Friday, June 04, 2010

The Risks of Drilling in Deep Water

The Oil Drum has just posted an article about past drilling accidents. All of these accidents point up the risks associated with drilling in deep water. If we want that oil we better decide just how much risk we want to live with. There have to be priorities.

The Gulf residents are finding out the hard way what it means to triage a disaster. If Katrina didn't send a message this blowout will. All those lovely beaches will be sacrificed for the protection of marshes that are the Gulf's nurseries. The residents are angry because the President said we wouldn't spare the resources but clearly he is not able to take care of everything. Well guess what?! There is no bottomless pit of money and we can only go so far with the resources we have. Unless of course folks want to incur more taxes and fees? No? Well then, either redirect resources from other priorities, and you better be prepared to take the consequences, or deal with the reality. Whining will get us nowhere.

People; we are not through drilling and the opportunities for more accidents, and more spills, are still there.

1 comment:

The North Coast said...

Right on target.

Since WW2, Americans and other Westerners have become accustomed to living in a Cornucopian Fantasy Dreamland Nanny State, created by a combination of government programs designed to spread, and thus disguise, the costs of our energy-guzzling systems, and the availability of copious quantities of cheap fuel. We have been so coddled in this country at all socio-economic levels that we have no concept of price-paying, or what the true cost of running this gigantically complex show really is.

The little fuel shortages of the 70s gave us no idea of what REAL shortages, and permanent ones, were really like, and what the permanent decline of fossil fuel availability will mean for us.

Perhaps it is now dawning on the Peak Oil Deniers how expensive our remaining fuel supplies will be, and that there is no one else to pass the costs to. If BP is made to pay to the extent possible for this spill, and if meaningful rules and regs are enforced to prevent another, our oil will of course become much more expensive. I have news for consumers, but there is no way BP and Chevron are going to absorb the costs and not pass them on to the end user. Life does not work that way.

If, on the other hand, BP is successful in shirking liability for this disaster, it will be passed on to the taxpayers and it might just be the last straw for a public burdened with $13T in public debt already.

There's no way around it. Oil and gas, and all the things that depend upon them- our lives, in other words- are going to become much more expensive and risky as we go down the slope.

And we are going to have to learn about trade-offs and price-paying, something the passive, entitlement-addled denizens of the Corporate Nanny State are going to have a difficult time with.