After leaking 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf and causing as yet undetermined damage from the spill zone to the coasts of five states, one would assume that we wouldn’t see more oil being tapped from that particular, seemingly cursed reservoir anytime soon.
But on Saturday, The New York Times reported that executives from BP and other oil companies are discussing the possibility of future drilling to obtain oil from that very reservoir. This news is especially alarming because BP’s catastrophic Macondo 252 well was officially pronounced dead only this Sunday.
Tadeusz W. Patzek, chairman of the department of petroleum and geosystems engineering at University of Texas was quoted in the Times saying that, “the bottom line here is that this reservoir still remains a target for further production.”
The article goes on to cite various experts who believe that “there are no technical or commercial reasons why BP — or another company if BP is wary of the political or public-relations repercussions — could not eventually produce oil from the formation.”
Hm. We can think of a few reasons – like the fact that the federal government still hasn’t gotten its act together to adequately oversee drilling and head off any environmental damage or injuries to workers. Legislation designed to address the shortcomings of the government’s oversight is languishing in Congress right now.
Months after what is now nationally known as the Deep Water Horizon oil spill, BP still evades taking responsibility for the disaster. And with many claiming that BP’s recently published incident report reads more like a clever press release than an apology, one may begin to question whether this tragedy has impacted the oil industry at all.
Really, how soon is too soon?
Ultimately what we have here is a question of ethics. But unlike most ethical dilemmas this seems to have a clear answer: enough is enough. Not now. Not anytime soon. At the very least, not until Congress passes the spill bills and the regulatory agency that oversees oil drilling gets a top-to-bottom overhaul.