Solve The Problem First

By Robert Carpenter, Editor | July 2010 Vol. 65 No. 7

The drilling accident in the Gulf of Mexico and subsequent massive oil leak continues to make daily headlines in all media forms. The impacts and fallouts from this disaster will continue to be felt for some time.

As this magazine was going to press, the first of the intersect wells was being connected while the back-up neared the location as well. We can only hope by the time of publication, this relief well has successfully plugged the out-of-control well and clean-up efforts are proceeding with speed, efficiency and effectiveness.

At the heart of the maelstrom is BP. There is no shortage of lynch mobs wanting BP’s neck. The government, unlike their other actions in dealing with the disaster, wasted no time in their finger pointing, quickly assembling investigative teams and initiating Congressional hearings among other things.

But is now really the time for punitive measures and knee-jerk reactions that have far ranging impacts beyond BP? There is an environmental – and potentially economic – disaster in the Gulf of Mexico that needs the entire focus of BP and our nation’s resources. I, for one, would prefer BP leaders to concentrate all their efforts, energies and resources into controlling and stopping the leak along with containing and cleaning up the oil spill. Once that’s accomplished, then is the time to fully pursue investigative actions and/or other necessary measures.

Government actions seem to indicate BP acted purposefully and criminally to cause the accident. I find it hard to believe that BP – or any corporation for that matter, intentionally wanted to squander $40 or $50 billion (and counting). Board of directors and stockholders tend to frown on that.

So, is BP guilty of some nefarious, criminal intent? Highly unlikely. But guilty of negligence? Probably.