U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier found BP and Anadarko,partners in the doomed Macondo project, are automaticallyresponsible under the law for polluting the water because theyowned the well. The 2012 ruling allowed the federal governmentto seek fines of as much as $1,100 per barrel of oil spilled --multiplied by as much as 4.2 million -- without having to provethe issue of liability at trial.
A former BP Plc (BP/) senior engineer whohelped lead efforts to cap the Macondo well as oil gushed intothe Gulf of Mexico in 2010 destroyed evidence sought by the U.S.in a probe of the spill, a federal prosecutor told jurors.
Kurt Mix, charged last year with two counts of obstructionof justice, is the first defendant in a criminal case over thespill to face a jury. He is accused of deleting from his mobilephone text messages and voice mails related to the disaster,including one in which he said the spill was bigger than thecompany said it was.
BP Plc’s (BP/) suspension from all new U.S.government contracts in the wake of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oilspill unfairly harms the global economy and punishes companyaffiliates that had nothing to do with the disaster, the Britishgovernment argued to a U.S. court.
BP sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Augustover its suspension of 20 BP affiliates along with the U.S.exploration unit, which was responsible for the worst offshorespill in U.S. history.
A former BP Plc (BP/) engineer accused ofdestroying evidence sought by the U.S. for a probe of the 2010Gulf of Mexico oil spill is set to begin trial in the firstcriminal case arising from the disaster to go before a jury.
U.S. prosecutors charged Kurt Mix with two counts ofobstruction of justice last year, alleging he deleted from hismobile phone text messages and voice mails related to thecompany’s effort to estimate the size of the spill.
Opponents of BP Plc (BP/)’s $9.2 billionpartial settlement of private-party claims from the 2010 Gulf ofMexico oil spill are set to ask a U.S. appeals court to reversea judge’s approval of the agreement.
The agreement is unfair and can’t be approved because itinconsistently compensates victims with the same types ofeconomic injuries, opponents of the settlement told the U.S.Court of Appeals in New Orleans in court filings. They will bearguing today for a reversal of U.S.
By Matt Spetalnick
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - From Saudi Arabia to Israel, traditional U.S. allies in the Middle East are beginning to ask: Is America turning its back on us?
President Barack Obama's diplomatic overtures to old foe Iran and his last-minute refusal to attack Syria have officials in Israel, the Gulf countries and Turkey wondering if Washington is deliberately neglecting them to avoid being dragged into a Middle East facing deeper sectarian strife and concerns that Tehran may be seeking a nuclear bomb.
By Warren Strobel
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Forty years after an Arab oil embargo throttled the U.S. economy, surging North American energy production has brought the United States closer to a long-dreamed "energy independence" that is reshaping its goals and role in the Middle East.
On October 17, 1973, OPEC announced an oil embargo against the United States and any other country that supported Israel in the Yom Kippur War. That use of oil as a diplomatic weapon has driven an American yearning for disengagement from the Middle East and its problems ever since.
Such a strategic divorce is unlikely to occur soon, current and former U.S.
By Peter Apps
LONDON (Reuters) - China's likely sale of sophisticated missiles to Turkey over the objections of its NATO allies might have angered Washington and other capitals, but it should not have been a surprise.
Even as the U.S. has spent billions of dollars and lost hundreds of lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, Beijing has been quietly upping its presence in the Middle East.
Militarily, the U.S. - which maintains a permanent aircraft carrier presence near the Gulf as well as dozens of other warships and major bases in Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates - is by far the dominant regional power.
The groundbreaking dialogue between Iran and the U.S. has raised speculation of further advances to ease their 34-year diplomatic estrangement. But the two countries have overlapping interests across the Middle East and beyond that are sharply at odds.
SYRIA: Iran views the regime of President Bashar Assad as a centerpiece of its regional influence. Syria is a critical gateway for supplies to Iran's main anti-Israel force, Hezbollah in Lebanon. Syria also offers Iranian warships a friendly Mediterranean port during their few trips through the Suez Canal. The U.S. has backed the Syrian political opposition, but is wary of the growing presence of rebel fighters inspired by al-Qaida and other extremist ideologies.