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BP Gulf Oil Spill: It’s Time to Stop the Blame-Game, and Start Fixing the Problem!


We have all probably seen hoards of heart-breaking images coming from the US Gulf Coast, as layers upon layers of oil destroy pristine water, wildlife and the livelihood of Gulf Coast residents.

As someone who has made his entire career in the oil & gas industry, I am torn between the disastrous effects of this oil leak and the vilification of an industry that plays a vital role in the lives of all that depend on it, constituting pretty much everyone in the world (from the producers to the consumers). From driving our cars, to heating and cooling our homes, to the manufacture of the goods and services we consume everyday, we are all dependent on the oil and gas industry one way or the other.

As someone who has chaired risk-management committees in the industry, I fully comprehend the potential for catastrophic accidents at nearly every plant and every rig in the world, every day. That is why it is called “risk-management”, not “risk-proofing”, because it is impossible to prevent every single pipe and every single mechanical equipment from ever failing.

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A bit of flavor of how the risk-management process works is in order. In a nutshell, risks for failure are ranked at different levels, usually by guesstimating probabilities versus consequences, in what is a completely inexact science. Then a cost-benefit analysis is undertaken to determine the cost of adding additional safeguards versus its benefit in reducing the of probability for a failure to occur. If the goal was to reduce every the probability of every single accident from occurring to a hypothetical impossibility, it would make it cost-prohibitive to do business in the heavy industries.

To drive the point home, let’s consider an example that affects nearly all of us: how much would you be willing to pay for car safety that would protect your family in all types of accidents? A fully armored vehicle with a million air-bags made out of material that would withstand an accident with an eighteen-wheeler, can probably be made at a cost of millions. But most of us are only willing to pay a reasonable amount that mitigates a lot of risk (but still leaving still a lot on the table), and we end up putting our families to the small risk of a fatal accident every day! The point is that there is such a thing as reasonable risk that most of us are willing to live with. The same way, heavy industries, especially the petrochemical complex have to bear a certain level of risk. That’s just the cost of doing business!

I don’t know what all transpired in terms of risk-management at BP. But, due to regulatory processes and a heightened focus in recent years on PSM (process safety management), I would be willing to bet that at some point before the accident, a BP team sat down and ranked the risks associated with operating the drill. I also suppose that they probably understood quite well that the consequence of a blow-out was probably very high, but based on historical evidence and existing safeguards (or additional recommended safeguards), they assumed an extremely minute probability. Again, I have no idea what sort of risk-management discussions actually took place at BP, but having been part of risk-mitigation and process safety in the industry, I know such matters are not taken lightly. My intention here was not to describe the entire risk-management process in this post but to provide a flavor of “acceptable risk” and the importance of risk-management in the industry.

Besides the risk-management, one has to appreciate the engineering complexities of plugging a hole 5000 feet under water, otherwise it would have been long plugged. The normal pressure exerted by the atmosphere around us  is 14.7 PSI or around 100 kPa. As you go deeper in water, water exerts additional pressure, and at only about 10 m (33 feet) underwater, the pressure is twice the pressure (2 atmospheres or 200 kPa) on the body as air at surface level. At 1 mile below sea-surface, or 5000 feet, we are talking about pressures nearly 150 times normal atmospheric pressure or above 2000 PSI!  A company doesn’t risk its entire viability if it could do something about it, and right now BP can’t, and it isn’t for lack of trying.

I am not saying that BP didn’t make any mistakes, or did all their risk assessments correctly, and followed all procedures. We really won’t know that until the investigations are complete. But one can be certain that just like it is impossible to risk-proof equipment, it is impossible to risk-proof human behavior. Accidents are part of life, and some are unluckier than others. So, while I do believe that what BP lacks is not the effort, but they lack the appropriate public relations prowess, something that most oil and gas companies still haven’t quite learned how to do. Accidents will happen, but you have to create an ability, in advance, of dealing with the public consequences of it. Dealing with the media, with the communities, and with the government.

