Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Discussion in 'Every Day Debating' started by ~Elladan~, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. ~Elladan~

    ~Elladan~ A Elbereth Gilthoniel

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    The above tragic oil spill is rightly causing anger and concern in America with the sheer scale of the spill, the pollution (sea & coastal) and effect on people's livelihood.

    President Obama is stamping his feet and getting all angry making populist attacks on the evil of the foreign oil company BP (or as he calls it British Petroleum), if they don't get their act together he'll kick them aside blah blah....

    I just wanted to make a few points on the issue as it's starting to get right up my nose...

    1) BP have at no point sought to avoid their responsibility as the majority owner of the oil field. They have already paid out $1.25bn+ in trying to stop the spill, clean up and compensate those who have lost income. The compensation for lost income claims are incidentally being paid out within 48hrs of claim being submitted in most cases. BP's statutory liability for non-clean up costs is $75m under US law but BP have stated they will pay (& have already paid) far in excess of that figure

    2) The delays in containing the spill are primarily due to technical difficulties operating a mile down from the surface. The oil field development were authorised by the US authorities. At these extreme depths BP are amongst the most experienced operators so not entirely sure why Obama would want to replace them or with whom. At the same time as trying the temporary solutions BP have two rigs drilling relief wells for a permanent one.

    3) BP changed it's name from British Petroleum in the 1990s following it's merger with AMOCO & ARCO (both US) & Burmah Oil (British). It is 44% owned by UK institutional & private investors and 39% owned by US investors. It employs as many Americans as it does Brits. BP's partners in this drill were Transocean, the rig owner (US), co-oil field owner Anadarko (US), & contractors Halliburton (US) & Schlumberger (US). So rather than being a foreign polluter as implied by Obama, it's very much a US affair too. The costs, penalties & lawsuits will hit investors both sides of the Atlantic, indeed it already has to the tune of c$65bn of the value of their investments.

    4) Whilst I can totally understand why Americans people & government are angry about this environmental disaster it is more than a little hypocritical when that same anger is not directed at US firms who pollute other nations back yards too. An easy example in the news again this week is the Bhopal disaster where a US company killed 1000s of Indians and their industrial site is still leaking chemicals 25 years on.

    5) As world oil demand is set to outstrip supply in the next decade, oil will be drilled from ever more challenging locations. Unless we're prepared to cut consumption there's a real likelihood that we could face similar disasters in the future
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/science_and_environment/10278831.stm

    Okay I feel better after getting that of my chest but as a last point I'll add a quote from Iain Dale's blog (a former Labour communication director) which sums up similar feelings this side of the pond...

    http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2010/06/obama-is-indulging-in-shameless.html
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2010
  2. Ser Land

    Ser Land New Member

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    BP stands for British Petrol.

    And I believe this whole situation will be forgotten once the thing is settled. As usual. There's a lot at stake. But money talks louder. And even if Obama played the "stamping his feet" some more, odds are he won't make a second round. Maybe.

    And of course it's not BP's fault. If they really had the whole security measures ok, it wasn't their fault. But someone must always be faulted. The fishermen need someone to point their fingers in accusation, right?
     
  3. ~Elladan~

    ~Elladan~ A Elbereth Gilthoniel

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    It used to, it now refers more widely to:

    & it protected their established trademarks
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2010
  4. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    I heard on the news that Obama was being criticised for "not showing enough emotion and anger" over the spill. So perhaps now he's responding as he thinks people expect him to, rather than how he naturally might. Perhaps he's just a calm, non-expressive person when confronted with a challenge. If someone grieves quietly and inwardly about the death of a loved one, others will quickly say they are not actually grieving. Not true, it's just not what most people expect.
     
  5. Ser Land

    Ser Land New Member

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    Not long ago BP was refered to as British Petrol. Their mistake, then, I guess.
     
  6. Ser Land

    Ser Land New Member

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    Maybe he should hit the wall with his head and go comatose. That ought to work.
     
  7. ~Elladan~

    ~Elladan~ A Elbereth Gilthoniel

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    As an addendum to my first post...

    BP actually employs 22800 US employees, and only 10105 in the UK.
     
  8. chimera_789

    chimera_789 Queen of Air and Darkness

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    Not their fault?!?!?!?!

    A. There is extensive, documented and reported evidence that over the last several years BP bribed safety and environmental regulators with drugs, sex, money, oil industry jobs, even suite tickets to football championships. These activities have come to light due to an investigation that was commenced prior to the spill and which is on going. These activities are of course also criminal.

