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November 29th, 2010

Government, BP Ill-Prepared for Size and Scale of Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

A new white paper by the National Commission on the BP rig blowout-related spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April, indicates that both BP and the federal administration were not prepared for the size and magnitude of the oil spill. The white paper has criticism for the manner in which both the company and the government handled the offshore accident.

According to the report, in the first 30 days after the disaster, US officials failed to establish proper communication channels to begin spill control measures immediately. Disorganization was the name of the game, and most conference calls related to the spill ended with people shouting over each other. The white paper also criticizes BPs failure to respond adequately to the disaster.

However, the report also supports the federal administration’s moves to strengthen offshore drilling safety. It is also making some suggestions to prevent future disasters of this kind. According to the white paper, the administration must require all offshore drilling companies to prove their ability to respond to another spill of this magnitude. This can be done by mandating certain insurance requirements before drilling activity, or through bonding.

The white paper also finds that BP, a company whose yearly profits from oil drilling activities run into the hundreds of billions of dollars, devoted only a tiny percentage of those profits to disaster prevention activities. The result was that when the Deepwater Horizon blew up, contributing to a leak from the well site, BP was not prepared for the disaster.  The initial spill control methods were amateurish and inadequate. Hopefully, BP and other oil and gas drilling companies as well as the federal administration have learned their lessons from this tragedy.

The maritime lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent injured maritime workers in offshore oil rig accidents across the globe.

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