What is more troubling is the politicization of the entire oil spill. Instead of focusing on fixing the problem, politicians see this as an opportunity to gain political advantage or avoid losing it. Obama wants to “kick some ass“, because instead of worrying about the hole in the sea, folks want to see a hole through BP, losing sight of the fact that ONLY a technologically advanced and resourceful company like BP that is fully wed to the issue  is actually best-positioned to fix the issue. Do we think Exxon will step in to help if BP is “killed”?

We Americans just love to have a villain, a villain we can blame. And it is perfectly fine and appropriate to make BP pay for every bit of the recovery, but why do we lose sight of the task at hand? We need to stop the blame-game, and allow BP to put its energies into fixing the hole, and not fixing its ass.


People of faith should focus on what we can do: pray for God’s help in sealing off the hole, and doing whatever we can do, in our individual capacities, to help with the recovery and cleanup effort. This is God’s earth, entrusted to mankind. It is okay for us to extract from its resources, but if we mess it up (and we will time to time), the least we can do is to help clean our mess. See this alert where MM joined hands with CAIR, calling for prayers and volunteer help.

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Abu Reem is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Abu Reem is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").



  1. Felicity

    June 18, 2010 at 4:45 AM

    :-) JazaakAllaahu khayran. Much needed.

  2. Musa Maguire

    June 18, 2010 at 8:58 AM

    On the other side of the risk management equation are the massive profits that the oil industry covets. Incidentally, this is also the reason behind corrupt regulatory bodies, society’s wider dependence on oil, and the lazy push for alternative sources of energy.

    Whatever variables go into the oil and gas industry’s risk management equations, the constant is unbridled, rapacious greed.

    • Amad

      June 18, 2010 at 4:55 PM

      “Massive profits”.
      So, does google and apple not make massive profits? In fact, I would argue that they make more money out of thin air, than industries with real workers and real capital.

      The problem is that people who don’t work in the corporate world, see the corporations as these greedy beasts out to get everyone else’s money. What these same people fail to realize is that corporations are the foundation for the Western world’s development into “advanced economies”.

      Talking specifically about oil and gas, the CEOs and the workers actually have pays that are quite average. A good engineer makes a third of what a wall-street money-creator would make. A lot of the income goes into capital costs to keep producing (the industry is very capital intensive). A corporation, as you know, is owned by millions of shareholders. These shareholders demand quarterly increases in profits, not just profits. And these shareholders are people like me and you.

      We need to get off this natural inclination to blame companies’ “greed”, as if the rest of the companies are working for smiles and hugs.

      • Osman

        June 19, 2010 at 8:57 PM

        Google and Apple don’t have real workers?

      • Hamza

        August 3, 2010 at 2:30 AM

        JazakAllahu khayr

        Good point. Like the saying “do not judge a book by its cover”, we can learn to not hasten in judging. But instead think intellectually in all aspects and perspectives understanding the way the system really works, rather than being brainwashed by media-hate.

  3. Ify Okoye

    June 18, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    Wondering about your views of the 20 billion dollar compensation fund, do you think that’s fair or as one Congressman said, “a shakedown?”

    • Amad

      June 18, 2010 at 5:01 PM

      What is hypocritical about these congressmen is that when the Bhopal Union Carbide (American company) disaster occurred (December 3, 1984) and the failures that led to this incident were so many and so “criminal”, we didn’t see them jumping up and down to set up a 20 billion rupees fund (let alone dollars)!

      You know that 500,000 people were exposed to toxins from the plant. Some estimates put the death toll at over 15,000. To date, the effects of this disaster continue.

      You know what the settlement amount was? $500 million! 1/2 a billion for an accident that didn’t kill animals, but killed thousands of human beings.

      So, I guess you can say that Indian life is cheaper than American seagulls.

      • sebkha

        June 18, 2010 at 6:08 PM

        Amad, have you forgotten that 11 men lost their lives in the explosion that caused this oil spill?

