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BP plc has asked U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier of the Eastern District Court in New Orleans to reverse his findings or grant a new trial that found the producer grossly negligent for the April 2010 Macondo well blowout (see Daily GPISept. 4). BP claims Barbier used evidence excluded at trial, including an assertion by a witness about compressive forces on cement production casing pumped into the well to adopt a theory that the casing was breached because of debris. The breach allegedly was the source of oil and gas seeping into the well before the blowout. BP wants Barbier to revise the findings and change how much fault is apportioned to Deepwater Horizon rig operator Transocean Ltd. and cement contractor Halliburton Co. or order a new trial to allow BP to "explore the lack of basis for the witness's opinion."

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) responded to a fire that broke out on a natural gas drilling platform in Alaska's Cook Inlet Thursday morning. Four workers were forced to evacuate, but there were no injuries reported and risk to the environment was said to be minimal. The platform is owned by Hilcorp Alaska LLC, which evacuated the workers with its helicopter from the platform, which is eight miles offshore. The fire destroyed the crew's living quarters but was not thought to be related to production activities. A pipeline carrying gas production was also shut in. USCG diverted a Hercules HC-130 crew and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew to conduct an overflight of the Baker Platform in Cook Inlet, near Nikiski. USCG also launched the Cutter Mustang and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter SPAR to the location. A five-mile, no-fly safety zone at 5,000 feet and a two-mile safety zone were established around the platform. "Our goal is to mitigate any potential risk to the environment," said Cmdr. Shane Montoya, USCG federal on-scene coordinator. Houston-based Hilcorp Energy Co. recently acquired BP plc's interest in four operated oilfields on Alaska's North Slope. The transaction expanded the Alaska footprint of privately held Hilcorp beyond the Cook Inlet (see Daily GPIApril 23).

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected two combined heat and power (CHP) cogeneration systems powering industrial facilities in Tennessee and Pennsylvania for Energy Star CHP Awards. General Electric's GE Power & Water-backed systems support Eastman Chemical Co.'s Kingsport, TN, industrial campus and Merck's West Point, PA, drug manufacturing facility. At Kingsport, Eastman operates 17 boilers producing steam to support manufacturing processes, meet space heating/cooling needs in 550 buildings, and drive 19 engines, including 17 GE steam turbine generators. Merck's CoGen3 CHP system is powered by a 38 MW GE 6B heavy-duty natural gas turbine and recovers otherwise-wasted heat to produce steam to heat, cool and dehumidify up to seven million square feet of manufacturing, laboratory and office space.

Dominion East Ohio managed to complete repairs late Thursday on a leaking 30-inch diameter, high-pressure distribution line at a campsite near Canton, OH (see Daily GPIOct. 2). Campers reported the smell of gas late Wednesday, prompting an evacuation of more than 170 people at the site, according to Dominion East Ohio. The company arrived to find the line leaking uncontrollably, and after isolating and digging up the section of affected pipe, crews discovered a nickel-sized hole on the 1972-vintage steel pipe. A metal clamp was installed, and the local fire department lifted the evacuation order late Thursday.

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