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"Bp Deepwater Disaster Plan Failure"

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"Bp Deepwater Disaster Plan Failure" essay
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Deepwater Disaster Plan Failure Risk management failures were a core factor leading to one of the largest oil well disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, US. The Deepwater explosion, in May 2010, killed 11 men and left miles of Louisiana coastline coated in oil, wreaking billions of dollars of damage to tourism and fishing industries in the area.

Between 3.3m and 4.9m barrels of o0il gushed out into the Gulf of Mexico, marking the worst marine disaster in US history. Part of the Contingency planning process came up short – BP According to the plan, even in the event of a leak 10 times worse than the present one, oil would not reach the shore because drilling operations are too far out to sea: Due to the distance to shore (48 miles) and the response capabilities that would be implemented, no significant adverse impacts are expected. Yet oil has already contaminated marshland on the Louisiana coast and tar balls have appeared on beaches as far away as Florida. Officials have been obliged to ban tourists from swimming on several miles of contaminated beaches in north-west Florida and Alabama.

The plan lists a firm called Marine Spill Response Corp as a group able to supply equipment to respond to a spill. But the website listed for the company links to a defunct Japanese-language web page. BP maintains in the document that it can scramble sufficient vessels to pick up as much as 20mgallons of oil from the water each day – an assumption that now appears highly optimistic. And a method of calculating the volume of a spill based on the darkness in color of the sheen of contaminated seawater produces an underestimate, with internationally accepted formulas delivering figures as much as 100 times higher. Among the liaison people listed in the event of an emergency is Bob Lutz, named as a wild life expert at the University of Miami. But AP says Lutz, a sea turtle expert, left Miami two decades ago to head the marine biology department at a university in Boca Raton, and died four years before BP plan was approved. The documents errors are likely to add to a rapidly growing public impression that BP was under-prepared for a serious accident. There are other wildly false assumptions. BP proposed method to calculate spill volume based on the darkness of the oil sheen is way off. The internationally accepted formula would produces timates 100 times higher.

The Gulf loop current, which is projected to help eventually send oil hundreds of miles around Florida southern tip and up the Atlantic coast, isnt mentioned in either plan. In early May, at least 80 Louisiana state prisoners were trained to clean birds by listening to a presentation and watching a video. It was a work force never envisioned in the plans, which contain no detailed references to how birds will be cleansed of oil. And while BP officials and the federal government have insisted that they have attacked the problem as if it were a much larger spill, that isn apparent from the constantly evolving nature of the response.

However, Shortcoming has been prevented after BP reported the seemingly good news that a containment cap installed on the wellhead was funneling some of the gushing crude to a tanker on the surface, BP introduced a whole new set of plans mostly aimed at capturing more oil. The latest incarnation calls for building a larger cap, using a special incinerator to burn off some of the recaptured oil and bringing in a floating platform to process the oil being sucked away from the gushing well. Below are some more examples of how BP plans have fallen short.1. Beaches, where oil washed up within weeks of a spill, were supposed to be safe from contamination because BP promised it could marshal more than enough boats to scoop up all the oil before any Deepwater spill could reach shore – a claim that in retrospect seems absurd.

The vessels in question maintain the necessary spill containment and recovery equipment to respond effectively, one of the documents says. BP asserts that the combined response could skim, suck up or otherwise remove 20million gallons of oil each day from the water. But “that is about how much has leaked in the past six weeks – and the slick now covers about 3,300 square miles”, according to Hans Graber, director of the University of Miami satellite sensing facility. Only a small lf raction of the spill has been successfully skimmed. Plus, an undetermined portion of the spill has sunk to the bottom of the Gulf or is suspended somewhere in between. The plan uses computer modeling to project a 21 percent chance of oil reaching the Louisiana coast within a month of a spill. An oily sheen reached the Mississippi River delta just nine days after the April 20 explosion. Heavy globs soon followed. Other locales where oil washed up within weeks of the explosion were characterized in BP regional plan as safely out of the way of any oil danger.2. BP site plan regarding birds, sea turtles or endangered marine mammals (no adverse impacts) also have proved far too optimistic. While the exact toll on the Gulf wildlife may never be known, the effects clearly have been devastating. More than 400 oiled birds have been treated, while dozens have been found dead and covered in crude, mainly in Louisiana but also in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. On remote islands teeming with birds, a visible patina of oil taints pelicans, gulls, terns and herons, as captured in AP photos that depict one of the more gut-wrenching aspects of the spill impact. Such scenes are no longer unusual; the response plans anticipate nothing on this scale.

In Louisiana Barataria Bay, a dead sea turtle caked in reddish-brown oil lay splayed out with dragonflies buzzing by. More than 200 lifeless turtles and several dolphins also have washed ashore. So, have countless fish. There weren supposed to be any coastline problems because the site was far offshore. Due to the distance to shore (48 miles) and the response capabilities that would be implemented, no significant adverse impacts are expected, the site plan says. But that distance has failed to protect precious resources. And last week, a group of environmental research center scientists released a computer model that suggested oil could ride ocean currents around Florida and up to North Carolina by summer.3. Perhaps the starkest example of BP planning failures: The company has insisted that thesize of the leak doesn’t matter because it has been reacting to a worst-case scenario all along. Yet each step of the way, as the estimated size of the daily leak has grown from 42,000gallons to 210,000 gallons to perhaps 1.8 million gallons, BP has been forced to scramble- to create potential solutions on the fly, to add more boats, more boom, more skimmers, more workers. And containment domes, top kills, top hats.4. While a disaster as devastating as a major oil spill will create some problems that can be solved in advance, or even foreseen, BP plans do not anticipate even the most obvious issues and use mountains of words to dismiss problems that have proven over whelming. In responses to lengthy lists of questions from AP, officials for BP and the Interior Department, which oversees oil rig regulator Minerals Management Service, appear to concede there were problems with the two oil spill response plans.