        “I feel like we have lost more than anybody else,” said Mary Burkeen. “Our son, we’ll never get him back. When they get all this cleaned up, they can have their shrimps and their turtles and everything back. But we’re never going to have our son back.”

        The Burkeens and sisters Felicia Hamilton and Janet Woodson described Dale as a caring and honorable son, brother and father. –

        Dale Burkeen sounds like he was a pretty nice human being, and his family, along with 10 other families, have been hurt by BP in the hardest way a human being can be hurt, the senseless loss of a loved one. No amount of money is ever going to fix that.

        What happened at Bhopal makes me sick. The “compensation” is so insulting that I would classify it more as salt in the wound than anything approaching the real meaning of the word compensation. But there’s more that happened in the Gulf Coast than some oil slicked beaches and dead seagulls.

      • Yaqeen needed

        June 21, 2010 at 12:30 AM

        I am glad Amad used the word hypocriticall Bu such a characteristic is not limited to the conigressmen. If we are impartially critical and analytical, while scoping around us as well as inwards, we may find more situations tin which the word can be used

        It also shows that American lives are worth more than other lives in this case Indians. Much to learn or be re-learnt from that, hmmm. Much for equality et al garbage we have all imbibed

  4. Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

    June 18, 2010 at 11:27 AM


    I think criticizing politicians is just about always good. No doubt much of the political rhetoric is hypocritical and opportunistic but that’s what politicians do.

    Other than that though, I actually find this post disturbing. You put forth your expertise in the industry, but then keep saying I don’t know what happened in this case. The overall sense that you are somehow defending BP is unmissable though. If you’ve been paying attention to the media, you know that the corruption in the inspection and regulation process was widespread and well known.

    I have no idea what you are expecting any politician to do in terms of stopping the leak, obviously they have no way of doing that. BP is responsible for possibly the worst human made environmental disaster in history, and they must be held accountable. The idea that BP’s problem is public relations is laughable to me. Their problem is their actions. I can’t even imagine the amount BP has spent and spends on PR.

    Of course we should make du’a. Of course we should try to contribute whatever assistance we can. None of this should in the least take away from recognizing the human corruption that caused this.

    You are of course entitled to your own opinions and I welcome you sharing any insights based on your expertise. But Islam has nothing to do with apologizing for or defending massive corporations and telling people they shouldn’t focus on blame (meaning who was responsible for this) but just praying and volunteering. And should the corruption just continue? For all the talk of kicking A, BP’s executives are still living fine and even if the company went bankrupt they’d still be fine, living better than the vast majority of humanity could ever dream.

    Sometimes the powerful are villains and it is important that they be called villains. When powerless people in society make mistakes, they are forced to pay in ways that ruin their lives and those of their families and their communities. When powerful people make mistakes that harm countless more people all of a sudden “blame” is a bad word.

    We see it with Obama’s excuse for not pursuing the crimes committed during the Bush admin, and we see it here.

    I don’t mean to be too strident and I don’t mean to offend, but while I understand some of the specific points you are making, the tone of this post really bothered me, and I need to reflect my level of disagreement — I certainly don’t mean anything personal.

    • Amad

      June 18, 2010 at 5:20 PM

      Don’t be disturbed Br. Abu Noor. That’s exactly why public relations is needed, and is not a laughing matter. The PR folks would not be happy with your characterization. There is another side to the story and it isn’t being told, that’s why you feel so disturbed. It’s similar to the shock that Americans have to see a negative story on Israel in the press. Very disturbing. This is an analogy of course to highlight what PR can do, I am not comparing Palestine to BP.

      You should be actually more disturbed by the same politicians’ utter disregard for priorities in other areas, such as America’s failings in foreign policy around the globe.

      As for the linked article that “proves BP’s villain status”, I am sorry but one report by a whistle-blower is not sufficient to prove anything. The investigations are ongoing and I will wait to see the results before passing judgment. There are thousands of disgruntled employees all around America, and given the opportunity, they’ll give you what you want to hear.

