I’ve read and heard a lot of things about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. For three months, I’ve been absorbing news. I read a blog post predicting the end of Humanity from a fractured Gulf spewing Methane into massive tidal waves. I heard that some politician went swimming in the gulf to prove there was no oil problem, ala the mayor of Amity in Jaws. Once the oil spill got mixed up in the internet/cable news blender, only a couple things stood out for me.
I heard a Congressman apologize to BP for creating a 20 billion dollar fund to reimburse people affected by the spill. My mind sputters with outrage trying to write something, so insert what you thought of it.
This ecological disaster will take a decade to even understand, and perhaps a generation to fix. That was the planned operating lifetime of the Deepwater Horizon.
BP, indeed the entire oil industry, is drilling wells in areas that are outside their emergency response capability. I mean, come on, did BP executives donate the golf balls they ground up to shove down that hole? Once, when I was a kid, we set off a couple firecrackers in the driveway. They shot right into a bush and set it on fire. We ran around until the fire went out by itself. I feel like the response to this oil spill has been like us setting off those firecrackers. I would have thought that the subject of emergency response has come up at some point during the development of deep water drilling. I don’t mean celebrity oil separators, but the nuts and bolts conversations that all companies perform every couple years. “What happens if everything breaks?” It’s obvious that BP didn’t even have an informal plan, no engineers standing around the water cooler chatting about capping oil wells. That may have been the inspiration for the caps they’re putting on the well, who knows?
The expense of this spill, the Billions of dollars required to restore just a portion of the Gulf to its former state, represents just a portion of the profit that BP will make in the same period of time. It’s telling that a catastrophe of this magnitude won’t push BP into the red for even one fiscal quarter.