Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Spill Baby Spill

A very predictable header but after going drill baby drill, this is what happened at British Petroleum s “ultra” Deepwater Horizon oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. About 70,000 barrels of oil a day (and still counting) are being spilled into the ocean since April 20, 2010. The drilling was really “ultra deep”. The worry is not so much about when the spilling will be contained but where the oil will land up.

With no end in sight, the blame game has begun among the 3 actors. The project is owned by BP. Transocean owns the rig and has leased it to BP till 2013 and Halliburton, the oilfield services company, did the cement work to cap the well.

The impacts have not even begun to be considered. The toxic compounds in oil are known human carcinogens and hydrocarbons are particularly relevant if inhaled or ingested –for both humans and animal. For birds, the timing could not be worse. They are breeding and nesting and especially vulnerable in many of the places where the oil could come ashore. Nothing short of a catastrophe.
It will ruin for years to come the abode of the resident seabirds, waders, waterfowls, heron, pelicans, oystercatchers, migratory birds (swallows, buntings) that use the Gulf Wetlands as a stopover. With waters and coastal regions already feeling the impact of the oil spill, these birds could be at risk. It will totally disrupt migratory patterns and could result in mutations of certain species. Short-lived species such as shrimp or crabs may disappear in the region. The fishing industry in the area will pay its price.

While I am no expert on oil -from rigs to spills, this much I know. That when you get ultra greedy, you ultra dig and recovering will be ultra costly.

So my message for British Petroleum is this.

Drop that hubris .Admit that there are better forms of energy that we deserve.
And if this is not the right moment to improve your energy mix, you deserve to stay at the “bottom of the barrel”

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