In Support of a Drilling Moratorium: Another Production Platform Bursts into Flames in the Gulf


You could, with relative ease, make an air-tight argument for a deep-water drilling moratorium in the Gulf – but no need, because the industry continues to make the case for us time and again.

The latest example is yet another production platform fire, this one on a reportedly idle well about 50 miles south of Grand Isle (off the coast of Louisiana).

News sources say two workers evacuated the rig and were picked up by nearby boats, and they were apparently the only workers there at the time. Reports also say that the Bureau of Oceans and Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) “…has personnel en route to verify the status of the wells and the platform, as well as investigate the cause of the fire.”

So, great, given what we’ve learned about the Bureau’s lax regulation, this only means that “the fox is en route to the henhouse.”

The fire comes as the real boss at BP, corporate group chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, said today that his company’s gargantuan spill should not halt deep-water drilling. It was an accident to learn from, he asserted.

Speaking to reporters in Sweden, Carl-Henric Svanberg also said that BP is not going to be 100 percent responsible for the spill because it was also the fault of other companies. Of course, he didn’t say it exactly like that. What he said was the disaster “…was the result of a complex series of inter-linked events, decisions and missed opportunities by multiple parties…we fully accept our share of responsibility.”

A “share?” Translation: We are not taking the rap alone.

Clearly, the game plan is for BP to assemble all its pay-outs then sue its partners in crime. Now, those will be interesting lawsuits if they’re ever made public. Look for the companies to try and keep everything under wraps. In the meantime, having these rigs burst into flames every so often is not helping the industry image – they must enjoy the fact that the investigators have such a cozy history with the industry.

Here’s a link to your chance to translate BP speak:

Here’s a take on the rig fire:

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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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