Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Cut BP Some Slack Already
A lot of people are really pissed off about the BP oil leak that started back on Earth Day of all days (April 22, 2010), and shows no signs of being contained anytime soon. Estimates are all over the map but most experts agree that approximately 40-50 million gallons of oil has already leaked out into the ocean as a result of the BP spill. In comparison the Exxon Valdez oil spill oozed a paltry 11 million gallons of oil into the ocean. The effects of the BP spill are wide spread as the Gulf Coast fishing and tourism industries have been brought to their knees, coastal Louisiana and other East Coast beach towns are threatened by closures, and entire eco-systems in the Gulf of Mexico are at risk of extinction. Naturally people want someone to blame for this disaster and BP is an easy target. But I for one say we should cut them some slack. We’ve all heard on the news that this disaster could have easily been avoided had BP simply installed an “acoustics regulator” on their Deepwater rig. But dude, those things cost like $500,000 and that’s a big chunk of change even for BP (fourth largest company in the WORLD, $17B in PROFITS in FY2009). We’ve also heard about their suspect safety record (with 872 ‘serious violations’ since 2007, BP accounted for 97% of all serious safety violations in the industry over that span). Hey, safety is expensive man and as a good corporate citizen BP had an obligation to its shareholders to cut as many corners as possible to maximize profits. And lastly people have criticized BP's inability to contain a leak on a system they installed and operated. Well that’s just silly. Do you know how deep that rig is? It’s 5,000 feet below the surface of the ocean. And do you know how fast that oil is gushing out into the sea? It’s impossible to know exactly since BP has refused to allow independent scientists to perform accurate measurements, but experts agree the figure falls somewhere between 12,000 and 100,000 barrels per day. Just think about the logistics involved in containing a leak of this magnitude at that depth in the ocean. It’s not like they’re not trying. First they launched operation ‘top hat’, then they tried operation ‘big straw’, and most recently they attempted operation ‘top kill’. Unfortunately none of these 'solutions' panned out, but it’s ONLY been 48 days people so let’s get off their backs already. I’m sure they’ll eventually figure something out, they just need more time. Speaking of time…
It took 23 years to build the Great Pyramid of Giza (2584-2561 BC). It’s one of the great seven ancient wonders of the world. A big pile of rocks in the middle of the desert is more like it.
It took 276 years to build the Great Wall of China (1368-1644 AD). It may be 5,500 miles long but at the end of the day it’s still just a wall.
It took 12 years to build the Roman Colosseum (70-82 AD). Have you seen that thing lately? It’s in ruins.
It took 22 years to build the Taj Mahal (1631-1653 AD). It’s been called one of the greatest architectural achievements in the history of the world. Yeah – but they forgot to put a casino on the bottom floor… snooze city.
It took 34 years to build the Panama Canal (1880-1914 AD). Water in, water out. Water in, water out. Boring.
It took 4 years to build the Golden Gate Bridge (1933-1937 AD). It’s metal, it’s red, and you can drive your car across it. Yawn.
It took 2 years to build the Eiffel Tower (1887-1889 AD). A crew of twenty Mexican dudes built the exact same tower in Vegas in about two weeks. Ho hum.
It took 410 days to build the Empire State Building (1930-1931 AD). Yeah it’s tall but let’s face it, compared to modern high rises it blows.
And you want to complain about BP taking a measly 48 days (and counting) to figure out how to stop a massive oil hemorrhage 5,000 feet beneath the surface of the ocean? History shows us that Rome wasn’t built in a day so let’s all be patient while BP diligently works to figure this thing out.
Don't worry BP, take as much time as you need, it’s all good.