      I am not saying that BP had a perfect record. In fact, before 2005-6, they were horrible. But I know that they have been on a hiring spree for engineers and risk-management professionals (one of my friends got picked up) even when most companies are laying off people. I know that in Texas City, for instance, they instituted tons of changes and billions of dollars to fix up the plant before restarting. I know that, because I worked across the street from the plant. And yes, I was there on the day that the plant blew up.

      As for BP’s executives living the fine life, what do you wish they should be doing? I mean, even the executives from all the failed Wall Street investment bankers still had enough money to live a fine life. They are well-paid professionals, and they worked hard to get there. Why do we envy that? I mean there are ball-players whose only skill is to shoot hoops and they make a better living than most of the humanity too. Should we blame them as well?

      My real goal in this post was not to defend BP, but rather to highlight the fact that there is another side to the story, and that we are not benefiting anyone by just focusing all our energies on the blame-game. Because it REALLY does take BP’s attention off the problem at hand. Do you think the CEO’s time answering queries at congressional committees couldn’t be better spend managing the disaster? We ALL have been hearing about how bad BP is, so I would add nothing to the conversation by piling on.

      You say criticizing politicians is always good, I disagree. That is not a healthy way of dealing with this system. But in this case, the hypocrisy and the “show” of compassion is so fake that it is sickening. It’s just an opportunity for the government to milk a foreign entity (even if a lot of the shareholders are American).

      Again, pls don’t be disturbed by alternative points of view. We need BP. We need it to fix the leak. We need it to keep employing the millions it is. We need it to keep producing. If it isn’t BP, it will be a competitor that will just get stronger and reduce competition further. Not all failures are good. The leak was one, and if BP goes down, that will be another one.

      • Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

        June 18, 2010 at 5:43 PM

        Amad, to characterize it as the word of a single whistleblower, who you then disparage without any reason to doubt or be suspicious of him (is he not a human with honor you should respect?) independent investigations have confirmed that he was telling the truth and the govt has acknowledged that MMS was a mess.

        I guess you don’t want let the facts get in the way of your defense of the corporations.

        Where do you get envy, akhee? WaAllahe I don’t envy them and I have chosen not to go that direction with my life. I am just saying that they should be held accountable when they do wrong.

        Thanks for your perspective on the importance of PR,and of politicians but I stand by my positions.

        • Amad

          June 18, 2010 at 6:00 PM

          Funnily enough, after reading it again, the guy isn’t even blowing the whistle on BP, but on the MMS, which is the regulatory agency.

          The Minerals Management Service, the beleaguered regulator caught in the crosshairs over its faulty scrutiny of BP’s runaway oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, has been lax in its inspections of deep-sea drilling, an independent watchdog said Thursday.

          MMS shirks on its responsibilities, which provides BP even more defense, since their procedures weren’t getting a good review by the regulatory agencies supposed to watch them. So, which “facts” am I denying in my defense of corporations?

          What is also funny is that if you read my article carefully, I said, “I am not saying that BP didn’t make any mistakes, or did all their risk assessments correctly, and followed all procedures” AND “And it is perfectly fine and appropriate to make BP pay for every bit of the recovery,

          So once again, how is that consistent with your statement, “I guess you don’t want let the facts get in the way of your defense of the corporations.”

          Emotionally-charged judgments don’t help your cause bro. My interest in BP is only limited to the extent I believe is unfair vilification, which is too early anyway, and the fact that useful resources are being spent in the wrong area right now with attention on blame-game.

          • Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

            June 18, 2010 at 6:10 PM

            They are both at fault, bro. Taking advantage of corrupt government regulators in pursuit of profit is wrong and I marvel at the mind that would see government corruption as an excuse for the wrongdoing of the corporation that lived off of and fostered that corruption.

            BP was doing wrong and it ended up unleashing an unprecedented disaster upon the earth that you say we should care about so much.

            That’s the problem with your piece Amad (in my own obviously over emotional and insensitive to the wonderful gift that is the big oil corporation of whose fat cat executives I am obviously envious) you state that BP should be held responsible but it should not be vilified. I don’t know what this is supposed to mean…but as I said in my original comment, what I objected to was your tone which was one of defense of BP.

