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OFFSHORE DRILLING:

Gulf drillers coalition says it has doubled spill-response capacity

HOUSTON -- An offshore spill response consortium formed in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig disaster announced a significant expansion of its capabilities yesterday.

Helix Well Containment Group, HWCG, a partnership of 16 companies active in deepwater Gulf of Mexico oil and gas exploration, says it has added additional capacity to equipment designed to capture and process crude oil and natural gas escaping from a busted offshore well. The expansion amounts to a doubling of the group's initial spill-response capacity.

OFFSHORE DRILLING:

Former watchdog -- 'Public Enemy No. 1' -- returns to the Gulf

NEW ORLEANS -- Michael Bromwich is used to making enemies on the job.

He was on the team of federal prosecutors that investigated alleged criminal misconduct in the aftermath of the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980s; he spent five years as the Justice Department's internal watchdog; then he became President Obama's top drilling regulator, tasked in 2010 with overhauling offshore drilling rules and oversight after the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon spill.

That job made him so unpopular along the Gulf Coast, he joked, that he only recently has been welcomed back.

OFFSHORE DRILLING:

Oil starts flowing from Shell's ramped-up Gulf project

HOUSTON -- Royal Dutch Shell PLC announced the startup of its second major new offshore project in the Gulf of Mexico yesterday.

The company says it is producing first oil from Cardamom, a subsea development that's tied back to Shell's Auger platform. Shell officials said the project was aided by advancements in seismic imaging and a project to retrofit Auger to handle the new volumes of crude oil that will flow through it in the coming decades.

OFFSHORE DRILLING:

Ruling detailing BP's 'reckless' actions scrambles Gulf spill litigation

HOUSTON -- Citing a pattern of recklessness on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig leading up to the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a federal district judge yesterday found BP PLC guilty of gross negligence.

In issuing his long-awaited ruling in the first phase of the oil spill trial, Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans found BP, one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world, guilty of "gross negligence" in the actions it took leading up to the disaster, which killed 11 crew members and destroyed a giant offshore rig.

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About this report

The sunken oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico is the worst oil spill in U.S. history. E&E examines the response to the spill, the politics of offshore drilling, and the aftermath for Gulf species and industries.

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Natural Resources

Response