BP has 15% of its company assets deployed in the Gulf of Mexico, which is more than Hess (12%), Murphy Oil (9%), Chevron (5%), Shell (5%), Marathon Oil (5%), ExxonMobil (2%) or any other company. Despite this fact, BP has openly acknowledged since at least 2004 that it wasn't prepared for the "long-term, round-the-clock task of dealing with a deep-sea spill."

Today's Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870331540457525059137673505...) notes a 2004 trade journal article in which BP acknowledged its lack of preparedness for such an event. The subject arose in response to the snapping of the riser pipe utilized by the BP Discoverer Enterprise in deep water drilling several years ago.

In light of this acknowledgment, one would think the federal government would have stepped in and mandated greater safety and disaster response controls. Yet, MMS "in recent years moved away from requiring specific safety measures in offshore drilling and instead set broad performance goals that it was up to the industry to meet." Translation - The "agency 'highly encouraged,' but didn't require, companies to have back-up systems to trigger blowout preventers in case of emergency." At recent Coast Guard hearings, MMS admitted this meant "[t]here is no enforcement" whatsoever.

If anything positive can come out of this disaster, perhaps it is this: Regulation and vigorous enforcement of safety standards is a good thing. Despite Republicans persistent claims to the contrary, government is not always the problem. There are certain areas where we should want government to be a royal pain for industry. Regulating and enforcing stringent safety standards on drilling rigs is one of those areas.

Want to know what gross deregulation can lead to? Look no further than the Deepwater Horizon disaster.


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <p> <span> <div> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <img> <map> <area> <hr> <br> <br /> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <table> <tr> <td> <em> <b> <u> <i> <strong> <font> <del> <ins> <sub> <sup> <quote> <blockquote> <pre> <address> <code> <cite> <embed> <object> <strike> <caption>
  • You may post PHP code. You should include <?php ?> tags.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.