Inside Opinion

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Tag: Gulf oil spill

Oct.
31st

Halliburton joins the Gulf spill’s rogues gallery

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Except for the bacteria that have been busily eating the spilled petroleum, it’s hard to find any heroes in this year’s Gulf oil catastrophe.

Successive presidential administrations, for decades, let federal regulators operate in virtual partnership with the offshore oil industry they were supposed to be supervising.

The Obama administration either suppressed or was clueless about the immense quantities of oil being spilled from BP’s Macondo well.

BP itself, of course, bears ultimate responsibility for the disaster that happened on its watch, for the negligence of its contractors and particularly for any corners it cut for the sake of maximizing its profits.

Now it appears that Halliburton, which provided the cement slurry was supposed to seal the newly drilled well last April, bears more responsibility for the spill than it seemed at first.
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June
9th

With no real spill plan, BP wings it in the Gulf

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

If BP appears to be devising its response to the Gulf of Mexico spill on the fly, there’s good reason: The oil giant never had a real plan to deal with a catastrophe at the site.

The company went through the motions, submitting 634 pages supposedly detailing how it was prepared to handle the worst. But the plans themselves are riddled with errors and omissions.

An analysis by the Associated Press found that they vastly understated the dangers of an uncontrolled leak and overstated the company’s ability to deal with one. Some of the most glaring mistakes:

• BP claimed it could marshal the requisite equipment and resources to remove 20 million gallons of oil from the water each day. It has taken six weeks for the company to mop up even a fraction of that amount.

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May
24th

Years of collusion set the stage for Gulf catastrophe

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

President Obama has described the relationship between oil drillers and the federal government as “cozy.” Corrupt might be a better word.

Until last month’s catastrophic blowout in the Gulf of Mexico – which continues to foul the region with oil – the American offshore drilling industry had a seemingly stellar record. Three decades had gone by without a major spill from thousands of rigs pumping petroleum from far below the sea floor.

It turns out that big problems were festering behind that façade of safety.
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May
16th

Offshore oil industry faces a hard new world

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Think Three Mile Island. Think the Titanic. Think the Challenger and Columbia space shuttles. The spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a game-changer on the same order.

For the offshore petroleum industry, there’s actually a kernel of hope in those comparisons. Passenger ships keep on plying the oceans, nuclear plants still produce much of the country’s power, and the United States kept on launching shuttles long after the Columbia burned on re-entry.

This country’s abject dependence on fossil fuels guarantees that offshore rigs will continue to pump crude from the ocean floor despite the April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers and left a huge expanse of petroleum spreading across the Gulf. The hard reality is that better energy technologies aren’t yet abundant or cheap enough to replace oil in the near future.

But for the petroleum industry, there’s no going back to the way things were.

The above-mentioned disasters all changed the paradigms. After Three Mile Island, the nuclear industry lost momentum for decades. After the Titanic, no one put blind faith in steel hulls. After the Columbia was lost, it was clear that space travel was still very dangerous and would likely stay that way.
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