Is Your Company Heading for a “BP Type” Disaster?

Updated: November 01, 2010

According to what we have read in the papers all of these oil wells are designed to have redundant systems to virtually reduce or eliminate the chance of a system a.k.a. oil well failure. There has been speculation as to whether or not all the redundancies were in place for the Deepwater Horizon oil platform. There was discussion about how much investment was put into building a system/ oil rig that in spite of the depth would not fail and create this disaster.

One of the questions I have to ask is whether or not Entropy and the Chaos Theory weighs heavily on those individuals who are funding, designing and building these oil wells. It would appear that most of the efforts were put into preventing a failure of the system when in fact every system will essentially end up failing at some point or another, particularly when we talk about building something with a myriad of always changing conditions i.e. weather, ocean current, concrete manufacturer. If all your efforts are positioned to make sure that a system does not fail what do you do when it does fail?

The assumption of "never failing" is really the problem with this whole incident. The New York Times reports that there has been little advancement in oil spill cleanup technology since the two decade old Exxon Valdez oil spill. BP and I am sure the rest of the industry has invested very little in containing an oil spill while investing large amounts in deep well technology etc. Unfortunately, the government has not taken a position that would force oil companies to explore and develop oil spill technology containment so most companies assume that the risk and expense associated with a spill is considerably less long-term resulting in little short-term monetary investment.

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