By Ryan Barton
The Race for What's Left
In his description of offshore oil extraction, Klare notes that ultra deepwater oil exploration and drilling, at depths of more than 1 mile, far surpass in danger and difficulty the sea work that has been practiced for more than 50 years. Further, the expense and hazard level at such depths are comparable to space missions. A 1996 Shell oil platform called “Mars” cost three times the NASA Mars Pathfinder mission, according to the U.S. commission investigating the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Despite that tragedy, the major oil and gas corporations remain little fazed by impediments to profit. There are familiar names like Tony Hayward of BP/Deepwater Horizon infamy, but as the accounts of hubris begin to read like satire, it’s apparent that although the names of these captains of industry differ, the risk allowance remains essentially the same. Almost no warning is worth consideration; it’s as if the CEOs have divined that they are protected by superhero powers. Meanwhile, workers die, ecosystems are ravaged, fines mount, the future darkens. And “Onward!” is the cry.