coast dolphin population tripled last year; with a gestation period of 11 to 12 months, the baby dolphins now being found were conceived at least two months before the Deepwater Horizon exploded.
Meanwhile, in light of the continued unrest in Libya (the world’s 17th-largest oil producer) and the surrounding area, key House Republicans are urging the Obama Administration to move forward with the issuing of offshore oil-and-gas drilling permits. BP has announced this week that it will pay $7.2 billion for a stake in India’s rapidly expanding oil industry; the historic partnership with Reliance Industries Limited is slated to combine Reliance’s project management expertise “with BP’s world-class deepwater exploration and development capabilities.”
The Hill’s E2-Wire blog reported yesterday on updated payment options available to Deepwater Horizon claimants.
The Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) is a facility that manages claims for costs and damages incurred as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. BP contributes funds to an account that are then distributed by an independent claims administrator.
Emergency payments, which were advance payments to individuals or businesses having financial hardship resulting from the spill, ended November 23, 2010. However, the GCCF just recently indicated that they will soon begin accepting claims for Interim and Final payments. There are three payment options available at this time, which are summarized here.
And what are the payment options?
- VOLUNTARY QUICK PAYMENT FINAL CLAIM
This claim option provides an automatic payment of $5,000 for Individuals or $25,000 for Businesses, with no further review or requirement for additional supporting documentation. However, this option requires claimants to sign a release of liability that prevents them from seeking further compensation from GCCF or in court.
- VOLUNTARY FULL REVIEW FINAL PAYMENT CLAIM
A Full Review Final Payment Claim will be paid in a lump sum single payment for all documented losses and damages, both past and future. A Full Review Final Payment Claim requires complete substantiation and documentation of all damages sustained in the past. This option also requires claimants to sign a release of liability that prevents them from seeking further compensation from GCCF or in court.
- VOLUNTARY INTERIM PAYMENT CLAIM
An Interim Payment Claim may be submitted for past losses and damages incurred as a result of the Spill – and ONLY past damages. For future losses or damages to be evaluated and paid, one must submit a Full Review Final Payment Claim. However, those submitting an Interim claim will not be required to sign a release of liability.
According to E2-Wire, the claims administrator “has encouraged oil spill victims to seek compensation through the GCCF, warning that legal battles could last for years.” As we discussed yesterday, in the case of Exxon Valdez, “years” is no exaggeration. Even BP admits in a 6-K filed last month that “claims and litigation settlements are likely to be paid out over many years to come.”