Too much exception has been taken to President Obama’s use of “British Petroleum”, and very scant realisation has set in on the scale of the environmental catastrophe that has taken place and is taking place. There has also been concern for the financial portfolios of British pensioners. If there are people, especially old folk, who have put all their eggs in the basket of high risk, volatile, single company oil stocks, I would hope they went into such an arrangement with their eyes wide open or with appropriate amounts. Concern for current pensioners is though cover for funds which should level off eventually. If there are some funds that are overexposed, they should explain their strategy.
It’s another symptom of how the financial bottom line and profit is being put above health and wellbeing of people and planet. There are tens of thousands of barrels of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico every day. No one here seems to be speculating on what this means, and how the well will be stopped. What if it can't be blocked? What if it keeps flowing for months, years or even decades till the oil runs out?
Oil is said to be drifting into the Atlantic Ocean and entering the Gulf Stream. That hits Europe including the west coast of Scotland. BP oil could be reaching us in time to come, having a major impact which may not just be in terms of pollution. Could the oil also fundamentally alter the nature of the ocean current itself, having an effect on our climate given the warmer temperatures it brings?
No one seems to be asking the questions or giving assurances. We cannot trust BP to tell us what the scenarios are. There have been deceitful PR operations on this from day one, when BP went down to the source after the explosion and said there was no leak. They then didn’t release HD footage of the oil gushing out for over a month, meaning that the true extent of the oil coming out was not known till very recently.
I hope someone, somewhere is looking into this while our government instead worry about BP’s share price. Since the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the UK government has approved deepwater drilling off the coast of Shetland. The drilling there is not in as deep water as the drilling at the Macondo Prospect (5,000 ft vs 1,430 ft to the sea floor and 18,000ft vs 7,654ft below the sea floor).
Depth may not be an issue at all, and there may have been peculiarities in the Gulf of Mexico. The point is that at this stage we don’t know the causes, and it may be prudent to take the action the Norwegians and the US have in suspending all deepwater drilling. Chris Huhne, energy minister, has said that the regulation of oil drilling in the North Sea is handled better than in the US, but this supposes that he somehow knows what the cause of the tragedy was there before an investigation has even concluded.
It’s all very well to blame BP, but the US government allowed them to drill. The UK is doing likewise. And just as with the banks, there is all the appearance of government not knowing what the heck they’re allowing big business to get up to.