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Let’s Be Logical

Gulf Gusher symbolI don’t think that people, including myself, have been calmly accessing what has occurred and what should be done. Too often when you see birds and eggs covered in oil, petroleum covered sea turtles washing up dead, dolphins beaching themselves, you become angry and want to drown boards of directors in their own oil. We must look at this logically to ascertain the correct actions to take.

The Miami Herald says that the Gulf oil spill has ‘perfect precedence’ in 1979 disaster. It was very close, but there was one difference – the water depth.

The Bay of Campeche is only 170 feet deep and has the warmest water in the Gulf. That difference accelerates the evaporation of the oil and increases the ability of the microbes to break it down. Admittedly, other than that the Ixtoc I, the worst accidental oil spill ever, and the Deepwater Horizon blow out followed the same script.

It was something that came to mind when the New York Times decided to print this profile, Expert Is Confident About Sealing Oil Well. Mr. Campbell’s “well yeller” schtick might impress the Times, but the Ixtoc I didn’t listen to Mr. Campbell’s mentor, Red Adair, and continued to flow after Mr. Adair’s attempts to cap it.

Every industry develops through experience what are known as “best practices”. These are the procedures that, if followed, almost guarantee success. The oil business has them and if they had been followed there is a high probability that this accident would never have happened. The record shows a series of things that were done to speed up the process of switching the well from the drilling mode to the production mode. It is fairly obvious that if regulations were written requiring that “best practices” be used when drilling off the coast, the number of spills would be radically reduced.

So, we should require “best practices” be used and continue drilling, right? No, we should ban drilling.

When you look at the abysmal record of those charged with regulating drilling it is obvious that government regulations are not going to work. The oil companies are going to do whatever they want to maximize short term profits and don’t care about fines. If they were interested in the future they would already be using “best practices” to safely create wells that would be productive. The people in charge are only concerned with the price of the stock in their portfolios, and don’t have any reason to be concerned with the long term survival of the company. The management of BP has proved this repeatedly.

Banning drilling off the coast is the only way to prevent what has happened. The oil companies have repeatedly demonstrated that they can’t be trusted and won’t follow the regulations. Banning them is all that is left.

May 25, 2010   2 Comments

It’s What They Do

Wikipedia on A.B. “Tony” Hayward, CEO of BP:

Hayward has stated that his job might be at risk as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, admitting that “We made a few little mistakes early on.” Hayward also called the oil spill “relatively tiny” in comparison with the size of the Gulf of Mexico. During an interview with UK based satellite news television channel Sky News, broadcast on May 17th, 2010 Hayward stated that the environmental impact of the gulf spill will likely be “very very modest.”

McClatchy notes that BP has a long record of legal, ethical violations. [When did corporations have ethics to violate?]

Even the AP is taking notice that BP had a key role in the Exxon Valdez disaster. BP’s role was to screw up so badly in the first 24 hours that Exxon felt compelled to get involved before things got any worse. BP brought the same level of “expertise” to the Gulf.

McClatchy notes that BP’s plans were so bad that Jindal sounding alarm as oil bypasses booms in Louisiana. The oil got to the Louisiana wetlands because the booms weren’t deployed where they were needed, and weren’t maintained. Booms actually will stop floating oil, so they obviously weren’t in place.

The Orlando Sentinel looks at the “why”: Documents show BP chose a less-expensive, less-reliable method for completing well in Gulf oil spill. The key words are “BP chose”. BP was the one making the decisions that others carried out.

If you read the material at the links, this should come as no surprise: BP internal probe focuses on other companies’ work as cause of explosion, oil spill. Halliburton knew it was going to happen and has been covering itself from the beginning which is why they had data recorders on that well. That would indicate that they expected trouble and wanted proof to back up their testimony.

May 25, 2010   14 Comments


May 25, 2010   31 Comments