Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What happens if anything goes wrong?

Currently Texan oil cowboys Anadarko are drilling for oil off the Raglan coast. If something goes wrong, we get oil on beaches from Kaipara to New Plymouth. So who pays for the cleanup and consequent economic damage? Not Anadarko, if their past practice is anything to go by:

Shares of Anadarko Petroleum plummeted Friday after a judge ruled that the oil company owes litigants billions due to a fraudulent reorganization designed to avoid environmental liability.


The case stems from a series of corporate restructurings at Kerr McGee Corp. in the early 2000s prior to it being acquired by Anadarko in 2006 for $18 billion.

Kerr McGee, once a leading chemicals firm, is accused of leaving waste sites around the United States, contaminated with uranium contamination, thorium and other toxins that pollute land and water.

Gropper concluded that the restructuring constituted a "fraudulent conveyance" that offloaded more than $1 billion in environmental liabilities to another entity, Tronox Worldwide.

And if Anadarko blows a well in New Zealand waters, we can expect these corporate sociopaths to pull exactly the same stunt here - all in the name of protecting "shareholder value", of course. Which is why we should be demanding not just stronger safety practices, but also upfront liability bonds and insurance: so these scum can't ruin our environment, then laugh all the way to the bank.