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April 27, 2010

Oil Spill: A Great News Day for British Petroleum

Category: Companies,News,Technology – Tom Harrison – 7:41 pm

oil rig explosion

Not As Important as...

I was surprised to hear (for the first time today) that there was an oil drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico that, um, exploded last week (a couple days before Earth Day), and is currently pumping 42,000 barrels of oil a day into the water, and attempts to shut down the leak (1 mile down) have failed repeatedly since the leak was discovered on Saturday — I happened to be in my car and heard a report on NPR.

After dinner, I went to the New York Times to read more.

But I didn’t find anything without a search. Granted, lots of news today:

  • Goldman Sachs CEO questioned on possible fraud
  • Republicans blocking attempt to reform our financial regulations
  • Stock market down 2% because Greek credit rating cut to “junk”
  • Strict abortion measures enacted in Oklahoma
  • Impacts from Arizona’s immigration laws

So I started trolling around the sections. World: nada. Business: nope, all front page stuff, plus Ford makes a big profit. Technology: Apple iPad related story. Science? Nope. Green? Nope. (Really!) Health? Nope. US: fifth story, something about Robots (turns out to be about the oil disaster).

Good thing for British Petroleum, apparently a lot of other big news pushed their little disaster to the back of the book.

OK. If I recall correctly, it wasn’t but a few days ago that there was a bru-ha-ha about Obama taking a rather unexpected stance on offshore oil drilling, which was that it was fine.

Even if it’s just a nice little irony that within weeks of making steps towards drilling for oil that a platform explodes (yes, explodes), killing 11 people, and four days later someone notices that thousands of gallons of oil are leaking into the sea every hour. And that now, three days later, it’s still leaking. So they have robots down there trying to deploy the emergency shut-offs. But they are not working.

Officials had initially said that the operation, which began Sunday morning, would take 24 to 36 hours. But on Monday a Coast Guard spokesman said officials would keep trying as long as the efforts were feasible because “it’s the best option.” The other options — collecting the oil in a dome and routing it to the surface or drilling one or more relief wells — would take weeks or even several months to execute.

So far, the environmental impact is not severe. But that’s because winds are blowing the right direction. For now. The forecast in a couple days doesn’t look so good.

I cannot understand why this is not a bigger news story! Heck, when there’s a house fire in Boston, it makes the top of the local news, but here, a rather dramatic explosion that killed 11 people, has 1,000 people working to fix it, which comes right on the heels of movements to allow other offshore drilling, whose efforts to fix are not making significant progress, and where the backup plan would take weeks or months (all while 42,000 gallons of oil are flowing into the sea — is this not news?

Sure, the political theater of congress questioning the Goldman Sachs CEO whose defense was interesting. But isn’t this oil spill thingy kind of … significant?

Update: since I started writing this at 8PM, the Times posted a story “Concern Grows about Impact of Oil Spill“, and it made the first page (below the fold).


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Karl Woll and Jorge Amigo, CG Agencies. CG Agencies said: Great post with a good point: why isn't the Gulf of Mexico oil spill (42,000 b/d) getting any media attention? […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Oil Spill: A Great News Day for British Petroleum | Five Percent: Conserve a Little Energy -- — April 27, 2010 @ 11:35 pm

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tom Harrison. Tom Harrison said: Still minimal media coverage on 42,000 gal/day of oil spilling into the sea; below the fold this AM on NYT […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Oil Spill: A Great News Day for British Petroleum | Five Percent: Conserve a Little Energy -- — April 28, 2010 @ 7:33 am

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