Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher


BP in ’09: Oil catastrophe can’t happen here

posted by Rod Dreher

Well, well, well:

BP suggested in a 2009 exploration plan and environmental impact analysis for the well that an accident leading to a giant crude oil spill and serious damage to beaches, fish and mammals was unlikely, or virtually impossible.
The plan for the Deepwater Horizon well, filed with the federal Minerals Management Service, said repeatedly that it was “unlikely that an accidental surface or subsurface oil spill would occur from the proposed activities.”
The company conceded a spill would impact beaches, wildlife refuges and wilderness areas, but argued that “due to the distance to shore and the response capabilities that would be implemented, no significant adverse impacts are expected.”

Why, this luxury liner is unsinkable! That same USA Today report quotes a University of Miami expert saying the size of the spill has tripled overnight, indicating that oil may be coming out of the damaged well at a much faster rate. The Coast Guard is more cautious about that. Also, there is now concern that sea currents will take the oil past the Florida Keys, devastating the coral reefs there, and then head up the East Coast.
Why it was only yesterday (2002, in fact)…:

Two years earlier, at a cost of $200 million, it began an enormous corporate rebranding exercise, shortening its name from British Petroleum to BP, coining the slogan ”Beyond Petroleum” and redesigning its corporate insignia. Out went the old British Petroleum shield that had been a familiar image in Britain for more than 70 years, and in came a green, yellow and white sunburst that seemed to suggest a warm and fuzzy feeling about the earth. BP press officers were careful not to explain exactly what ”Beyond Petroleum” meant, but the slogan, coupled with the cheerful sunburst, sent the message that the company was looking past oil and gas toward a benign, eco-friendly future of solar and renewable energy. New Yorkers in particular were the target of a high-saturation ad campaign that felt, at times, like an overfriendly stranger putting his arm around you in a bar. In Times Square, a huge billboard went up, reading if only we could harness the energy of new york city. Then the stranger, perhaps feeling the need to explain his intentions, went on: solar, natural gas, wind, hydrogen. and oh yes, oil. Finally, the stranger took his arm away with a bit of a shrug: it’s a start.
BP’s print and TV ad campaign, which is winding down this month, represents one of the most dazzlingly high-profile corporate P.R. efforts in recent years. Created by Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, it aspires to a conversational, almost confidential voice that suggests, You know what oil companies do to the environment, and we do, too, but honestly, we’re not like that at all. ”People are skeptical of oil companies — go figure!” says Jennifer Ruys, director of external affairs for BP. ”And the ad campaign was designed to get at that skepticism.” As the billboards announce: BP was ”the first oil company to publicly recognize the risks of global climate change.” BP ”believes in alternative energy. Like solar and cappuccino.” BP has joined forces with New York’s Urban Park Rangers to, of all things, release four bald eagles into the wilds of Upper Manhattan. At the end of each ad was the same winking tag line: ”It’s a start.”

Yeah, it was.
titanic6 copy.jpg
[Image from the You’re Doing It Wrong blog.]



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Comments read comments(8)
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meh

posted May 1, 2010 at 9:58 pm

James

posted May 2, 2010 at 2:34 am


Why not put a link to the ACTUAL 52 page report? Everyone is QUOTING it, but I want to see the actual artifact. AP is very poor at citations.



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steve

posted May 2, 2010 at 1:03 pm


Risk vs reward. Who takes the risk and who gets the reward. In future offshore drilling, we need to decide that beforehand and decide if it is worth it. If the shrimping, oyster and fishing industries are gone in that area, what will be the value of the loss? I have seen it estimated in the $2 trillion range over 10 years. Were we going to get $2 trillion worth of oil out of that area? If we decide that there is adequate reward, then we need to plan ahead for the worst. The beneficiaries of the well were BP and the general public. The losers are the people of the Gulf states. Should we spread the lack of wealth or just say too bad to those who live in that area? Should we let markets sort this out? Are they capable of doing so?
Steve



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Lindsey Abelard

posted May 2, 2010 at 1:07 pm


The most up to date discussion of this oil spill is at:
http://alfin2100.blogspot.com/



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JLF

posted May 2, 2010 at 1:12 pm


No, Steve. The markets aren’t capable of sorting this thing out precisely because the risks are not direct but spillover risks that society as a whole will assume. Government will step in to protect both the corporation and its shareholders from the full impact of their actions, all in the name of those same free markets.
I predict that, after the lawsuits begin hitting the clerks offices in the various states that BP America will be heading to federal court to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, allowing the corporation to wipe out its obligations to those poor folks on shore and letting the BP investors continue to receive profit which, though certainly diminished, would be less than zero if there ever were such a thing as a free market.



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The Mighty Favog

posted May 2, 2010 at 3:23 pm


“I predict that, after the lawsuits begin hitting the clerks offices in the various states that BP America will be heading to federal court to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, allowing the corporation to wipe out its obligations to those poor folks on shore and letting the BP investors continue to receive profit which, though certainly diminished, would be less than zero if there ever were such a thing as a free market. ”
Every time something like this happens — particularly the phenomenon of “free-market” benefits and “socialized” failures — the closer I get to becoming a flat-out socialist. About the only thing stopping me is the sad public spectacle of actual socialists (and, no, I’m NOT talking about the president) in this country.
You KNOW BP is going to file for bankruptcy, and the Gulf states are going to be left high and . . . oil slimed.
That’s why I’ve more or less been seriously considering whether the proper response to this would be for the federal government to go all Hugo Chavez on BP’s ass — seize all its U.S. assets and liquidate them to pay the tab . . . or operate them, if that would be more profitable. Then file suit against the British chunk of the company that’s left.
But if a multinational corporation and the government toadies who enabled it are able to get away with, in effect, ecological and cultural genocide — and if the worst happens here, BP *will have* destroyed an entire culture *and* an entire ecosystem, mark my words — something is going to snap in this country, and it damned well should.



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celticdragonchick

posted May 2, 2010 at 4:54 pm


Every time something like this happens — particularly the phenomenon of “free-market” benefits and “socialized” failures — the closer I get to becoming a flat-out socialist. About the only thing stopping me is the sad public spectacle of actual socialists (and, no, I’m NOT talking about the president) in this country.
You KNOW BP is going to file for bankruptcy, and the Gulf states are going to be left high and . . . oil slimed.
You win the internets today.



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George Philip

posted June 10, 2010 at 6:08 am


Planetresource.net has a Eco friendly solution to clean up the tragedy British Petroleum has created, please watch the video animation:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60bdQQQ3iVw and pass this along to as many people as you know.
One person can still make a difference in this world, is that simple interactions have a rippling effect. Each time this gets pass along, the hope in cleaning our planet is passed on.



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