HOT ON THE SPILL TRAIL
We present to you the latest update on the Gulf of Mexico oll spill.
Making sure we keep thinking about the mega scale disaster. And, hopefully, act on those that are waiting to happen.
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill, more commonly referred to as the British Petroleum (BP) oil spill, is a massive ongoing spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Now considered the largest offshore spill in US history, it is a result of a drilling rig explosion and subsequent fire on April 20, 2010. It has been expelling vast amounts of crude since.
While the oil major has claimed full responsibility for the spill and has set up a US $20 billion spill response fund, the effect on the environment is irrevocable and irreversible.
So who was responsible for this catastrophe?
BP (operator and primary developer): For not ensuring proper safety standards on the rig.
Transocean (personnel): For operating with workers who either not trained effectively enough, or were overworked.
Halliburton (contractors): For doing a flawed cementing job to cap the well.
The government: For not having stringent enough safety laws.
Government Inspectors: For allegedly taking bribes to look the other way.
Coast Guard: For understating or lying about the result of the accident, which might have delayed clean-up efforts.
Impact of their action or in action?
An estimated 1,500,000 to 2,500,000 US gallons of oil is being spilled into the ocean bed each day.
What has happened since then?
It is revealed that BP made false claims about the oil leakage which drastically reduced the figures from about 100,000 barrels per day to 60,000 barrels as a worst case estimate. The rig’s chief engineer, testified that there were several mechanical problems in the months before the explosion, but no follow up action was taken
The US government has approved a measure that would ban BP from future offshore oil drilling in the country. Such measures would also apply to all companies operating in the country.
Under severe pressure from the US President Barrack Obama, BP has agreed to spend US $2 billion in its response to the oil spill, and thereafter supply more money if needed.
To help pay for these costs BP has planned to sell around US $10 billion of its assets, the highest ever asset-sale recorded.
US $201 million has been paid already, 80 per cent of which has gone to self-employed citizens, like fisherfolk and oil rig workers.
Just a reminder here
Union Carbide, the company responsible for the 1984 Bhopal Gas tragedy in India—labelled as the worst environment disaster in history— made a complete settlement of US $470 million as liability to the government. For the nearly 5.7 lakh people affected, the compensation per head came to an abysmally low figure of Rs 12,410 on an average, even officially.
More spill news
The recent China oil spill case offshore of its largest oil port Dailan, poured out nearly 400,000 gallons into the sea, as compared with 18,400,000 gallons in BP case. The Chinese plan to tackle it in a novel way. They will dump about 23 tonnes of oil-eating bacteria into the spill, which would absorb the oil.