BP Poised To Resume Drilling In Gulf Of Mexico This Summer
It’s been almost a year since the calamitous BP oil spill - the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history - killed eleven people aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and leaked some 5 billion gallons of crude oil into the Gulf Mexico.
But as oil prices continue to skyrocket worldwide, BP is making a case to begin drilling operations in the Gulf as early as July, according to the Financial Times.
BP’s desire to resume drilling in the Gulf has put President Barak Obama in a bind, as the administration struggles to balance environmental and safety concerns with the allure of increasing domestic oil production to ease oil prices.
Since the Obama administration lifted its moratorium on deepwater-drilling last October, BP has placed just one application for a drilling permit in the Gulf. However, BP announced over the weekend that it would be permitted to resume drilling in 10 of their existing oil fields in exchange for 24-hour unrestricted U.S. government access.
BP currently has 20 oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico.
Even though the BP oil spill was the largest accidental oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry, Transocean – the firm responsible for the Deepwater Horizon rig – gave its top executives major bonuses for the company’s “best year” with regard to safety, according to the BBC.
The bonuses came in lieu of a U.S. government report that found cost-cutting had caused the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon and that Transocean, BP and Halliburton were to blame for the disaster.
From the BBC:
The company's annual report acknowledges the explosion on the rig, but goes on to say that it exceeded internal safety targets.
"Notwithstanding the tragic loss of life in the Gulf of Mexico, we achieved an exemplary statistical safety record as measured by our total recordable incident rate and total potential severity rate," the report says.
"As measured by these standards, we recorded the best year in safety performance in our company's history, which is a reflection on our commitment to achieving an incident free environment, all the time, everywhere," it adds.
Critics of Obama’s policy toward deepwater drilling, such as Fox Analyst Michael Goodwin, believe the current administration is to blame for driving up oil costs and increasing U.S. dependency on foreign oil.
“America, to become energy independent, its needs to develop its own natural resources,” Goodwin said. “And a good deal of them happen to be in the Gulf of Mexico.”
The administration’s attitude toward BP has also come under fire from the Republican Party, including Sen. David Vitter (R-LA).
“We need to develop more leases, but also once a company has a lease, we need to let them produce,” he said in an interview with Fox News Business, referring to the now quiet oil fields in the Gulf.
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