2010 Archives

BP wouldn't be drilling mile down if not for our needs


The following by Business Columnist Cheryl Hall appeared in the May 26, 2010, edition of The Dallas Morning News. Geoffrey Orsak, dean of SMU's Lyle School of Engineering, provided expertise for this story.

May 27, 2010

By Cheryl Hall
The Dallas Morning News

The Gulf of Mexico disaster has sent my emotions into overdrive.

I am outraged that BP has no contingency plan for dealing with a catastrophic event and that the U.S. government never demanded one.

I am frustrated with the oil giant's contention that this is its spill to handle as it chooses, and fed up with the feds' abdication of: "Fine, but we're really mad at you." . . .

So are we really doing all that we can to ensure that the safety and maintenance practices of the energy industry are keeping up with drilling advancements that allow for drilling oil a mile or more beneath the sea?

Geoffrey Orsak, dean of the Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University, doesn't think so.

He sits on the National Petroleum Council, which advises the U.S. secretary of energy on oil and natural gas issues. Members include the top guns of major corporations and independents, as well as academics and researchers.

"It really is an amazing feat to be able to drill a well in water at this depth. So why can't the same talent be brought to bear on stopping the leak?" Orsak asks. "My guess: Most of the industry's research investment has been on extracting value, not on the unlikely but catastrophic problems that come about from poor maintenance, human error and random acts."

Read the full column.

Also see: SMU Oil Spill Experts

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