BP oil spill: Negligence or a colossal mistake?

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The millions of gallons of oil that have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico are more like an epidemic, once that we will be fighting for months and even years”  President Barack Obama.

The most prominent story of the summer, or the whole year, in fact, has been the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Estimations on the amount of oil leaking into the Gulf continued to rise throughout the summer. The multinational giant that is BP often underestimated the level of oil escaping; whether this was for malicious reasons or not, is for you to decide.

A report released by the Obama administration shows that this oil spill is the largest ever accidental release of oil into the oceans. It dwarfs the 1979 Ixtoc I leak which was also in the Gulf of Mexico and was 20 times the size of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill with which BP’s spill has often been compared.

It has taken BP too long to clean up their catastrophic errors. They came up with many techniques which appeared to have come from ‘Joe Public’. Who was it that believed that shooting rubbish and golf balls into the pipeline would ever stop the leak?

Some of the world’s most intelligent people apparently work for BP, yet it has taken them months to stop the leak.

The big question being asked by ‘Joe Public’ and the Obama administration in particular is, ‘Why was there not a contingency plan or adequate safety put into place to ensure that if a leak did occur, it could be shut down’.

The oil rig exploded on 20th April (killing 11 people, something that has often been overlooked) and it took until 15th July for the oil leak to be fully controlled. For a company of BP’s stature and enormous wealth that was too long. BP’s net income in 2009 was $16.5 billion – this company continued to enjoy massive profits despite the economic downturn and recession. This is probably why many around the world and especially those who depend on the Gulf of Mexico for their livelihoods were, and are, so angry that this atrocity was allowed to happen.

With BP’s fingerprints all over the tragedy of this oil spill, one would naturally believe that it was time for them to come clean and hold their hands up to their horrific mistakes.

However, BP’s recent report into the oil spill does not satisfy this. They are all too eager to pass the blame onto others. Transocean (the owners of the rig) come in for heavy criticism by BP as do the cement providers Halliburton. Probably the most shocking part of BP’s report was the blame it put on the crew, some of whom were killed and hurt by the explosion on the BP oil rig. Is it not time for BP to admit their negligence? It was their drilling, for their oil, for their potential profit and consequently their responsibility.

Perhaps what it comes down to is the large corporation’s desperate desire for more wealth at the expense of nature, the world’s natural resources and the aforementioned ‘Joe Public’. The time for real investment into renewable energy resources has come. The oil spill has to act as a call to arms. This is not an isolated case – there has been a devastating history of disasters because of mistakes involving oil and it will happen again unless changes are made. We the electorate must surely demand more than token investment into renewable energy and open our eyes to the desperate need for it.

The destruction of the environment and loss of life committed by BP in the Gulf of Mexico this year has to send the message to all world leaders. Whether you are Republican or Democrat, Labour or Tory, left or right, this oil spill has to influence our energy future.

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Discussion2 Comments

  1. avatar

    it wont change our energy future, it will only change regulation and protocol of oil industries at best – thats what went wrong, BP were doing things on the cheap and dodgy, and lo-behold it didn’t work. Given that most of the world runs on oil, and renewable energy technology is nowhere near good enough, nothing will change as a result.

    Kieran Lavy
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    I wasn’t saying it necessarily will I was saying it should. There are examples in the UK and various other countries around the world where the average house can run comfortable on renewable energy resources be they wind, solar or geo-thermal. Heavy investment into renewable resources can solve our future energy shortfall and allow for all homes to have access to free energy.

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