The BP gulf oil spill - Assignment Example

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The BP gulf oil spill occurred in April 2010 across the Gulf of Mexico and was perhaps the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry, with the oil flowing for a remarkable three months…
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As a result of the explosion, 4.9 millions barrels of crude oil were released into the surrounding water before the wells were capped in July. The spilt oil caused considerable damage to the wildlife and marine animals. Similarly, on July 6th 2011, it was reported that ExxonMobil had spill around a 1000 barrels of oil into the Yellowstone River on the coast of Montana as an underground pipeline under the river bed ruptured.

While ExxonMobil has taken on the responsibility of cleaning the river and all damage caused, the question arises whether the government has done enough to protect the environment from further such disasters. Surely after the BP oil spill, such a disaster should not have occurred, especially barely a year after the last one. What did the government do in light of the first disaster, and what will they be doing after this one? If these companies are drilling for oil, they are naturally doing it with the consent of the government, who are in turn doing it for the betterment of the citizens. But if they are doing so, do they not have a responsibility to ensure that all risk of the cost of doing so is reduced and minimal? And if it is indeed their responsibility to do so, in the light of the fact that failure to do so has occurred time and again, what is the government doing to prevent further such mistakes. More importantly, why do these mistakes occur, time and again. When investigation was carried out into the causes behind the BP oil spill it was found that had overlooked several factors, that had they been correctly addressed might have prevented the accident2. For the sake of cutting back on costs, BP, Halliburton and Transocean had worked on a lower budget, thereby compromising on quality control. For example. BP had overlooked the strength of the cement being used in the walls of the pipes, as well as incorrectly cementing the walls of the pipes34. Furthermore, the failed result of several pressure tests were also ignored, which had they been properly addressed, might have prevented the ultimate bursting of the well. But while BP was considerably criticized for their faults in preventing the oil spill, the fact was that the US government also missed considerable chances to prevent the attack and then later on further responses in light of the attack5. For one thing, officials initially underestimated the threat of a leak, taking on the word of BP officials when they were asked about it a year earlier6. Once the leak occurred, they underestimated the extent of the leak. They was assumed that oil on the surface of the water was merely that: on the surface. It was not understood that it was spilling from an underground source, and thereby spread not only on the surface but rather throughout the water. As a result of this underestimation, the government disregarded the need for critical action, trusting the word of the company that said would take care of it. Oil critics say that government officials rely on oil companies to manage the oil spills, meaning they do not go into the investigation personally by going on site or into an in-depth investigation, thereby making their response to the spill inadequate. Critics also say that the government should not trust that companies have enough resources to judge in advance whether a risk exists and then once it occurs, whether they have the resources to take care of it. In the light that it doesn't, the government sh ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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