Many of the questions you raise are exactly those questions that will be examined and answered by the presidential commission as well as other investigations into BP oil spill, said Kendra Bark off, spokeswoman for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. She added that “Salazar has undertaken transformational reforms of MMS”. Said BP spokesman Daren Beaudo from Robert, Louisiana: We expect that a complete review of the regional response plans and planning process will take place as part of the overall incident investigation so that we can determine what worked well and what needs improvement. Thus far we have implemented the largest spill response in history and many, many elements of it have worked well.

However, we are greatly disappointed that oil has made landfall and impacted shorelines and marshes. The situation we are dealing with is clearly complex, unprecedented and will offer us much to learn from. A key failure of the plan cleanup provisions was the scarcity of boom – floating lines of plastic or absorbent material placed around sensitive areas to deflect oil. From the start, local officials all along the Gulf Coast have complained about a lack of supplies, particularly the heavier, so-called ocean boom. But even BP says in its regional plan that boom isn effective in seas more than three to four feet; waves in the Gulf are often bigger. And even in calmer waters, oil has swamped vital wildlife breeding grounds in places supposedly sequestered by multiple layers of boom. The BP plans speak of thorough resources for all; there no talk of a need to share. Still, Alabama Gov.

Bob Riley said his shores were left vulnerable by Coast Guard decisions to shift boom to Louisiana when the oil threatened landfall there. Meanwhile, in Louisiana Plaquemines Parish, Nungesser and others have complained that miles of the boom now in the water were not properly anchored. AP reporters saw evidence he was right – some lines of boom were so broken up they hardly impeded the slick push to shore.

Some out-of- state contractors who didn’t know local waters placed boom where tides and currents made sure it didn’t work properly. And yet disorganization has dogged efforts touse local boats. In Venice, Louisiana, near where the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf, a large group of charter captains have been known to spend their days sitting around at the marina, earning $2,000 a day without ever attacking the oil.But perhaps the most glaring error in BP plans involves Lutz, the professor, one of several dozen experts recommended as resources to be contacted in the event of a spill. Lutz is listed as a go-to wildlife specialist at the University of Miami. But Lutz, an eminent sea turtle expert, left Miami almost 20 years ago to chair the marine biology department at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. He died four years before the plan was published.

Lessons learned and misconceptions: As we note the 6th anniversary of the Macondo tragedy, let us not take away the wrong lesson by misinterpreting the past. It was not offshore drilling per se that led to the accident, but rather the fact that too cozy a relationship between regulators from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) and owners and operators of the Deepwater Horizon rigled to woefully inadequate regulatory oversight. There was also poor coordination and inadequate lines of responsibility among BP, Transocean, and Haliburton employees. Additionally, there was no contingency planning by the companies or the U.S. Coast Guard on what to do in the event of an emergency—a grave shortcoming when you are drilling at depths with little experience.

Finally, from the evidence presented in court and in regulatory proceedings, there was gross negligence on the part of BP and its partners who placed short-term profits against technically sound drilling practices, with untold damage in the public trust of the entire petroleum industry, an industry on which the world’s future lies.

Though this incident certainly represents the dangers of offshore drilling without requisite oversight, it has also placed an unjust stigma on many leaders in the industry who have exemplified sound environmental consciousness in their drilling practices. As global leaders work to expand energy access to the millions of people worldwide who still lack basic electricity, the oil and gas industry should and must be an important partner.

The way forward after Macondo Moving forward, development of offshore drilling should continue prudently from the Arctic to the Gulf. Many policies and best practices can ensure safety standards are met, including: o Increased regulatory standards particularly those specific to regional environments; o Better company transparency for stakeholder accountability; o Spill response drills and contingency planning for the U.S. Coast Guard; and o Utilizing the best available technology and continuing job training for rig operators. As noted, demand for oil will outpace current available resources, and outlawing off shore drilling a policy advocated by several presidential candidates would be hugely detrimental not only to enabling access to important resources for energy development but also for the many Americans whose jobs and livelihoods are directly tied to the industry.

Finally, the major lessonof Macondo for the future of Arctic offshore drilling once prices justify renewed interest in the region is that the U.S. government should use this period to develop the requisite infrastructure(ports, harbors, the prepositioning of vital equipment such as capping stacks, etc.) and detailed contingency planning before any new permits should be given. There are avenues policy makersand private sector entities can take to ensure a Macondo never happens again, but only by committing to regulation today.

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“BP deepwater disaster plan failure”. (2018, August 28). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 13, 2021, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/bp-deepwater-disaster-plan-failure/
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