Saturday, May 01, 2010

Consequences of Deepwater Horizon Explosion...for BP?

I all started almost innocently with news on April 21st about an explosion on an oil platform of the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico, see for example the breking news on the gCaptain site.
Later followed news, that 11 persons were missing, and already on April 23rd news that the rig was sinking sparked pollution fears, see for example the Guardian site.

Today 10 days after the explosion it is clear that a major oil slik is moving towards the coast of Louisianna. Why did the BOP not work? The whole exploration industry and particularly the crew on the sister platform to Deepwater Horizon are of-course waiting for answer to the question: What happened?

At the time of the explosion the Deepwater Horizon was under contract to BP Exploration. This mean the explosion is the second double digit fatality disaster to hit BP within the last 10 years. What will be the consequences of this for BP?

At the time of the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska, I remember reading a news story, which stated, that only two companies in the world had the economic means of surviewing such a disaster: Exxon and Shell. The current situation in the Gulf of Mexico have already been compared to the Exxon Valdez disaster. So what will happen to BP?

For a summary of the long term impact that the Exxon Valdez diaster had on the environment in Alaska read the report Summary Points: 10 Years of Intertidal Monitoring After the Exxon Valdez Spill from the NOAA, which states that 10 years after the event the causal observer would not see any oil damage. Given the warmer climate in the Gulf of Mexico we can hope for a similar positive outcome from the current disaster.

Once the events just before the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon has been analyzed, and a casue for the explosion determined, than another consequence could well be stricter regulation for exploration off the coast of Norway and off the east coast of Greenland. We have to wait an see.