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Old Comments:

2010-05-04 01:31:34
I couldn't agree more. I live on the Gulf Coast, and though I'd rather not say exactly where, I can tell you that I was lying on my couch reading on the afternoon of March 23, 2005, and my wife was in the kitchen, when we felt a hard window-rattling THUMP similar to a sonic boom. "What the hell was that?" we asked each other, although, in fact, we knew what it probably was. It was an explosion at the BP Texas City refinery, one of the largest in the US. It killed 15 workers and injured dozens more. The report of the subsequent investigation of what went wrong read like a manual on how not to operate a refinery safely, and one of the primary culprits was BP's corporate culture and attitude, which basically boils down to "we know what we're doing, so butt out !" Unless and until we have strict federal regulations of off-shore drilling practices and regulatory agencies with the teeth and muscle to enforce them, we can expect this to happen again. We learned something from Exxon-Valdez: let's hope we're wise enough to learn something from Deepwater Horizon.
2010-05-04 00:02:16
Just an aside - I ** LIVE ** in Louisiana and have all my life. Of the thousands of oil rigs in the gulf of Mexico, I've fished many of them over the years. A properly-functioning rig doesn't leak. A properly designed and maintained rig doesn't leak. The problem here isn't offshore oil drilling, it is BP. BP's history of process safety management is a litany of disasters - Piper Alpha in the North Sea, Texas City, TX, and now this. The causes are several: BP (much like Exxon and other major refining/production companies) are strongly resistant to outside opinions. They don't use outside consultants, and are resistant to technology that isn't invented internally. This attitude prevents learning from others' mistakes. This is why oil companies are 10 or more years behind the chemical industry in process safety. Additionally, oil companies have yet to realize that personal safety is completely separate from process safety. Every refinery in the country proudly displays a sign at the front gate advertising how many hours they have worked without a lost-time accident. This continues until the refinery blows up and kills them all. Day-to-day personal safety is NOT the same as process safety. Until energy companies realize this (not only refineries, but also production companies, and especially pipelines), they will continue to focus on the wrong issues, ensuring future disasters.
2010-05-03 23:23:00
CathodeCathy has a isn't realistic to think we can stop off-shore drilling and production. But the technology exists to make it much less risky and greatly diminish the likelihood of something like the current mess happening again. The North Sea wells, for example, are equipped with redundant state of the art blow-out preventers. The fundamental problem here in the US is that too many of us feel we have a God-given right to drive to work, to the grocery store and to pick up the kids from school in vehicles powerful enough to literally haul a bulldozer up the side of a mountain. We're about 5% of the world's population: we consume about 25% of the world's oil production.
2010-05-03 15:32:31
Sad sad event for the environment...
2010-05-03 11:49:34
The cost of NOT offshore drilling is buying even more oil from our enemies - an even worse option. Even if the country goes "conservation mad" immediately, the next two (maybe three) decades will STILL leave us dependent on foreign energy. Yes, there are risks to offshore drilling; the risks of not drilling are worse.
2010-05-03 07:52:37
A friend (from Houston, Texas, working in Vancouver) told me yesterday that her sister & husband, who live in Louisiana, are very worried. The Vancouver papers today said that an aerial view of the disaster shows the area affected as being much bigger than originally thought. Our Premier in B.C. has made resources and 'experts' available to help in this horrendous disaster.
2010-05-03 07:32:02
Well said. And these are the folks who expect us to believe they can drill in the ANWR without screwing it up. As the kids say, yeah, right.
2010-05-03 06:37:37
British Petroleum could have installed a device at the well-head which would have prevented this. It would have cost them about $500,000 to do so, which is peanuts in the off-shore oil business. But they didn't install the device. Why not ? Because the governmental regulatory agencies responsible for protecting our environment from these kinds of disasters didn't force them to do it. So now, at least eleven men are dead and the Gulf Coast is about to experience an environmental catastrophe that may well be worse than the Exxon-Valdez disaster. Not only will countless wild creatures lose their lives and their habitats, but the fishing, shrimping and oyster industries of the region may be devastated as well. But perhaps some good may come of it. Perhaps public outrage at BP's arrogance and negligence will force our government to take steps to strengthen and inforce environmental regulations to insure that this NEVER happens again.