English 1010 Persuasive-argument revision paper by Karen Bowers
Now imagine, traveling down to Louisiana in April of this year, and seeing the beaches engulfed in oil with people wearing hospital quarantine uniforms standing with rakes and big black trash bags trying to clean up the oil, and then you look out into the ocean, and see nothing but black, murky, disgusting water. A bird is on the beach in the sand with oil in its wings, it can’t get the oil out, it just sits there and waits to die, or to be saved. You’re a little disappointed, you really wanted to swim in the ocean. You want to help clean but, you need some serious layers of clothing so you do not get oil on your skin but, all you have is flip-flops, some shorts, and some tank tops. A little later, you decide to go to a local seafood restaurant because you heard that Louisiana has some of the best seafood in the United States, but, they are closed due to not having enough supply of seafood, because they get most of their seafood from the fishermen that do their fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, which are out of work right now due to the oil spill. Now all you have left is the clubs and nightlife but, seriously you are not much of a drinker, and do not want to waste your trip getting plastered every night, so what else is there to do. You wanted this to be the best vacation of your life, but instead got the worst vacation of your life. Just imagine how the local people feel, having to see the city that they love effected so harshly by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
BP is a household name now that news about the Deepwater Horizon Oil Explosion has been on the news for the past three months. I do not think a day has gone by since the explosion happened that I have not heard some sort of news whether on the Internet or watching television that I have not heard something about the Oil Spill or the BP company. The Deepwater Horizon Explosion happened on April 20, of this year just 40 miles away from the Louisiana coast, Nola Reported that they removed the safety fluid right before the explosion happened, the explosion made the massive hole in the oil pipe, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig sank shortly after the explosion. ABC reported it killed 11 people, all men with families and injured 17 others . It is one of the largest oil spills in history. The New York Times says as much as 12,000-19,000 barrels flowed freely into the ocean on a daily basis, that is as much as 500,000 gallons a day, and the oil spill lasted for two and a half months, just imagine how much oil is in the ocean and on the beaches of Louisiana due to the explosion. CNN reported that on July 15th of this year they finally plugged up the hole with a makeshift plug, and that a more permanent fixture was also being tested ideas on how to stop the oil from spilling out range from sifting out all the oil to make a more permanent plug of cement and mud. Now Ironically enough this isn’t the first accident that BP has had in terms of oil spills, and explosions caused by safety regulation carelessness.
In March of 2005, CNN reported that 15 people were killed and many more injured in a Texas City Refinery accident. On the BP website it was reported that 230 other people were injured and that they made payments of up too 700 million dollars. It was also reported on the website that they paid the Occupational Safety and Health Administration(OSHA) 21. 3 million dollars to compensated for over 300 safety violations, that is a very large quantity of safety violations. In a global press conference on April 24th, 2006, a little over one year after the explosion John Mogford listed the 5 underlying causes to the explosion, Firstly, over the years the working environment had eroded to one characterized by resistance to change and lack of trust, motivation and purpose. Expectations around supervisory and management behavior
were unclear. Rules were not followed consistently. Individuals felt disempowered from suggesting or initiating improvements
Secondly, process safety, operations performance and systematic risk reduction priorities had not been set nor consistently reinforced by management. Safety lessons from other parts of BP were not acted on.
Thirdly, many changes in a complex organization – both of structure and personnel – led to a lack of clear accountability and poor communication. The result was workforce confusion over roles, responsibilities and priorities
The fourth cause focused on poor hazard awareness and understanding of process safety oon the site – resulting in people accepting higher levels of risk.
And finally, poor performance management and vertical communication in the refinery meant there was no adequate early warning system of problems and no independent means of understanding the deteriorating standards in the plant through thorough audit o of the organization.
It sounded like to me, that they did not have very much control over their company, and that all this could have been prevented if someone had actually taken charge and resolved all these problems going on with the refinery. The same refinery had another incident in early 2010. It was reported by Pro Publica, that for 40 days the Texas City Refinery was releasing toxic chemicals into the sky BP calculated that over 538,000 pounds of toxic vapors were released over the 40 days. The Toxic release of Vapors was due to the company keeping the equipment open while a key piece of the operating equipment was being repaired, a civil law suit filed by the Texas City District Attorney, the case cited 53 separate incidents. They have yet to decide yet regarding the lawsuit in that incident.
Now let’s move onto the Prudhoe Bay oil spill, Prudhoe Bay is on a northern Alaskan Harbor. ABC News stated it that as much as 300 too 700 gallons, as much as 100 gallons of it being crude oil, were spilt into the ocean, ABC also stated that it is said to be the largest spill in the northern Alaskan region. It happened due to corrosion in the pipes, because of a calcium build up. Inspectors found calcium in the pipes in an inspection in 1992. According to a Bnet Article, they were put on three year’s probation because of this incident and according to a AlaskaDispatch article they were given a fine of 20 million dollars. According to the EPA, the company was also found guilty of releasing waste in 1999 and were ordered to pay 22 million dollars for the damage that was done.
