Horizon Oil Disaster: Not a Black Swan

Special interests, naivete and desperation are touting the deepwater Horizon Disaster as a black swan rather than the more appropriate foreboding of a longer trend in disasters ahead. I am alarmed that the recent outrage against the Horizon Disaster and a moratorium on offshore drilling has been mollified by a preliminary injunction by a U.S. District Federal Judge and the accolades of Governor Bobby Jindal. Apparently the anguish of loosing the local fishing industry pales in comparison to a temporary curtailment of the offshore oil industry. This trend of complacency lauds the machinations of dapper Houston oil executives upwind to the environmental fallout of the disaster. More alarming in the wake of this injunction is an ignorance of either the afferent causes of the accident or efferent assessment of the expanding ecological damages by bureaucracies of the U.S. or any of the multinational corporations involved in offshore drilling. Furthermore research into deepwater drilling is poorly supported by the US DOE and relegated to the venal interests of multinational corporations that have proven themselves indignant, cowardly and obtuse to the responsibilities of the unfolding realities. Unfortunately dominant US government leadership in deepwater drilling is maintained by the discredited MMS or the now evolving Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement; obviously the Federal government is restructuring agencies in response to the recent Comfort West Virginia and the Horizon Disasters. In fact the only deepwater research are the feeble cosmetic attempts by BP to mitigate oil flow to coastlines while furtively expanding the ecological disaster to deeper waters with caustic dispersant chemicals. Preventive actions by BP and the US government should not be desperate research projects but reliable implementations of organized research carefully orchestrated in the anticipation of extraordinary events. The absence of a rapid or an even notably effective response after the Horizon disaster exposes the insidious lack of preparation that portends the next surrender to a wide range of latent disasters. Unfortunately the restructuring of a enforcement arm of the government does not placate realities that deepwater drilling is still a murky affair replete with exigencies beyond the control of awkward robotic navigation as well as the stultifying effects of high pressure fluid dynamics and chemistry.

I close this article to stress that the US government must improve the research and development of offshore oil production as well as repairing the reliability of the involved bureaucratic processes. US efforts should be complemented in kind or with royalty payments by other G20 nations, sovereigns and involved industries around the world. This intention should in no way lessen the culpability of BP, other business entities or officials that let reckless prosecution of events unfold. As evinced by recent US Congressional testimony, I am certain that multinational corporations other than BP also have the same proclivity toward a disaster in the waiting. Immediate and decisive action is necessary or wide variations of the Horizon Disaster will become recurring events with increasing frequency; “Hardly a Black Swan”.

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About Wolfgang Kraske

My interest, OVium, implements software and management techniques to measure limitations and scale components for extensive system integrations. These techniques may be applied to improve scalable system design, reliability and safety. Alternately I am the movant of several startup companies and technologies in social networking, medical imaging, bio-informatics, optical processing, supercomputing and quantum computing. Intellectually, my interests are focused in areas of physics and mathematics such as quantum spin algebra, computer languages and limitology.
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