As BP Closes More Deals, Stakes Get Even Higher for Real Global Regulatory Reform


First it was a huge deal with the Russian national oil company, now BP has won rights to a major project in Australia where it will drill in waters twice as deep as the Deepwater Horizon faced.

So let’s quickly review: BP finally gets to drill in the environmentally sensitive Arctic, albeit in Russia, in the South China Sea under a deal made some six months ago, and now in about 10,000 square miles off the Aussie coast.

I suggested early on that BP would diminish its U.S. exposure in case it ends up taking a big hit here in America. It’s been a while since we heard those thinly veiled “bankruptcy and lost jobs” threats, but they were certainly part of the spin at the outset of the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. And BP has moved to sell off some of its assets that might be jeopardized by taking its U.S. company through bankruptcy.

But that speculation aside, these deals illustrate that any real drilling reform must be global. Because at the end of the day, we do share the oceans. It also shows that the world economy is moving on – those Asian-Pacific leases are happening for the same reason Australia is opening up to speculative drilling. Huge oil-driven trade deficits are not just a U.S. problem, and other countries are now rolling the dice.

Meanwhile, we’re told that BP is assuring everyone that the lessons of the Deepwater Horizon are being incorporated into new drilling operations. The world will be watching to see if that really is the case, or if those assurances are just more blather from BP’s well-oiled public relations machine.

Read about the deal Down Under here:

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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