The CEO of BP
tells the company's side of the story.
Americans and others from around the world rightly are asking many questions. How could this happen? How damaging is the spill to the environment? Why have efforts to stop the flow of oil and gas into the Gulf so far failed?
And they are asking questions that have broader implications. Has the industry and the regulatory system governing it been taking unacceptable risks in our work on the geological and technological frontiers? Can we as a society explore for oil and gas in safer and more reliable ways?
The industry and the government did not anticipate this type of accident—one in which all the "failsafe" mechanisms failed.
It's obvious that no one anticipated this blowout. The question is why not?
President Obama has taken to blaming BP as if it's a criminal outfit, but that ignores the failures of the "responsible" government agencies he commands to enforce the laws. There have been rumors that BP's blowout preventer, essentially a hydraulic valve on the well head which is supposed to shut off the well flow when the pressure reaches levels that are unsafe, but I doubt that if this is true, it was approved by the company. One of the biggest dangers to any human enterprise is maintaining attention during "routine" operations. Distraction and complacence cause deaths and disasters in activities from driving to operating nuclear power plants.
At this point, I'm not sure whom to be angry with. Mr. Hayward's Op-Ed seems to be frank and presents reasonable conclusions, although the proof is in the performance.
One thing I'm sure about is that it doesn't help the economy of the Gulf States to order a halt to all offshore drilling
. It makes no sense and hands radical environmentalists who don't care about our economy or the price of energy.
It also doesn't make any sense for people who have no expertise in drilling oil
wells to call those who are doing their best to stop this leak "morons." James Cameron may know a lot of smart people, but so does BP, and I'll bet theirs are more circumspect than to shoot off their mouths without knowing all the details.
One thing is pretty certain. These companies are not going to stop trying to recover oil at deeper levels
, because it's there and we need it. However, they're going to have to figure out what went wrong here and develop better technology for operations at these depths.
Obama has not been acting like a leader at all through this. As Doug Schoen tells Greta Van Susteren on tonight's show, he needs to rally the country and unify us in supporting the people of the Gulf Coast. So far, his actions have wavered from ignoring the problem, to claiming he is in charge, to blaming and threatening criminal action, and always it has all been about him. He has tried to show concern and sympathy, but it isn't in him. He's basically a blank wall emotionally. While he's not a false emoter like Bill Clinton, he doesn't seem to have the human feelings he was so famous for inspiring during his campaign. His biggest problem is that he's not a manager and won't be in the foreseeable future.