• 1 day Shell Oil Trading Head Steps Down After 29 Years
  • 2 days Higher Oil Prices Reduce North American Oil Bankruptcies
  • 2 days Statoil To Boost Exploration Drilling Offshore Norway In 2018
  • 2 days $1.6 Billion Canadian-US Hydropower Project Approved
  • 2 days Venezuela Officially In Default
  • 2 days Iran Prepares To Export LNG To Boost Trade Relations
  • 2 days Keystone Pipeline Leaks 5,000 Barrels Into Farmland
  • 2 days Saudi Oil Minister: Markets Will Not Rebalance By March
  • 2 days Obscure Dutch Firm Wins Venezuelan Oil Block As Debt Tensions Mount
  • 3 days Rosneft Announces Completion Of World’s Longest Well
  • 3 days Ecuador Won’t Ask Exemption From OPEC Oil Production Cuts
  • 3 days Norway’s $1 Trillion Wealth Fund Proposes To Ditch Oil Stocks
  • 3 days Ecuador Seeks To Clear Schlumberger Debt By End-November
  • 3 days Santos Admits It Rejected $7.2B Takeover Bid
  • 3 days U.S. Senate Panel Votes To Open Alaskan Refuge To Drilling
  • 3 days Africa’s Richest Woman Fired From Sonangol
  • 4 days Oil And Gas M&A Deal Appetite Highest Since 2013
  • 4 days Russian Hackers Target British Energy Industry
  • 4 days Venezuela Signs $3.15B Debt Restructuring Deal With Russia
  • 4 days DOJ: Protestors Interfering With Pipeline Construction Will Be Prosecuted
  • 4 days Lower Oil Prices Benefit European Refiners
  • 4 days World’s Biggest Private Equity Firm Raises $1 Billion To Invest In Oil
  • 5 days Oil Prices Tank After API Reports Strong Build In Crude Inventories
  • 5 days Iraq Oil Revenue Not Enough For Sustainable Development
  • 5 days Sudan In Talks With Foreign Oil Firms To Boost Crude Production
  • 5 days Shell: Four Oil Platforms Shut In Gulf Of Mexico After Fire
  • 5 days OPEC To Recruit New Members To Fight Market Imbalance
  • 5 days Green Groups Want Norway’s Arctic Oil Drilling Licenses Canceled
  • 5 days Venezuelan Oil Output Drops To Lowest In 28 Years
  • 5 days Shale Production Rises By 80,000 BPD In Latest EIA Forecasts
  • 6 days GE Considers Selling Baker Hughes Assets
  • 6 days Eni To Address Barents Sea Regulatory Breaches By Dec 11
  • 6 days Saudi Aramco To Invest $300 Billion In Upstream Projects
  • 6 days Aramco To List Shares In Hong Kong ‘For Sure’
  • 6 days BP CEO Sees Venezuela As Oil’s Wildcard
  • 6 days Iran Denies Involvement In Bahrain Oil Pipeline Blast
  • 8 days The Oil Rig Drilling 10 Miles Under The Sea
  • 9 days Baghdad Agrees To Ship Kirkuk Oil To Iran
  • 9 days Another Group Joins Niger Delta Avengers’ Ceasefire Boycott
  • 9 days Italy Looks To Phase Out Coal-Fired Electricity By 2025
What Russia’s Middle East Strategy Is Really About

What Russia’s Middle East Strategy Is Really About

Moscow’s policy isn’t about becoming…

The Hidden Cost Of Electric Cars

The Hidden Cost Of Electric Cars

As countries across the globe…

New Trial for BP Engineer Involved in Deepwater Horizon

New Trial for BP Engineer Involved in Deepwater Horizon

It seems that the news stemming from the investigation into the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been consistently bad for BP and others involved in the drilling project off the coast of Louisiana.

But on June 30, the British energy giant got a bit of good news. A federal appeals court in New Orleans has agreed to void the conviction of a former engineer for BP and said he is entitled to a new trial on a charge of obstruction of justice related to the investigation of the disaster.

On June 30, the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals agreed with a lower federal court that the 2013 verdict against the defendant, Kurt Mix, was incorrect because the forewoman of the jury had tainted the deliberations. Mix was convicted of obstruction of justice but acquitted of a second count stemming from the probe of the worst spill in U.S. history.

Related: EIA Data Still Doesn’t Add Up

The lower court judge, U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval, Mix’s trial judge, had cleared the defendant because he learned that the forewoman acknowledged that while riding in a courthouse elevator she had heard that other employees of BP also were defendants in the case.

Duval said the forewoman then told her fellow jurors that this conversation had persuaded her that Mix probably was guilty of the obstruction charge.

Clearing Mix was a rare defeat for the U.S. Justice Department, which has based much of its case on holding individuals as well as companies criminally responsible for the disaster.

The Deepwater Horizon exploded in flames on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers on the rig and gushing an estimated 3.2 million barrels of oil into the Gulf. It was capped on July 15.

Related: Arctic Drilling Future Now Rests On One Well

During his trial, prosecutors persuaded the jury that Mix had deleted hundreds of messages about the amount of that was being spewed into the Gulf. After Mix was cleared, the Justice Department continued to argue that the evidence against the defendant was “substantial.”

The prosecutors also argued that the conversation the jury forewoman overheard in the courthouse elevator was “innocuous.” In any case, they said, anything she may have passed on to fellow jurors was irrelevant because Duval had instructed the jury to disregard any statements that were not part of the trial proceeding itself.

In her opinion for the three-member federal appeals panel, Circuit Judge Edith Brown Clement wrote, “During a deadlock in deliberations, [the forewoman] told the rest of the jury that she had overheard something that increased her confidence in voting guilty. Other members of the jury prevented her from revealing what she had overheard.”

Related: Why Geothermal Energy Will Remain A Small Player

Nevertheless, the forewoman “purposely exerted an extrinsic influence on the rest of the jury by telling them that she had overheard something,” Clement wrote. As a result, her opinion said, “The district court ordered a new trial based on the jury’s exposure to extrinsic evidence.”

This was the second ray of good news for BP in the past month. On June 5, a federal jury in New Orleans acquitted David Rainey, BP’s former vice president of exploration, of lying about the amount of oil the accident had spilled into the Gulf. Rainey had been accused of trying to lessen BP’s liability by deliberately minimizing the flow rate of oil from the leaking underwater oil well.

By Andy Tully Of Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • thedeepoceans on July 03 2015 said:
    Read "Licensed to Lie" and you will understand how the procecutors in the DOJ work relentlessy going after the indicted regardless of evidence and witholding Brady material to obtain a guilty verdict.

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News