Oil spill report: Initial analysis

As we saw from Ed’s list of the main recommendations from the National Commission into the BP oil spill, they were pretty much what we were expecting from the overnight reports. But a few interesting pieces of information arose from the press conference.

Here, in no particular order, is what we learned:

  • Both of the co-chairs, William Reilly and Bob Graham, thought the moratorium on deepwater drilling was excessive, but this was not the view of the entire Commission
  • Drilling is going to get deeper soon. Reilly said: “We are aware of plans to go down to 10,000 feet. Macondo was at 5,000.”
  • The Commission expects the report to gain a good reception from the Interior Department, which will be in charge of implementing most of the recommendations. Reilly added: “We expect the industry to support a safety institute.”
  • The funding for the safety body would come from the money taken from leasing the seabed for drilling
  • The committee could not agree on whether to remove the liability cap altogether or simply lift it. It ended up leaving it as an open question. Graham suggested, however, that it could be adapted to vary according to the riskiness of the drilling being undertaken

Graham also repeated the words he used in an op-ed published this morning in the St Petersburg Times, which read:

If we “drill baby drill” in an attempt to go totally independent, and if our thirst for petroleum continues at its current level, the United States will drain its remaining proven domestic oil reserves by 2031.

If we stay at our current 48 percent domestic and 52 percent imported oil, that date will only be extended to 2068. Unless we develop and sustain a national energy policy which will fundamentally change our petroleum addiction, the only choice our generation will have is whether to leave to our children or to our grandchildren an America totally dependent on foreign oil producers for its national security, economy and way of life.

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