    B. There is extensive, ongoing testimony from workers present on the rig that in the weeks, days, and hours leading up to the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig, that there were and increasing number of serious problems with the drilling operations and that the BP supervisors present on the rig repeatedly ignored these concerns and made several significant decisions that not only violated their own stated protocol, but also in no way complied with standard operating procedure of the industry to respond to the safety situations that arose. It is quite obvious from the mounting evidence that BP failed to use reasonable care in conducting its operations on the Deepwater Horizon rig, and was therefore negligent. Negligence is fault. Negligence is not an "accident." Negligence means that if you had been doing your damn job properly like everyone who does such a job is expected to, this wouldn't have happened.

    Sooo....intentional criminal acts plus subsequent negligence (likely to be considered gross negligence when all is said and done)...yeah, I'm pretty f&#*ing sure that qualifies this as BP's fault.

    I'm not of course absolving anyone else of responsibility or saying that there aren't others who are or may be at fault (this thread is about BP, so I have only addressed their participation), but the fault of others does not absolve BP of liability for its fault.

    In other words, you are wrong.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2010
  9. chimera_789

    chimera_789 Queen of Air and Darkness

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    In the first few weeks they most certainly blamed Transocean and Halliburton and also claimed that they were generally not at fault. I watched a BP executive testify to such before a Congressional committee live on CSPAN. I heard the words come out of his mouth. What I heard was the very definition of avoiding responsibility.

    Please. BP is giving out payments of only up to $5000. In MANY cases they have not paid claims days, and even weeks later. Not surprising given that when last I checked (3 days ago) there was one site for registering claims for BP, with a grand total of 2 people handling the intake of claims--that's right 2 people to deal with several thousand claims. Furthermore, most of the fishermen and boat operators that BP "hired" to ferry their people around and to transport oil boom and such, are not being paid and being given the runaround by BP employees when they try and figure out why BP isn't fulfilling its contractual obligations.


    I have responses to your other points as well, but I obligations of my own at the moment so I will reply to the rest later when I have more time.
     
  10. ~Elladan~

    ~Elladan~ A Elbereth Gilthoniel

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    I'm sure there's plenty of 'BP' fault which will come out in the investigations to follow but rather than playing the blame game now, all should be focused on stopping the flow, minimising the damage and cleaning up.

    With regard to points A) & B)

    A) If true it would suggest that US government regulators were complicit in any such 'bribery' and would further suggest that that is the way business is done in that operating area.

    Interestingly the worst oil rig disaster in history was the 1988 Piper Alpha disaster which killed over 160 people. The rig was operated by Occidental (US) in British Waters. The explosion was due to lack of maintenance by Occidental. The British were more worried about learning the lessons and improving future safety, not criminal prosecutions but then we're not litigation crazy.

    B) The method of drilling used by BP was approved by the US regulators & inspectors who had made several visits to the rig. In all 21(?) blowout systems failed. No doubt many could be/were down to BP operating decisions. The final 7 however relate to the blowout preventer which should have killed the well irrespective of the other 14 failings was owned by Transocean (US).

    BP is now being asked to pay the salaries of the 33 rigs closed by Obama's decision to suspend deep drilling. They will refuse as that decision was Obama's. President Obama has said he would have sacked Hayward. Quite frankly given Obama's performance I would suggest he should worry about his own job :D
     
  11. ~Elladan~

    ~Elladan~ A Elbereth Gilthoniel

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    Quite right they have maintained that they are not solely responsible but have set those arguments to one side whilst they step and take action.

    Many claims will be sorted by litigation as 1000s of spurious/inflated claims have no doubt been submitted, others are pure profiteering
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/wor...200-day-Fishermen-make-Gulf-oil-disaster.html
     
  12. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    I always chuckle a bit when things like these happen.

    Yes. Building oil rigs in the Mexican Gulf means risking a disaster like this. When you think back, it's a miracle nothing like this happended when Katrina hit, for instance. Of course, there are a lot of safety systems built in - but a platform sinking and having the pipeline snap at the bottom... that was bound to happen at one point or another.

    I am quite sure a majority of the US public urged oil companies to drill harder a year or two ago. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the risk involved. In all, it has relatively little to do with BP or the US Gouvernment. But they do make for good scapegoats. Especially BP.

    Now, could this accident have been avoided? Yes and no. Deepwater Horizon may have been avoidable, that's up to investigation. But that the Mexican Gulf was to fill with crude oil at one point or another was DEAD certain from the start. The US, the rest of the Western world and their economies are fuelled and lubricated by Oil. Literally. And this is the bill we are presented with.

    If BP deserves to be boicoted, then so are all the other companies drilling the Mexican Gulf....
     
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  13. Ser Land

    Ser Land New Member

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    I suggest you read more carefully. I said that if they had all security measures ok, then, and only then, it wasn't their fault.

