Forums on deep-water ban planned

Forums planned around region

The first of eight forums to gather information about whether to continue, end or modify the deep-water drilling moratorium will be Wednesday at Tulane University in New Orleans.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement says it will gather expert information about deep-water drilling safety, well containment and oil spill response, as well as comments from federal, state and local leaders.

The agency says it will have other sessions in August and September in Mobile, Ala., Pensacola, Fla., Santa Barbara, Calif., Anchorage, Alaska, Biloxi, Miss., Houston and Lafayette, La.

— ASSOCIATED PRESS

BP denies letter’s negligence claim

BP denied that its general counsel said the company would be found grossly negligent in the oil spill – an acknowledgement attributed to him by Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott in a letter to BP regarding compensation for the spill cleanup.

They said that BP General Counsel Jack Lynch, in an earlier conference call, “acknowledged that gross negligence would be revealed as a cause of the explosion that led to the oil spill.”

A finding of gross negligence could quadruple the fines BP pays for the oil it spilled.

“While BP respects Governor Perry and Attorney General Abbott and appreciates the opportunity to work with them, the recitation in their letter is simply incorrect,” the company said in a statement late Wednesday. “During the May 6, 2010, conference call, neither Jack Lynch nor any other BP representative stated that gross negligence would be revealed as the cause of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy.”

TOM FOWLER

Oil giant objects to being barred

BP objected to legislation that would bar the oil company from operating new drilling leases in U.S. waters, saying it could trigger job losses and threaten the nation’s energy security.

Commenting for the first time on Congress’s response to the oil spill, BP said in a letter to House leaders that the ban in a bill to be taken up today may have a “drastic impact” on a company that is the largest producer in the deep waters of the Gulf.

House and Senate leaders presented legislation Tuesday imposing tougher offshore drilling rules on safety and environmental protection.

BLOOMBERG NEWS