BP Spill, Six Months Later

Six months have passed since the Transocean drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, contracted to BP, exploded in a catastrophic and spectacular blowout, ending the lives of eleven brave crew members. The Macondo well would continue to flow, essentially unabated, for the next three months.


Environmentalists predicted disaster. Let’s look at reality.

Federal leaders of Gulf of Mexico oil spill response report only a few lingering trouble spots

Nearing the six-month mark after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the federal government’s top responders to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill are reporting on-the-water findings that couldn’t have been imagined at the height of the crisis four months ago: very little recoverable oil still in the water or on the bottom, barely even trace amounts of dispersant chemicals and no samples of contaminated seafood in open water or in the marshes. [emphasis added]

Couldn’t have been imagined four months ago, eh?
Just over four months ago, your humble correspondent made this rather public statement:

Mr. Maley: From Day One of the spill, I’ve seen journalists … trying to force [the story] into an Exxon Valdez template. This is not a Valdez spill. It’s a much lighter grade of crude. It was 50 miles offshore. It took it a month to make it to shore, and once it’s in the marsh — it’s a terrible thing and I am not trying to minimize it, but Mother Nature has ways to take care of it. And my expectation would be that in a few months you would be able to find some impact. In a year, possibly. After a few years….I am not an environmental specialist but my thinking would be that Mother Nature’s gonna take care of it.


How is it that a self-described Energy Whore casually made a more accurate forecast of the spill impact six months out than the entire professional environmental community? What does a guy have to do to gain some credibility?

Seriously, though, this raises a key policy question. Is offshore oil production worth the risk? I say yes.

Can we learn from our mistakes? Certainly. Industry’s track record is one of learning from mistakes. Considered objectively, it is an impressive record.

There are plenty of lessons in the Macondo blowout. The Administration has virtually halted offshore drilling, which is precisely the wrong thing to do.

Cross-posted at VladEnBlog.

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