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article imageOp-Ed: More oil madness — BP to drill in the Shetlands

By Alexander Baron     Oct 13, 2011 in Environment
Less than eighteen months after the Deepwater Horizon tragedy and environmental disaster, the company behind it has been given the go ahead to drill in an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Some people never learn, especially when there is the prospect of money to be made. The Deepwater Horizon disaster resulted in the deaths of 11 oil rig workers, nearly killed the Gulf Stream, caused widespread environmental damage, and cost BP over $7 billion at its most conservative estimate. So, having screwed up the Gulf States, the company is moving its operation to the Shetlands where it already has a massive investment, having to date produced around 5 billion barrels of oil and gas from the region, and is looking to unlock another 3 billion.
According to one report today: “At their peak, it is expected that the projects will provide 3,000 UK oil and gas supply jobs and play a part in sustaining the more than 3,500 jobs already existing in BP's North Sea operations.”
Sounds great, doesn't it? Our Eton-educated Prime Minister certainly thinks so, nothing like jobs and growth, wot? Let us hope though that BP doesn't create more jobs and more growth than it is counting on, like the growth of another oil slick, and jobs for all those lawyers to settle compensation claims, to say nothing of the cost of cleaning it up and the costs to the environment, which can't be measured in mere money.
Anchor handling tugs battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon.
Anchor handling tugs battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon.
Photo courtesy US Coast Guard
Ah, but it won't happen again, they protest. That's what they told us after Three Mile Island, but before Chernobyl and the more recent Japanese earthquake. Are these people insane?
Greenpeace has already called on both the company and the Government to halt their plans for the latest drilling, but as usual, money talks louder than social responsibility.
Of course, there is one way BP could be persuaded to change its mind, it is called Quantitative Easing. The Bank of England has just created £75 billion with the stroke of a pen, and is looking for somewhere to invest it. How about it using it to cover the cost of BP's new investment with the caveat that instead of drilling for oil, the company builds a plant that will churn out hydrogen or electric cars? A similar sum could also be given to Microcabs to continue their work, and just for good measure, similar sums could be given to both Ecotricity and Lark Energy, and one or two others so that hydrogen cars, electric cars, solar energy and both wind and wave turbines can be developed, rolled out, and used to power Britain into the 21st and next Centuries?
Think about it Dave, because oil will pretty much have run out by 2030, but the Sun will be here for - a good few years after that - and wind will be with us as long as we have people like you running the country and talking nonsense.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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