BP Oil Spill Quandary

by Mark Lovett on May 23, 2010

Just over a month ago the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in a ball of fire and ultimately sank into the Gulf of Mexico.  From that day on an estimated 300,000 gallons of oil per day have been released into the surrounding sea.

Response teams have been working 24/7 to contain and clean up the oil still gushing from the Mississippi Canyon 252 well, yet all efforts to eliminate the flow have so far proved unsuccessful.  While many want to simply blame BP, this is a complex issue intersecting the oil industry, the environment, our increasing need for energy, and the lives of those on the Gulf coast who depend upon the ocean for their living.

Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig, April 21, 2010

Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig, April 21, 2010 (Getty Images)

As a result, there have been loud cries from the environmental community to reduce or eliminate offshore drilling.  But is this really practical in light of the world’s demand for energy?  Or is this the galvanizing moment that finally pushes us to develop wind and solar power generation, as well as alternative fuels, at breakneck speed?

Where Do We Go From Here?

Make no mistake about the fact that Global Patriot is devoted to protecting the environment, and a big proponent of pursuing renewable energy sources, but today’s reality is that the world is still very thirsty for petroleum, and an increasing amount of this fossil fuel will be coming from deepwater sources unless we experience a radical shift in usage patterns or increase our use of renewable energy resources.

Gulf of Mexico Oil Platforms

Gulf of Mexico Oil Platforms

I encourage you to read this article from Wired Magazine – Pumped Up: Chevron Drills Down 30,000 Feet to Tap Oil-Rich Gulf of Mexico.  The reserves in the Gulf are huge, and as long as we keep burning the stuff, there will be a need to drill for it.

The New York Times has put together an excellent multimedia page which includes a time lapse image demonstrating the spread of oil in the Gulf.  You can also hear the words of those who were on the rig and review a history of oil spills.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Where do your feelings lie?  Are you against continued offshore drilling, in favor of increased regulation to prevent such disasters from occurring again, or support a massive push to develop clean energy sources such as wind and solar?

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

GlobalPatriot August 17, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Thanks for sharing your list of websites and tips – all are appropriate, but getting the general population on board will be the challenge!

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Anonymous August 17, 2010 at 9:39 pm

The 5 easy steps to being green, creating local jobs, and adverting the worst effects of climate change and peak oil.

1) Stop SprawL!!!
2) R.R.Recycle!
3) VeganLife!! / ReForest / FoodForest! / VirginForest!!
4) Wind! / GeoThermal Exchange!! / Solar
5) Electric &OpenSource: Trains!! / Cars / Media!! / Medicine

http://www.350.org/about/science
http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=1989
http://www.storyofstuff.com
http://www.peta.org/vsk
http://www.democracynow.org

Reply

GlobalPatriot June 14, 2010 at 2:42 am

That is a very tragic possibility, if the flow is not capped for many months, the oil will follow the currents and pollute a very wide area of ocean and coastline.

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Shivaloves555 June 13, 2010 at 10:52 pm

No one has said: if the spill is still uncapped and still spreading oil-why do they think it will just stop or be contained in the U.S. East Coast portion of the Atlantic? What is to stop it from following the currents in their totality?

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GlobalPatriot June 13, 2010 at 7:42 pm

That is a very tragic possibility, if the flow is not capped for many months, the oil will follow the currents and pollute a very wide area of ocean and coastline.

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Shivaloves555 June 13, 2010 at 3:52 pm

No one has said: if the spill is still uncapped and still spreading oil-why do they think it will just stop or be contained in the U.S. East Coast portion of the Atlantic? What is to stop it from following the currents in their totality?

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Gail June 1, 2010 at 3:18 am

My thoughts? What a mess…. It just makes me cringe.

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GlobalPatriot May 28, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Quite right Sonya. There needs to be a great deal of public debate on the topic of deepwater drilling.

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Sonya May 28, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Great post, thanks! One definite impact the BP Oil Spill will have is it will bring the environmental discussion front-and-centre.

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GlobalPatriot May 25, 2010 at 3:24 pm

By this time it should be apparent to everyone that the invasion of Iraq was all about access to oil (no weapons, no nuclear program, no connection to 9/11) so to your point, as we reach the limits to oil production, and our addiction to the stuff continues, one has to wonder if other countries will suffer the same fate as Iraq.

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UncleB May 24, 2010 at 10:35 am

Finally, the environmental price of oil brought to the doorstep of the folks that burn that largest share in the world! America must wean itself from oil regardless. America is in for catastrophic , convulsive paradigm shifts! Oil supplies dwindle in the world and America is sickly dependent and totally addicted to oil! What next, Red White and Blue?

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GlobalPatriot May 23, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Good point Russ, and reminds me that it's time to write a post on Peak Oil. To your point, as the easy oil dwindles while demand continues to expand due to increases in population and affluence, the price of oil will rise to levels that make deepwater and oil sands exploration economically viable. But when those supplies dwindle…

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Russ May 23, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Given that deep sea and tar sands drilling are now proving economically viable for the likes of BP, Chevron etc, doesn't this speak volumes? That the days of relatively cheaply extractable oil are over? So technically speaking Peak Oil has been here ever since these projects were conceived.

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GlobalPatriot May 23, 2010 at 6:52 pm

I too want to see a full review of the incident and current rules and regulations. It must also be mentioned that thousands of offshore wells have been in operation for decades with only a handful of such problems, but I'm wondering why the industry hasn't developed technology to handle such blowouts.

To hear BP repeatedly say, “We're going to try another solution next week” indicates that no system exists to address an undersea blowout, and with deepwater exploration moving forward in many parts of the world, this is something the oil industry needs to address – regardless of regulation.

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Keith Booe May 23, 2010 at 5:56 pm

From what I read there was probably adequate regulation, but enforcement was sloppy at best, possibly even criminally absent. With the information coming out about BP having the worst record for regulation compliance, there should most certainly be a review of current regulation and enforcement. That must happen before MORE regulation is implemented. But, yes, there must be continued push to develop and harness sustainable, renewable energy sources.

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