    And they could had bribed the pope or the Queen of England that it wouldn't matter to this case. That, my friend, is a fallacy.
     
  14. ~Elladan~

    ~Elladan~ A Elbereth Gilthoniel

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    I agree Tur which is why they need to sort the spill/damage & learn the lessons as much as pointing fingers in the blame game.
     
  15. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    Touche

     
  16. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    Well said. Kind of like consumers demanding the lowest prices for goods, which can only occur offshore in asian sweatshops, then complaining that the government isn't protecting local jobs.

    You asked for something, you got it, but nothing comes free. Cheap - Fast - Good. You can have 2 out of 3, but almost never will you get 3 out of 3.
     
  17. curunir's bane

    curunir's bane Kwisatch Haderach

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    760 violations? If anyone can disprove this then please do so.


    Check out the date on this next one:
     
  18. curunir's bane

    curunir's bane Kwisatch Haderach

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    Oh and if anyone is wondering why i'm posting these its because BP's credibility is in question here. We're not "just looking for a scapegoat." Unless anyone can come up with strong evidence to the contrary then stop calling it that.

    So if all of this was true then they should have learned from their lessons a long freaking time ago.


     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2010
  19. chimera_789

    chimera_789 Queen of Air and Darkness

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    To finish addressing points from a previous post:

    It is well understood here that the task of stopping the flow is technically difficult and that only the oil companies themselves have the expertise to accomplish it. While there is some generalized anger at the fact that large sums of money and time have been spent on developing deepwater drilling techniques over the years while comparatively little on the technology necessary to prevent or address a situation such as this, this anger is not specifically directed at BP but at the oil industry as a whole. And no one is seriously suggesting replacing BP as far as capping the well, or deferring to their expertise. People here are largely angry at the lack of information and transparency and effort to protect and clean up the coast from BP and at the federal government for not taking a larger role in making sure BP's efforts in these areas improve. It is generally understood that nothing can be done about capping the well than what is already being done.

    Regardless of what may or may not have been implied by Obama referring to BP by its old name, no one in the affected region and for the most part the rest of the US gives a sh*t about the foreigness of BP. No one here cares what country BP is from or blames Britain or British people or in anyway associates them with the problem. Whatever the president or any other politicians agenda, the people here are upset with the company itself for what has occurred here due to its operations here. Rest assured they could not be more angry if it were a company perceived as American or whatever.

    Yes, Americans tend to care less about anything bad that happens anywhere else regardless of the perpetrator. Yes this general callousness or obliviousness, depending on how you see it, is a sad, depressing, and frankly shameful aspect of our society. But again, they are upset about this disaster because it occurred here, not because it is perceived to be perpetrated by a foreign company. There would be equal ire if it involved a company named American Oil.

    With this I completely agree.
     
  20. chimera_789

    chimera_789 Queen of Air and Darkness

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    I understand all of what you are saying, and again, I am not claiming that there are not other responsible parties and others at fault but the comment I was responding to specifically addressed whether or not BP could be considered at fault and my response was intended to show that regardless of any other fault by anyone else, BP bears significant fault in this case.

    The fact that another party may have been complicit in one's criminal activities does not absolve one of one's responsibility or criminal liability for those activities. Government regulators' participation in bribery and corruption only attributes additional criminal liability to them as well, it does not change the fact that BP's actions were also criminal, it does not excuse or negate BP's liability for criminal acts of its own.

    And it is indeed sadly true that there is a far too cozy and generally co-dependent relationship between big oil companies and the government institutions of this region. However, the aforementioned documented corruption in the relationship between the Minerals Management Service and BP has not (thus far) been shown to exist where all oil companies are concerned. Furthermore, for example, BP's drilling operations in the gulf in the last couple of years were cited for over 700 serious safety violations, while the next highest number by a single company was less than ten, and one company had only a single citation. These types of things tend to suggest that BP's operations are exceptionally shady, even for "the way business is done in that area."

    Realistically, this will not happen. The President's decision was preemptive of potential problems on other rigs pending investigation to show whether or not there are any. This was not within the control of BP. I don't see the government being able to legitimately or legally demand that BP pay for the resulting financial lost. Likewise any suits against BP by the companies operating those rigs, etc. would more than likely be unsuccessful. It is simply too difficult to establish a legit causal connection due to the fact that Obama's decision itself constitutes and intervening act of the state and the fact that such a decision and the resulting financial losses are not reasonably forseeable consequences of BP's actions involving the Deepwater Horizon and the resulting explosion.

    I would have too (or at the very least removed him as the point man at the spill) if for no other reason than that the man is a PR nightmare and can't seem to stop himself from making asinine comments in front of a camera.