BP Oil Spill – Last fragment before Jan 2011?

The final words of a BBC TV documentary, Horizon transmitted on 16 November 2010, were  “When BP’s well blew out, there was no plan to fix it“.

The bulk of the programme was excellent giving a clear description of the problems and final success of the spill recovery. I say that stemming the flow from the leaking well was a ‘success’. The problem that is still being worked out is to ameliorate the damage to people and wildlife caused by the previous eighty seven days of the oill flooding into the sea .

To return to the programme, it was excellent in that it concentrated on relaying the words of those, from BP, the US government and other commercial outfits who had been instrumental in the battle. The programme was written and directed by Tristan Quinn and the editor was Aidan Laverty.

They were wrong on at least two levels. The first was that the the footage in the programme showed the large number of vessels and engineering staff that rapidly poured into the area and attacked the immediate task. They were not conjured from nowhere.

There is however another level that is much more fundamental. Preparing to recover from any one of very large number of potential future accidents is very difficult. What one has to do is to take steps to avoid having the accident in the first place. This is the true preparation.

These were there with all the procedures and checks and safety hardware. The significant fact is that they all failed but in ways that could and should have been avoided one way or another. The fact is that as the model in my previous post suggests, the failure of these existing procedures and hardware were together an extremely unlikely event that led to catastrophe. Carry out the necessary actions to reduce these to an even more unlikely event is the only and proper way to go.

The portentious voiceover  “…..there was no plan to fix it” could only appear profound to a TV writer or producer. The statement is not: it is instead the deepest nonsense as is shown by both pictures and facts.

This having been said, The Lad really does not want this blog to get regularly involved in who said what in which medium. That is the preserve of the politicians and those who wander in the halls of hype and mirrors exposing endless conspiracies. So The Lad intends that, as far as he can, this blog will stay grounded in the real world.

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