Two possible reasons for this.
Royalty reduction and Fine reduction
Came by this information via another blogger, who hijacked our country, and it is pretty good stuff!
West Virginia Democrat Nick Rahall, in a letter to Holder this week, asked that the Justice department take “legal action to recover damages owed to the United States for lost royalties.”An 18.75% percent royalty. On the oil it draws from the ground.
The issue of royalties has largely been left aside in the flurry of congressional action since the spill. When a company drills in U.S. waters, it signs a lease with the government and pays royalties for the oil it draws from the ground. Rahall says that the government’s lease with BP stipulates an 18.75% royalty.
Not how much BP actually keeps and or sells. The royalty is on the quantity extracted from the ground
The challenge will be to figure out precisely how much oil has spilled, and thereby how much money the government lost as a result of the spill.
“Although there is no precise figure for the amount of oil and gas flowing from the well, recent government estimates indicate that at least 500,000 barrels of oil and hundreds of millions of cubic feet of natural gas have been lost"
Therefore if BP and the government low ball the figure leaked, BP with the help of the government can avoid paying how much money????
How much in royalties, that quite frankly the US is going to be in desperate need of.
Let's get to fine reduction
According to the linked article their is a fine under the Clean Water act of $4,300 a barrel .
Again, the reason for lowballing estimates of leakage is obvious.
5,000 barrels? 10,000 barrels? 12,000 barrels?
Look at the difference in fines on a daily basis?
$21,500,000.00 daily or $43,000,000.00 daily or $51,600,000 daily
BP has had a vested interest all along in misleading how much oil they were taking, to avoid paying royalties.
Taking this all a bit further to some additional information-
Once this oil contaminates other shores...will there be lawsuits against the US government along with BP?
Is it possible that US could be sued based on the fact they did not enforce the necessary standards surrounding the oil extraction? Safety standards for example?
How lax was the scandal-ridden Minerals Management Service's oversight of offshore drilling? I am of the mind, that the US better get all they can from BP in the way of royalties and fines, they will need every penny.