May 26, 2018
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BP and oil spill: Gridlock or terminal stupidity?

By Fred Mendel, Special to the BDN

The latest evidence of our nation’s inability to act quickly and decisively is BP’s massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Our government thus far has seen fit to sit on the sidelines and verbally pummel BP as BP stumbles from one failed attempt after another to seal the leak completely. It is time to take BP out of this mess and seek international assistance, since American know-how is confined to getting BP to pay claims tardily and staging senatorial grandstand plays composed of the usual hot winds and gaseous displays.

The Russians have dealt with sealing off oil and gas wells at least 1.5 kilometers deep with surgically placed low-yield nuclear explosions five times. Four were successful. That is an 80 percent degree of probability of success, better than BP has managed.

At BP’s rate of “success,” the gulf and the East Coast of the U.S. await damage beyond calculation. Apparently, the Soviets buried the nuclear device under rubble and detonated the device, yielding 1.5 times the explosive force detonated at Hiroshima. The successful blast squeezed the oil leak shut — permanently. Certainly, the localized damage to the environment would be far exceeded by the present spread of the oil spill to date and thereafter.

The cost of hiring foreign professionals should be billed to and paid for by BP. Our scientists should screen the Russian team to ascertain what the cost-benefit analysis cannot yield from BP — an honest and real-world idea of what this process will yield, complete with the good and bad effects.

Obviously, the United States should refuse to grant BP any further oil leases and cancel current ones at once. Their safety infractions can be counted in the hundreds (760 to date), while Exxon Mobil Corp. and the like can count their infractions in the single digits. I am sure that the other oil companies will bid to take over the current and future leases. The funds resulting from the sale of these oil leases by the departing BP should be taken away from BP and used to guarantee payment by BP of all legitimate claims and all costs of cleanup.

To the devil with letting BP fight this through the courts until they have grossed enough revenue to meet their obligations. Their treatment should be as rough-hewn and straightforward as their ruinous rape of the gulf has been to date. My view is that they should be driven into bankruptcy and out of the offshore oil-drilling business — permanently.

Our environment cannot afford the continued operation of oil rigs by these dangerous clowns. Every time BP CEO Tony Hayward opens his mouth, he infuriates me and abuses the patience of us all. My patience with these scofflaws, these profit-seeking profligates, these amoral Babbitts is long dead.

Fred Mendel of Sherman is a retired general accountant.

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