BP originally estimated that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill would be contained with robotic submarines, however early attempts to contain the oil spill failed. Now BP and the Obama administration are left with an ever-worsening environmental catastrophe and a spiralling clean-up bill that runs into billions of dollars.
As of Thursday, over 70 lawsuits have been filed against BP and Transocean, with the potential for thousands of claims. The new estimate for the clean-up operation is a whopping $23 billion, however it appears an acoustic trigger that doesn’t fall under mandatory government legislation could have prevented the oil slick.
Preventing the oil spill
In theory, the trigger, which costs $500,000 to install could have been activated remotely, and likely could have been operated by the fleeing workman once the fire took hold of the Deepwater Horizon rig.
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Instead BP opted to put their faith in submersible robots, although they are particularly difficult to operate, especially at 5000 feet below sea level. Despite containing one of three leaks in the oil pipe, BP has yet to find an answer for the 5000 barrels spewing into the fragile Gulf of Mexico and is now having to field awkward questions about the the trigger.
How Norway and Brazil prevent potential oil spills with triggers
As the oil spill spreads and washes up on Southern beaches and destroys marine habitats, questions are rightly being asked about preventative triggers, and how plausible they could be for all deep sea oil rigs. To emphasize their importance, oil producing countries such as Norway and Brazil require the triggers and some oil companies find the device so vital that they voluntarily include it on equipment when exploring for oil in the U.S. Gulf.
With varying arguments about whether the trigger would operate effectively at such depths at 5000 feet, it seems it isn’t just environmentalists that are calling for an end to offshore drilling, and alternative, cleaner, methods of producing energy must be sought to protect people and wildlife that depend solely on offshore areas for their livelihood.
Regardless of the huge sums of money at stake for BP and Transocean, Robert Dudley, vice-president for BP America, suggested that the oil company’s deep-water ambitions could be permanently damaged by the slick.