Thick Oily Mess

People are angry with British Petroleum. A question environmentalists, tax payers and investors would like answered is, will the oil company pay for this disaster? Out of the mix of companies associated with the oil spill, BP is the one being pointed at. The company has stated they will cover the cleanup costs. This statement leaves a lot of people skeptic.

Investors have other concerns, financial in nature. What are the short and long term effects on the company’s bottom line for instance? How will the shares hold up in the market place? Questions anyone can answer but no one can know for sure.

The oil spill consequences are still unknown. Despite repeated efforts to plug up the hole, the oil is still escaping from the ocean floor. It remains to be seen if this disaster exceeds that of the Exxon Valdez, spilling more than 11 million gallons of crude oil in the Prince William Sound area of Alaska. The Valdez spill had at that time contaminated more than 1300 miles of Alaskan shoreline. An ecological nightmare.

Another question that comes to mind, will President Obama reconsider his proposal to expand offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the much of the Atlantic coast? He himself claimed the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to be a massive and potentially unprecedented environmental disaster.

While people battle with the giant oil spill, we should all remember that BP spent years opposing federal regulators over how many safeguards would be needed to prevent a deepwater well from this type of disaster.

Industry experts are concerned about the lack of a remote system that could have allowed workers to shut Deepwater Horizon’s wellhead, effectively stopping the oil spill. In a letter sent last year to the Department of the Interior, BP objected to what it called “extensive, prescriptive regulations” proposed in new rules to tighten down on safety standards. They went on to say “we believe industry’s current safety and environmental statistics demonstrate that the voluntary programs…continue to be very successful”.

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