Saturday, May 1, 2010

Risk Management and Emergency Planning

Risk Management and Emergency Planning happen to be part of my job, so reading this headline made me a little suspicious right out of the box.

The plan for the Deepwater Horizon well, filed with the federal Minerals Management Service, said repeatedly that it was "unlikely that an accidental surface or subsurface oil spill would occur from the proposed activities."

Of course it is. That is how one plans. Always make the worst scenario the least likely. Risk is the mathematical product of two factors. One represents the likelihood (frequency) of the event occurring, the other represents the severity of the event. That is f x s =R. Keep the R as low as possible.

Robert Wiygul, an Ocean Springs, Miss.-based environmental lawyer and board member for the Gulf Restoration Network, said he doesn't see anything in the document suggesting BP addressed the kind of technology needed to control a spill at that depth of water.

I guarantee this guy is talking out of his ass. It is so unlikely as to be nearly impossible that a rig would get a permit to drill without addressing the worst-case scenario. Regardless of the likelihood of the event, one ALWAYS plans for the absolute worst case. Nuclear power plants do it, aircraft manufacturers do it, refineries and chemical plants do it. You get the picture. In addition, this guy, like the rest of us, has no clue what happened out there. And of the 11 who might, none survived. Wiygul is just setting the table for the billion-dollar lawsuit.

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