Now the largest Oil Company according to PetroStrategies is Saudi Arabian Oil Company and it has never had a major incident involving an oil spill, it has been around for over 7 decades. It opened in 1933. Now for a company producing the largest quantity of oil in the world, it is very remarkable that they have never had an accident. This is where compliance with safety issues come in. They must follow safety inspections, or they would have had an accident by now, by following rules and regulations, you pretty much eliminate the problems. BP is 19th on the list, they produce a significant less amount than the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, and still they have had three major accidents over the last five years, it is all because they did not follow safety regulations, and did not fix things in a timely manner in which all the oil spills could have been avoided in the first place. According to NewsObserver On July 24th Tony Hayward stepped down as CEO of BP, the new CEO might make the necessary changes to get the company in the right track let’s hope anyway. I think, they still deserve criminal charges, a more severe punishment than what they were given in regards to the other two oil spills, when they were just given probation and a fine, it was the same problem in which they did not follow safety regulations and were fined for the Prudhoe Bay Oil Spill and the Texas Refinery Explosion, so that is why I would like to see more severe criminal charges and punishments. They can argue that they did not know what was going to happen but, they assumed all responsibilities once an inspector came, said okay these things are wrong you need to fix them or something is going to happen.
In the future, I would like to see if they could try to rebuild their empire as the largest company in the world after this catastrophe of oil spills, because they really did do many things as far as oil production in the United States. The only thing, that they have done wrong is not follow safety guidelines but, the safety guidelines are there for a reason to keep people safe. They carelessly risked, people’s lives by ignoring these safety regulations. Now if they are to follow these safety regulations I believe they could get back on track as far as being a very productive company, I think they could be very beneficial again with their oil production in the United States.
In closing, The number and quantity of things we have lost can be strategically put out there, all the loss of life in the ocean, the plants in the ocean, our beaches, how long the oil is going to remain in the ocean and on our beaches. This quote is from Tony Hayward he gave during an interview with the Guardian Newspaper on May 14th, 2010, The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of oil and dispersant we are putting into the ocean, it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.
Which that may be true but, oil is a tough component to get out of anything. Have you ever gotten oil on your skin? It takes a really large amount of effort to get it off your skin once it’s on. My father worked on cars when I was little, and he had to buy a special soap to get all it off, and still his hands looked dirty even after he took a shower and washed himself. So the effects of the oil are going to be there for a while. You can’t scrub a beach or an ocean with a special soap. There are millions of fish, in that part of the ocean alone, the oil is going to effect their way of life. There are thousands of types of marine life, that live in that specific area in the gulf of Mexico their whole life and never leave. What are you supposed to do then? You can’t catch-all the fish in the Gulf of Mexico and put them somewhere safe, that’s just not possible, there are far too many, and efforts need to be made in other areas, like cleaning the beaches, and the ocean so the fishermen can get back out there and start making a living again, so the restaurants can start making a profit again. It will take many people to do all this, and this is not just a days worth of effort, this is going to be many years worth of effort to get it back to what it was before the oil spill happened, it might never happen. We might always have remains or effects from the oil spill. We’ll have to wait and find out the long-term effects of the oil spill now, won’t we?
Knutson, Ryan “BP Texas Refinery Had Huge Toxic Release Just Before Gulf Blowout” ProPublica.com, July 2, 2010
Korosec, Kirsten “BP’s Gulf Oil Spill: The Odds of Fines, Jail Time and the “Death Penalty” Bnet.com, June 3, 2010
Roach, John “Alaska Oil Spill Fuels Concerns Over Arctic Wildlife, Future Drilling” NationalGeographic.com, March 26, 2006
No name “BP Exploration [Alaska] Pleads Guilty To Hazardous Substance Crime Will Pay $22 Million, Establish Nationwide Environmental Management System” yosemite.epa.gov, Sept 23, 1999
Zeller, Tom “Estimates Suggest Spill Is Biggest in U.S. History” NYtimes.com, May 27, 2010
Lehr, Bill “Report: Estimates of the Oil Spilling from the Deepwater Horizon Rig” NYTimes.com, May 27, 2010
Mogford, John “The Texas City Refinery Explosion: The Lessons Learned” BP .com, April 24, 2010
Hammer, David and Shea, Daniel “Safety fluid was removed before oil rig exploded in Gulf” Nola.com, May 6, 2010
No name “Prudhoe Bay Oil Spill Now as Much as 100 Gallons” ABCNews.com, Dec, 30, 2009
Burke, Jill “BP still fighting fines stemming from ’06 oil spills at Prudhoe Bay” AlaskaDispatch.com, May 17, 2010
No name “Leading Oil and Gas Companies Around the World” PetroStrategies.org , Feb 22, 2010
Weber, Harry “BP hopes to turn page with new CEO, leaner company” NewsObserver.com, July 27, 2010
Webb Tim, “BP boss admits job on the line over Gulf oil spill” Guardian.co.uk, May 14 2010