While I don’t think BP should deserve too much sympathy I am concerned by America’s obvious double standards in the wake of on the Gulf of Mexico spill. Granted there has been a huge environmental impact on the area but to make BP fully responsible when it wasn’t directly responsible for the drilling (Transocean were) seems like a tough position. However, BP have admitted fault and will be, they say, fully responsible for the cleanup. So the fact that America are now drawing up amendments to prevent BP for doing any more drilling in American waters is completely unacceptable. It is as though they are saying the accident was deliberate and that BP, unlike all other oil companies, somehow takes no consideration when it comes to safety. Or is it that they are all as bad as each other, and America is using it as an excuse to offer permits over to American oil companies instead.
The fact is this spill will cost BP billions of pounds, so to imply this isn’t hurting them is an understatement. BP employs more Americans than any other nationality and contributes substantially to their coffers; this should at least give BP a fair hearing. I can’t see, for example, such a stand point being taken against an American company in the same position. It is quite incredible when you look at the safety record of other oil companies and the sanctions put upon them in comparison to BP.
Nigeria for example has sustained a large number of spills, so much so that it is believed to have had more environmental impact than the Gulf of Mexico spill. But I don’t remember ExxonMobil having their knuckles rapped for spilling more than a million gallons of oil into the delta for seven days on 1st May. The fact that the Niger delta supplies 40% of all crude the US imports should surely have made more headlines? Apparently over 1.5 m tons of oil sin 2006 (50 times the Exxon Valdez tanker spilt in Alaska) has been spilled here in the last century.
So if BP are to lose licences on the basis of this crisis, then the same rules should be applied to all oil companies. Problem is there wouldn’t be any oil companies left!