By Harvey Tobkes
PhotobucketPhoto from Wikipedia – Types of Oil Drilling Rigs

Drilling for oil in an open sea is a dangerous operation and there are a multitude of risks. No doubt, there are many precautions taken so that the oil platforms can survive the forces of wind and water. I am sure there are many safety measures taken to protect the workers from the hazards involved, yet the nature of their operation — extraction of volatile substances, sometimes under extreme pressure in a hostile environment — means risk; accidents and tragedies occur regularly. The U.S. Minerals Management Service reported 69 offshore deaths, 1,349 injuries, and 858 fires and explosions on offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico from 2001 to 2010. So risk in inherent in the operation.

But what about the originators of the plans to build these oil platforms…scientists, engineers, oceanographers, highly experienced oil executives; what did they really know. The risk of an explosion on the ocean floor was a known factor to many of these people. Why did these platforms get built in the first place if no safety measures were in place, just in case of a disaster such as just occurred? They should have expected the unexpected.

I blame anyone who had knowledge of this possibility and did nothing to have a safety cap of some kind in place and ready to contain the potential unleashed fury that lies beneath the floor of the sea. And if that cap is not yet an available option from underwater engineers, then no oil platforms should have been built in the first place.

it is clear to me that there was insufficient risk assessment conducted prior to this drilling endeavor. The potential benefits (think profits) were weighted more highly than any potential costs, including risks; not to even mention the potential adverse environmental impacts.

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