Mounting Data Reveal Gulf Spill as Unique to BP, Aberrant of Industry Norms

Jun 14, 2010, 10:28 ET from Dr. Bernard L. Weinstein

Economist warns Washington should resist politics as usual, not assail entire industry for one company's mistakes

DALLAS, June 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Newly released information confirms suspicions that the Gulf oil spill was not indicative of an industry-wide lapse but rather the failure of one company, BP, to maintain its own safety standards. Lapses in recognized industry norms by BP include:

  • failing to take appropriate action when cementing of its production casing went off track;
  • relying on inaccurate measures when running diagnostic tests on the well's casing;
  • ignoring the red flag sent up by a second, more accurate test indicating the casing had failed to form a seal; and
  • disregarding myriad other signs that pointed to the imminent danger of disaster.

On Friday, June 11, 2010, the Wall Street Journal featured a letter to the editor from Samson Oil and Gas President Terry Barr detailing these breakdowns. Cautioning Washington to resist its tendency to play politics-as-usual and avoid acts that malign the entire oil and gas industry, business economist and energy expert Dr. Bernard "Bud" Weinstein released the following statement:

"On multiple occasions leading up to the failure of this well, BP turned a cheek to warning signs that other energy industry entities would have quickly recognized as warranting remedial action and extensive precautionary measures.

"The April 20 catastrophe resulted from a failure to act on the safety standards that inform the work of each of the thousands of other facilities that operate safely in the Gulf. The devastating impact of the spill has, unsurprisingly yet unfairly, cast a pall over the entire industry -- a sector largely composed of principled businesses that provide the Gulf region with a huge percentage of its jobs, income and investment.

"A few opportunistic lawmakers are now trying to frame all oil and gas companies as reckless; but the facts tell a different story entirely. True, the Gulf spill is the worst of its kind since 1969. But in the ensuing 41 years, the industry's safety and environmental record has been exemplary.

"Washington should not tar the whole industry with the brush that should be reserved for BP."

Dr. Bernard L. Weinstein, associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute and adjunct professor of business economics in the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, has research and policy experience in fossil fuels, nuclear and renewable energy. He has worked with national governments and private firms engaged in international commerce, and he recently completed an assessment of the costs and benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement. In recent years, he has participated in economic development projects in China, India, Thailand and Mexico. Weinstein offers up-to-date perspectives on economic conditions and prospects to the local and national media.

SOURCE Dr. Bernard L. Weinstein