Bp report suggests rapid recovery bp report suggests rapid recovery


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BP report suggests rapid recovery.

  • BP report suggests rapid recovery.

  • National Wildlife Federation says 20 species still affected and will take more time to know full effects of the spill.

  • Residents and activists report that oil is still found on the shore and in the sea.



To provide a (still) relevant case study of the impacts of energy use.

  • To provide a (still) relevant case study of the impacts of energy use.

  • To illustrate the power of a geographical perspective.



TIME



BSc Geography (Lancaster University)

  • BSc Geography (Lancaster University)

  • Worked for BP from 2008-2010

  • MA Geography Education (2013) – focus of Curriculum Making assignment was a scheme of work on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill (see map on next slide).





Context – the Gulf of Mexico

  • Context – the Gulf of Mexico

  • Deepwater Horizon – a timeline of the disaster.

  • Consequences

  • Responses

  • Causes



Location

  • Location

  • Environment

  • Economy

  • Oil & Gas Industry







The Gulf Coast features a range of environments including:

  • The Gulf Coast features a range of environments including:

  • coastal bays and marshes,

  • coastal rivers and forests,

  • mangroves,

  • seagrass beds, and

  • oyster reefs.

  • These vital habitats provide shelter, food and breeding grounds for approximately 17,500 species.



The region’s economy is dominated by oil & gas (petrochemicals).

  • The region’s economy is dominated by oil & gas (petrochemicals).

    • Texas is home to more Fortune 500 companies than any other U.S. state.
  • A second key player in the local economy is fishing and shrimping; other industries include tourism and shipping.

  • The Gulf Coast accounts for $234bn of economic activity per annum (Texas A&M University, 2011).

    • The same report values tourism over $100bn (46%) with fishing and shipping combined amounting to just 1%.


The oil & gas industry in the GoM was valued at $124bn per annum, 53% of the total.

  • The oil & gas industry in the GoM was valued at $124bn per annum, 53% of the total.

    • Oil price
  • It is estimated that there is at least 140 million barrels of oil and 44 billion cubic metres of gas.







BP oil spill, Deepwater Horizon disaster…

  • BP oil spill, Deepwater Horizon disaster…

  • A name can assign blame

  • Or a name can infer cause and effect

  • Or a name can be factual: Gulf of Mexico oil spill.









Technically challenging: drilling in 5,000ft of water – high pressure, high temperature.

  • Technically challenging: drilling in 5,000ft of water – high pressure, high temperature.

  • Why are companies drilling and governments allowing such difficult wells?



Environmental (Gulf Coast)

  • Environmental (Gulf Coast)

  • Economic (Gulf Coast)

  • National & international



Over 6,800 dead animals collected.

  • Over 6,800 dead animals collected.

  • Reduced oxygen levels in water due to increase in microbes feeding off the oil.

  • Coral reefs damaged and destroyed.

  • Oil dispersants enter food chain.

  • Long-term damage to fish stocks.

  • Carcinogenic chemicals.



National consequences

  • National consequences

    • Supply: GoM accounts for 23.5% of U.S. oil production.
    • Some parts of GoM closed to drilling until 2017.
  • International consequences

  • US-UK relations

    • New Prime Minister in May 2010
  • Importance of BP for UK pension funds (see next slide)





46,000 people, 6,920 vessels and 121 aircraft were deployed – the largest peacetime maritime force ever assembled.

  • 46,000 people, 6,920 vessels and 121 aircraft were deployed – the largest peacetime maritime force ever assembled.

  • Dispersant – including ‘sub-sea’

    • Scientific studies have suggested ‘dispersed’ oil more toxic than fresh oil.
  • Skim and burn

  • Shore teams – cleaning up beaches and bathing animals.

  • 70 countries offered assistance; 8 offers accepted for specialist equipment.

  • BP spends a total of $14bn on response and cleanup which is largely finished by 2014.



BP sets up a claims fund of up to $20bn

  • BP sets up a claims fund of up to $20bn

  • To date claims have totalled $13.1bn.

