Pennsylvania DEP Denies Allegations It Skewed Water Tests

A Pennsylvania lawmaker is calling for federal and state authorities to investigate the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), alleging that it committed fraud and misconduct when it tested water supplies suspected of being tainted by natural gas drilling.

November 5, 2012

Industry Briefs

BP plc has filed a lawsuit against Halliburton Co., claiming that the oilfield service operator’s “misconduct” contributed to the April 2010 blowout of the Macondo well and explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico. BP also has filed claims against Deepwater Horizon owner and operator Transocean Ltd., as well as Cameron International, which manufactured the well’s blowout preventer. BP said the presidential commission investigating the disaster had concluded that the cement slurry designed, mixed and pumped by Halliburton failed, and that results of the failed tests were not provided, which caused technicians to miss “critical signals that hydrocarbons were flowing into the wellbore.” A BP spokesman said the company was not seeking a specific sum from Halliburton but would ask for damages up to the total cost of the spill. BP is seeking at least $40 billion in damages from Transocean and seeks to force Cameron to contribute “all or part of the damages” that may be levied against BP by the U.S. government.

April 25, 2011

Former MMS Official Pleads Guilty to Contract Wrongdoing

Within days of the disclosure of drug usage, inappropriate sexual activity and contract misconduct at the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service (MMS), a former deputy associate Monday pleaded guilty to a felony violation of the restrictions on post-government employment that involved the illegal awarding of a contract to a company of a retired agency colleague (see Daily GPI, Sept. 11).

September 17, 2008

Nicor Terminates Four Employees for Possible PBR Misconduct

Stung by reduced demand, natural gas distributor Nicor Inc. reported an 18% decline in second quarter profit on Monday. The company also revealed that it has terminated four employees in connection with their involvement in “potentially fraudulent” conduct in its performance-based rate (PBR) gas supply program that may have violated Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules.

August 10, 2004

Avista Cleared of Any Trading Misconduct

After several years of added time and legal costs, Avista Corp. received a formal decision Wednesday from FERC that the company’s utility and trading units had not manipulated wholesale energy markets during the western crisis of 2000-2001. The regulators approved their trial staff’s conclusion of no wrongdoing.

April 15, 2004