RISK assessment: Yes, it's true that the probability that any particular operation - drilling, shipping, refining - will result in a disastrous outcome is very small.
BUT: RISK = probability x impact.
Even a very tiny probability can result in a HUGE RISK if the impact is sufficiently large.
[Yeah - it's unlikely that an asteroid hits the earth... BUT: if an asteroid WERE to hit the earth it would be a BAD THING!]
So... Do the Big Oil Wizards do anything to mitigate this risk?
Do they at least buy insurance?
From what we've seen with recent BP disaster the answer seems to be, "No".
The next time ANYONE cites the miracle of the self-regulating market: LAUGH OUT LOUD!
This is what government regulation is all about: protecting us - American citizens - from the ruthless predations of perfectly scrupulous private enterprise.
By law private corporations are answerable only to their share-holders: their job is to make $$$. That's it.
If making $$$ for their share-holders means putting ALL OF US at risk, so be it.
They're not evil: they're doing their job!
The ONLY way to protect us - American citizens - from the "unintended consequences" of their pecuniary pursuits is to enact and enforce strict regulations.
Does this make me a socialist? YES!!!
If the current BP disaster leads to better, saner energy policy - well, that'd be great.
BUT: it damn well better result in stricter regulation of industry!
The lesson we've been invited to learn from financial meltdown & current environmental disaster: Government regulation is a GOOD thing!
Stop the madness!!!
update: from HuffPost:
Gulf Oil Spill Testimony: Rex Tillerson, Exxon Mobil CEO, Admits Being Helpless At Handling Major Oil Spills (VIDEO)Note the adverb: "WHEN" these things happen... Yep - EVERYBODY knows these aren't "ifs", they're "whens"... but NO ONE even buys insurance!
... "When these things happen, we are not well equipped to deal with them," acknowledged Rex Tillerson, head of Exxon Mobil.
[... re: Laugh out Loud.
Loyal readers may want to search for "Greenspan" to see similar instances of this less-than-wise hubris: Yeah, it could happen, but we don't care!]