Tuesday, June 8, 2010
On April 20 of this year we were informed of an oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. The blowout caused a catastrophic explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil drilling platform. This is currently a massive ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, now considered the largest offshore spill in U.S. history. Experts fear that due to factors such as petroleum toxicity and oxygen depletion, the spill will result in an environmental disaster, damaging the Gulf of Mexico fishing industry, the Gulf Coast tourism industry, and the habitat of hundreds of bird species, fish and other wildlife. The ecosystem in the gulf will be effected for decades because of this. Any many predict that this oil contamination will spread beyond the Gulf. The ecosystem is interconnected from the tiniest organism to humans who drink water and eat food. However, the ecosystem is not the only thing interconnected. The media that fabricates the truth, the governments that also hide the facts and big oil companies are more interconnected than a lot of people realize.
I have been following this story like many other people in this continent and elsewhere on the planet. We are being bombarded with different figures on the size of the spill and what the impact will be. My heart goes out first to the people that lost their lives in the explosion, but now we need to consider the livelihoods of the people in the Gulf region that depend on the sea. We need to take in to account the wildlife being affected along with the long term implications on human health. There are many players involved in this disaster including BP, the US government, the media and other third parties. Some of these entities are trying to cover their own butts first and foremost, so we as the general public are being given conflicting information at times instead of the truth. In my opinion BP for example is trying to sugarcoat the issue somewhat. Did you know that six weeks after this happened amidst all the grief they contributed to, they are paying dividends to their stockholders this quarter. BP will be paying $10.5 billion in dividends this year to shareholders. It has also been reported that BP has contracted for $50 million worth of TV advertising to protect their image during the course of this disaster. In addition, there are other corporations involved in this. In addition to BP, Transocean owns the deep sea rig the Deepwater Horizon and was contracted by BP. Halliburton, an energy services was the provider the cementing or casing for the oil well.
Estimates as of late May show the undersea well has spilled between 17 and 39 million gallons. These estimates differ from those of BP, who claimed the spill had only released 11 million gallons to date. BP has a long record of oil-related disasters in the United States. In 2005, BP’s Texas City refinery exploded, killing 15 workers and injuring another 170. In 2006, one of its Alaska pipelines leaked 200,000 gallons of crude oil. According to the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, approximately $1.6 billion in annual economic activity and services are at risk as a result of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. BP is a company valued at $152.6 billion, and which makes $93 million each day. When their costs to try to contain the spill have cost them hundreds of millions of dollars it is simply a cost of doing business. It is money that they can easily absorb. Millions of gallons of oil will remain in the ocean, destroying a great part the underwater ecosystem, and 100 miles of Louisiana coastline will never be the same. Now factor in the beginning of hurricane season and we can just imagine what may happen when even a moderate hurricane strikes that area.
Just after the Deepwater explosion, surviving employees were held in solitary confinement, while BP authorities made them waive their rights to sue. I guess that was their primary concern at that horrific time. Transocean Ltd., the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig leased by BP, has not getting as much attention in the media. Because of past experience with Gulf Oil spills, Transocean decided to insure the Deepwater Horizon rig for about twice what it was worth. Transocean reported making a $270 million profit from insurance payouts after the disaster. The very worst part about the Deepwater Horizon disaster is that nobody knows how bad it really is because they can’t measure what’s going on. They don’t know how to fully stop the oil from gushing out as of this time and then clean up the damage already done.
The average American consumers 25 barrels of oil per year. That is a startling fact. We can’t stop using oil overnight. We are addicted to it. I have been doing a lot of research on how governments and economies work. I used to be blindfolded and believed every thing I heard from governments and the mainstream media. Not any longer! In fact when you uncover the truth it is often not pretty. We are controlled by big corporate powers in society including big oil companies. These corporations have more control over the media and government more than many of us are aware. Corporations such as BP can manipulate governments and the mainstream media to put a positive spin on the news and not discuss the real facts. In fact this past week. President Obama, speaking to reporters recently, said to the media that BP would be held accountable for financial losses from what he called the "greatest environmental disaster of its kind in our history”. I hope the president is fully sincere in saying that. However, is he just stating that to make the average person affected by the crisis feel better? Will the US government hold BP and the other companies that contributed to this disaster fully accountable. I personally doubt it as major corporations and agencies tied to this will make sure they will accept as little as responsibility as possible. Big Oil and Big Corporations control the government and media more than the average citizen thinks. Citizens of the great country of the United States as well as Canada, where I am from, need to be aware of what is happening around us and not be held hostage by big oil companies any longer.