The BP oil platform Deepwater Horizon disaster off the coast of Louisiana, which began with its explosion on 20 April 2010, is rapidly becoming one totally incompetent fuck up. Actually, calling it an "oil spill" is a little disingenuous -- a spill is a one-off and suggests remediation and cleanup will fix it. This is ongoing and gushing.
210,000 gallons of oil a day -- counting it in barrels makes the problem sound more manageable. But by Sunday it's some 1,600,000 gallons of oil and growing.
Don't Make Me Laugh
Some are already calling this President Obama's Katrina. Yeah, right. Hurricane Katrina was a natural disaster which was mishandled badly by the U.S., state and local governments. This was a manmade disaster mismanaged badly by BP. One where they assured the government they were on top of things, they had it under control and there was no threat of a wider spill. If the Obama administration is guilty of anything right now, it's allowing the beloved principle of self-policing to run its course until it was obvious that it wasn't working. Hell, BP didn't even know the magnitude of the problem.
As for the "delay" in Obama traveling to the area, what the hell was he going to see? Why people would just call it grandstanding. Now that oil is or is about to spoil the shoreline, NOW there's something to see.
Some of this isn't news to people who follow off-shore drilling. This article lists several issues including the lack of a switch which could allow BP to remotely shut off the well head some 5000 feet on the bottom of the ocean.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the well lacked a remote-control shut-off switch that is required by Brazil and Norway, two other major oil-producing nations. The switch, a back-up measure to shut off oil flow, would allow a crew to remotely shut off the well even if a rig was damaged or sunken. BP said it couldn't explain why its primary shut-off measures did not work.
U.S. regulators considered requiring the mechanism several years ago. They decided against the measure when drilling companies protested, saying the cost was too high, the device was only questionably effective, and that primary shut-off measures were enough to control an oil spill.
Self-policing and self-regulating industries. Yeah, works real good. Congress and Wall Street -- are you listening yet?
Expect gas prices to spike this summer. Shrimp prices, assuming you can get shrimp, will jump, too. Guess Wall Streeters will have to pull out extra hundred dollar bills to pay for those jumbo shrimp cocktails at dinner...
I Have Two Words For All This