What will it take to prevent disastrous oil spills?

Oil spill in the Nigerian Delta

Oil spill in the Nigerian Delta

Just read this sobering fact: According to Amnesty International, in the past year, Royal Dutch Shell reported 204 oil spills in the Niger Delta. During that same timeframe, the Italian multinational oil giant ENI reported 349 spills.

Shell has since agreed to pony up a $83.3 million settlement for its crimes against Nigeria’s land and water, but it skirts the much larger issue that all the major oil companies – and world governments – seem to sidestep. What will it take to finally be able to prevent these disastrous oil spills in the first place?

Imagine if this never happened again

Imagine if this never happened again

Imagine the impossible if you will. All the major governments – or at least their representatives – sit around a very large table and decide the unthinkable. They declare an end to what’s been up til now – allowing the oil companies to do business as usual whilst caving to lobbying groups and big oil money. Instead, they adamantly declare that NO oil company will continue to drill anywhere in the world UNTIL THEY COME UP WITH A VERIFIABLE SYSTEM THAT WILL ENSURE THAT NO OIL SPILLS OCCUR.

I know, this sound more like science fiction rather than what could really be in the realm of possibility. It would take some serious backbone and BIG cojones to do this. And our government leaders have demonstrated time and again that big oil and its deep pockets are vastly more friendly and important than the real health and welfare of its populace. This scenario never could happen.

But suppose somehow, by some miracle, some world leaders DID finally put their collective feet down and say, as Harry Truman did, “the buck stops here!”

Oiled magellanic penguins

Oiled magellanic penguins

There would DEFINITELY be strong reaction – from the media, from the oil companies and from the public. There would be threats and counter-threats. There would be a huge outcry from many sectors.

But when the dust settled, it’s not hard to think that the oil companies would acquiesce to the demand for real and lasting action. After all, they have billions of dollars that they take in from we consumers. And although their shareholders would likely scream, the companies could use the monies they have to task their R&D divisions to work together (if necessary) to figure this out and get it done.

Time is money and every hour that oil rigs stay inactive costs the oil giants BIG TIME.

So why not hit them where it hurts to get the job done?

I know, as I said, this is an impossible scenario. Could never happen. But imagine if it did. Now imagine a world without the threat of oil spills, of oiled marine life. Just imagine.


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