            Speaking of PR, you do realize that it is a PR disaster of epic proportions to tie yourself to defending BP at a time like this. Even the Repubs know this is a disaster.

          • Siraaj

            June 18, 2010 at 8:02 PM

            Dear Congressman Barton,

            Please return Amad at your leisure, kthanks!


            PS: Abu Noor, my sentiments exactly on all points.

          • Amad

            June 19, 2010 at 3:13 AM

            ^Siraaj, no idea who Barton is.

            ^Abu Noor, I wasn’t hired by BP to write this, otherwise I’d do a much better job spinning it.

            I speak what I believe in, even it’s not the most popular opinion.

            “BP was doing wrong”… it seems that you have already done the investigation for them? :) We have to let the facts come out. If they made mistakes, they’ll pay for it.

            I wasn’t excusing their behavior based on regulatory corruption. What I was saying that the whistle-blower story was irrelevant as it deals with the agency itself. You should put the focus on them for their behavior.

            Also you should know how regulatory agencies work. I dealt with them in my time. Government jobs aren’t the most well-paid, and most good folks move into the corporate world. So, it isn’t so much for corruption that they fail, but also for lack of expertise. That’s why the companies have to police themselves, and for the most part, they do, otherwise you’d hear about an explosion every day.

            The problem is that you haven’t worked in the heavy industries, and you don’t particularly recognize how fraught it is with risks. I am not saying this in an antagonist way, but just as a fact. Just like I am not a lawyer and cannot fully appreciate the challenges of your workplace, I think most people don’t fully recognize the challenges and risks inherent in the industry.

            You will NEVER be able to rule out human mistakes or capital equipment failures. Never. What this implies is that you can have the most superlative safety culture, but it only takes one mid-manager to make a risky judgment that skirts the entire safety culture. I have seen this happen. And I know it will happen again and again.

          • Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

            June 19, 2010 at 8:29 AM


            I was saying that as someone who is trying to represent Islam, it is a PR disaster to associate yourself with BP. But it was my original point that PR is not as important as Muslims think so I am glad to hear that you will say what you believe, regardless of the consequences. I would prefer you used that courage to defend the innocent or the powerless and not the guilty and the powerful, but that’s your choice.

            Your comments about people not in the industry not understanding don’t make much sense. No one is doubting that there are risks inherent in what is going on, we’ve all seen what happened! But what is really strange is that you keep talking about how you’re the expert here, but you also show that you have not followed the story at all in the media, not even the slightest bit and yet you writing about it, which is very strange. (You don’t even know who Barton is?)

            We already know that they made mistakes, akhi. You’re just not paying attention to the story and then you keep claiming that we don’t know what happened. I find this very strange. They already are paying by the way, so that comment doesn’t make sense either.

            Anyways, I’ve said what I had to say…I don’t think there’s much benefit in prolonging this just wanted to make clear that your opinion did not represent that of most of us associated with MM.

          • Amad

            June 19, 2010 at 9:55 AM

            just wanted to make clear that your opinion did not represent that of most of us associated with MM.

            I have no idea who agrees with the opinion… so far it is 2 against, 1 for :)

            The disclaimer is clear. The opinion represented here is solely mine.

          • Amad

            June 19, 2010 at 2:52 PM

            just wanted to make clear that your opinion did not represent that of most of us associated with MM.

            I have no idea who agrees with the opinion… so far it is 2 against, 1 for :)

            The disclaimer is clear. The opinion represented here is solely mine.

            Let’s see:

            I guess you don’t want let the facts get in the way of your defense of the corporations.

            but what is really strange is that you keep talking about how you’re the expert here, but you also show that you have not followed the story at all in the media,

            If you care to make any other assumptions and disparaging remarks, feel free to continue, but this will be my last response.

