Wednesday, May 19, 2010

BP's Negligence in Oil Spill

We're still anxiously watching the latest on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  It seems that the oil may be swept up in "The Loop Current", which would take the oil straight to the Florida Keys.  Also, here in Louisiana oil is already starting to appear in some of the marshes and on the barrier islands.  The oil is not the "thin sheen" that was predicted, but a very thick oil.  The protective boom that was placed has not been much help in keeping the oil offshore.  Our state bird in Louisiana is the brown pelican, which was just removed from the endangered species list this past November, and now it's being threatened again.

As I'm typing this, I'm watching the "Today" show and the most recent video showing the large amounts of oil still spewing from the well.  Experts estimate that over 70,000 gallons a day are leaking into the Gulf, and it's been about a month now!  This literally makes my stomach turn.

What really made me sick was this past Sunday's story on "60 Minutes", which showed an interview of a survivor from the oil rig explosion and his account of what transpired the weeks before the explosion.  His story tells of BP's negligence with pushing productivity and ignoring signs of problems with the oil drilling.  Evidently a first well had been abandoned because it cracked due to actions taken to get the well drilled quicker.  With BP's rush to "get it done", they found themselves even further behind with having to abandon the well and start over.  Then, on the second well attempt just weeks before the explosion, an employee accidentally turned on a switch that should not have been on.  This alone should have been cause for concern, especially after chunks of rubber from the BPO (blow out preventer - the crucial piece of equipment used to prevent explosions) started showing up at the top of the well.  The chunks of rubber were brought to the attention of the "higher ups", and they said it was nothing to worry about and chose to ignore the fact that the BPO was literally falling apart.

Then, on the morning of the explosion a staff meeting occurred where many employees witnessed words being exchanged between one of BP's top executives and one of TransAtlantic Ocean's top executives.   Evidently the drilling of the well was complete and it was now time to cap off the well for the time being.  BP's executive did not want to follow the normal procedures that TransAtlantic Ocean planned on doing, and instead wanted to "do it quicker" by following a different procedure that would not only be faster but also change the crucial pressure on the well.  Later that evening, the explosion occurred.  Ironically, the rig held a Safety Ceremony that day to celebrate the oil rig's lack of injuries during the drilling.

Another guest on "60 Minutes" is a former employee of BP that was fired due to his complaints about the lack of safety on another of BP's oil rigs called "Atlantis".  According to him, Atlantis is much bigger than the First Horizon rig and drawings of the rig were not reviewed or approved and it's an "accident waiting to happen".  He's filed a lawsuit in hopes of getting the federal government to investigate this rig and get it shut down until the proper drawings are reviewed and approved.  If Atlantis were to leak, the amount of oil would make the current oil spill look like a drop in the bucket. 

All of the events leading to the explosion are inexcusable and pure negligence on BP's part. It infuriates me that the Gulf of Mexico as well as the shores of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida are now threatened. There's a concern that oxygen may be depleted from the Gulf, therefore killing marine life. Not to mention the birds and wildlife already being covered in oil. I guess a $4 billion profit in the first quarter wasn't enough, and BP was only worried about the bottom line and nothing else.

Only the future will tell just how bad this oil spill is, and how long it will take to recover.  We're still hoping that the oil does not make it into Lake Pontchartrain, where we live.  It's getting close though, so we anxiously wait and watch. 

On another note, with rain last weekend and a heavy workload this week Ken and I haven't been able to do any work on our sailboat.  We're really hoping to have nice weather this weekend to paint the sailboat's hull and do some fiberglass repair on the sailboat bottom's blisters.  Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!


Sandee said...

This is a horrific event in our history, and will be felt for a very long time to come.

Have a terrific day. :)

Windtraveler said...

Ugh...this whole thing is sickening - the impact of this disaster will not be known until it is too late, and that is a tragedy.

Lacey and Nathan said...

This is a terrible event. My husband works for Exxon, not on a rig, in an office.. he works in the engineering and drilling department and he predicts that there is enough oil to continue to 'spue' for 20 years if its not capped off.

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