  • In July 2013 BP tries to halt payments on some claims on the basis of fraud, however their court case is dismissed.

  • November 2012 – BP pay $4.5bn in criminal & civil fines to US Department of Justice.

  • Total fines and claims paid to date by BP have reached $42bn.

  • An ongoing court case regarding the Clean Air Act could cost BP a further $13.8bn.



Some perspectives on the causes of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill:

  • Some perspectives on the causes of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill:

  • British Petroleum?

  • Risk and reward

  • Changing role of the TNC

  • America’s thirst for gasoline



International company – no longer ‘British Petroleum’.

  • International company – no longer ‘British Petroleum’.

    • Still strong UK connections, with a British CEO (Tony Hayward; interestingly replaced by American Bob Dudley).
  • Culture of the company

  • Shifting blame away from US

    • US Congressional election year (November ’10)


Oil and gas companies are in a ‘risk business’ – not in a safety sense, but a probability sense. Every time they drill for oil they are hoping for, but not guaranteed, a ‘commercial well’.

  • Oil and gas companies are in a ‘risk business’ – not in a safety sense, but a probability sense. Every time they drill for oil they are hoping for, but not guaranteed, a ‘commercial well’.

    • Also a reward (financial and geopolitical) for the country, in this case the USA, if oil is found.
  • Sharing the cost (and risk) of exploration is essential – even beyond traditional oil & gas companies.

  • Multiple companies involved, with risk (and responsibility) complicated by contracting.

  • Technology and the price of oil

    • Energy scarcity (peak oil) – always being ‘pushed back’ as rising price makes technological development and higher risks more affordable.




Historically transnational corporations, or international oil companies (IOCs), such as BP and Shell would explore and produce oil and gas around the world. They would provide a share of their revenues to governments.

  • Historically transnational corporations, or international oil companies (IOCs), such as BP and Shell would explore and produce oil and gas around the world. They would provide a share of their revenues to governments.

  • National oil companies (NOCs) are increasingly taking control of their own country’s oil production, i.e. Libya, Iraq, Angola, Venezuela, Brazil, etc.

    • Technology – less reliance on IOCs, especially for the ‘simple’ stuff (onshore, near-shore).
    • Revenues available from oil and gas
  • The role of the TNC is changing to be the provider of technology and expertise. Also ‘sub-contract the risk’.

    • E.g. BP in Iraq.
  • TNCs have to focus on the high-risk (commercial/technical).



We (Americans) consume more than 20 per cent of the world's oil, but have less than two per cent of the world's oil reserves. And that's part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean because we're running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.

  • We (Americans) consume more than 20 per cent of the world's oil, but have less than two per cent of the world's oil reserves. And that's part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean because we're running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.

  • For decades, we have known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered. For decades, we have talked and talked about the need to end America's century-long addiction to fossil fuels. And for decades, we have failed to act with the sense of urgency that this challenge requires. The consequences of our inaction are now in plain sight.'

  • - President Barack Obama, 15 June 2010



Disaster and aftermath felt across a range of scales, spheres and time-frames.

  • Disaster and aftermath felt across a range of scales, spheres and time-frames.

    • Legal and financial implications continue remain open.
    • Environmental consequences are still being monitored and managed and are still not fully understood.
  • Geographical perspective allows the full extent of the disaster and its long shadow to be properly understood.



National Geographic Education – Oil Spills (incl. map) http://education.nationalgeographic.co.uk/education/oil-spills/?ar_a=1

  • National Geographic Education – Oil Spills (incl. map) http://education.nationalgeographic.co.uk/education/oil-spills/?ar_a=1

  • The Guardian – BP Oil Spill http://www.theguardian.com/environment/bp-oil-spill

  • BBC – BP Oil Disaster http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special_reports/oil_disaster

  • BP – Gulf of Mexico Restoration http://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/gulf-of-mexico-restoration.html



Please do contact me for copies of the teaching resources that I use for this case study, or for any other questions/comments.

  • Please do contact me for copies of the teaching resources that I use for this case study, or for any other questions/comments.

  • r.bate@bridgewaterhigh.com




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