Closing the barn door after the oil’s out

Most of what I know about offshore drilling, I’ve learned in the last 10 days or so, thanks to BP (British Petroleum) and the news media. And I’ve already posted several times about BP and their current oil “spill” (more like a wide-open, gushing tap) in the Gulf of Mexico.

I have several questions for BP, all other companies drilling offshore, and whatever U.S. regulatory agencies are in charge:

Why aren’t there more fail-safe mechanisms on offshore wells? Sure, redundancies add expense, but compare that to the cost of the current event. I don’t know how many redundancies and backup systems are necessary, but obviously there weren’t enough on BP’s Deepwater Horizon platform. Since one blowout preventer on that well wasn’t enough, let’s require two per well.

BP is building a “dome” to lower onto the wellhead and capture the escaping oil. If this is a workable idea, why wasn’t such a dome already in place? Let’s require a permanent dome on every well, before and in anticipation of any possible leaks.

If floating booms are good for corralling oil slicks, why not require a permanent boom around every drilling platform? Why wait to deploy them until after the oil has spread and drifted well away from the platform and toward our coasts?

I’ve heard reports that there are caps on BP’s liability for damage from the current spill. Why? Why on earth should anyone other than BP be responsible for BP’s mess? There should be no caps, no limits. If BP goes bankrupt cleaning up the current spill, restoring the damaged environment, compensating the lost livelihoods, etc., so be it. And let it serve as an example to anyone else wanting to drill offshore. How utterly absurd to cap liability when the potential for damage exceeds any worst-case scenario.

There are lessons to be learned from this disaster, and once learned, they should be applied to every offshore well, present and future.


Related Pied Type posts:

3 thoughts on “Closing the barn door after the oil’s out

  1. This is a total clusterfuck from an environmental and ethical standpoint.
    I found it sadly ironic that BP now has the highest pump prices on gas in the nation.
    God help the animals . . . and us.
    I’ve said prayers already . . .
    I’ve pretty much cried myself out on this already, and it’s only just beginning …

  2. Libertarians have been asking why businesses aren’t completely and totally responsible for both their successes as well as their failures for many, many years.

    Although the BP tragedy is front and center of our collective eyes, it isn’t that different from our current monetary crisis. Businesses (such as banks and other lending guaranteeing institutions) aren’t held completely and totally responsible for their actions and so they take chances they would NOT take if they knew they would be entirely responsible for their failures.

    I’m not particularly blaming the current or recently past administrations, or the current and recently past because this problem has been brewing ever since creation of the FED, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FDIC. The BP fiasco and the currency crisis aren’t the problem… they are only symptoms of the problem.

    Facing the problems created by the perception that irresponsibility isn’t punished is like the child who covers their eyes in the belief that if they can’t see, then they can’t be seen. Talk about rewarding failure, does anybody believe that GM paid back it’s loan in full and 5 years ahead of schedule? We need to open our eyes cause they’re still lying and still printing money.
    I’ve ranted before about rewarding irresponsibility, and probably will again. It’s a topic guaranteed to raise my ire and my blood pressure. Silly me, I’m old-fashioned enough to think responsible people and, by extension, responsible companies, should be just that — responsible. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need laws to make this happen. This, of course, is not an ideal world, and our lawmakers are just as irresponsible as anyone else. Depressing, isn’t it?

    Don’t get me started on GM again. It’s bad enough they were bailed out. Now they’re lying about paying back the money. Such arrogance!

    ‘Scuse me while I go lie down. I feel a headache coming on.

  3. I meant to add that I’m not blaming the current or recently past legislatures. Somehow I got sidetracked. Of course the current and recently past political hacks haven’t done anything to stem the tide of irresponsible behavior either.

... and that's my two cents