            I know enough of the story to say what I did. Barton’s remarks were recent and with a 2-month old story, one can be forgiven for missing a few days. I have a life besides blogging as you can appreciate, and what I DO know a priori is how investigations work, and how the industry runs, neither of which you have experience in. As a matter of fact, not saying it in in an insidious way.

            You mention Islam but I hope we agree that Islam is about fairness and balance. My article was indeed balanced. I do believe it was. But many will have a hard time seeing that because of how one-sided the story has been relayed (it’s almost a no-win situation for anyone trying to be logical about it). Specifically, your anti-corporate heels are dug-in. I doubt this is about just BP, Abu Noor. It is beyond it. This is just an icing on the cake for you. And I don’t say it in a negative way at all.

            I am not going to belittle your view because I can respect some of the anti-corporate world-view. It’s your view and your entitled to it. I have mine, and I am fully responsible for it.

            Perspectives are shaped by our experiences and obviously ours are quite different.

          • Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

            June 19, 2010 at 10:48 PM


            No doubt people have different perspectives and this is a good thing, akhee. Again, nothing was meant to be personal. I still love you for the sake of Allah even when you’re wrong. (Isn’t it 3 against — Musa, Siraaj, and Me?)


          • Amad

            June 20, 2010 at 12:56 AM

            yeah, the odds are stacking up quickly :)

  5. Sayf

    June 18, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    What bothers me the most about all of this is how many amazing opportunities we had and still have to move to renewable energy.

    Who killed the electric car?

    Eight straight Presidents talk about “renewable energy” and fail.
    (If you’re in Canada like me, go to and find the episode of the Daily show for Wed June 16th)

    Everyone knows these people are committing crimes against our precious Earth for the sake of profits, let’s not kid ourselves. Now after passing the environmental point of no return these people would still rather fake moving forward and throw the word “green” on everything to make more profits.

    “BP Amoco changed its name to BP in 2000, and introduced a new corporate slogan: “Beyond Petroleum.” It replaced its “Green Shield” logo with the helios symbol, a green and yellow sunflower pattern similar to the emblem of the Green Party of Canada. These changes were intended to highlight the company’s interest in alternative and environmentally friendly fuels.”

    I fear we’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg, this whole oil disaster is small potatoes compared to what may be to come. I hope everyone realizes that our strategy with regards to climate change is not about combating it anymore – that’s become impossible, we’re just trying to control the upcoming damage.

    May Allah protect us, ameen.

    • Amad

      June 18, 2010 at 4:50 PM

      I think you are being naive if you think alternative energy is the solution in the next 20 years. I am in the business of corporate planning and strategy for energy, and I can tell you that even the most optimistic scenarios see alternative energy taking about a 5-10% share of overall energy use by 2030.

      There are two drivers for an energy source to become a viable substitute to fossil fuels: cost and abundance. Both are not there by a stretch. Right now, cheap alternatives to cheap oil are still in infancy stage. Some countries just beginning to fully blossom (India, China) would not be willing to risk development by trying to switch off cheap oil. And I say cheap, because if you talk to anyone in the energy business, oil is very cheap. And the low price itself makes substitution investment hard. That’s why some people were happy to see >$100 oil price as it actually makes substitutes more viable.

      As to your comment, “these people are committing crimes”? Who is? The biggest oil and gas producers are in the Middle East. What crime is it to exploit your country’s natural resources? If you drove your car today or cooled your home today, how do you think that happened without nations producing energy?

      One needs to be balanced in approach. Tree-hugging and total exploitation are both wrong. We need to appreciate the blessing of fossil fuels, without which development would have not been possible in the entire world. Millions of livelihoods depend on this industry, and almost everyone in this world depends on its fruits.

      But at the same time, we should realize that the use of fossil fuels has to be checked and controlled, and cleaner sources developed.

      Like all things Islam, balance is necessary.

      • Sayf

        June 18, 2010 at 5:36 PM

        As to your comment, “these people are committing crimes”? Who is? The biggest oil and gas producers are in the Middle East. What crime is it to exploit your country’s natural resources?

        There’s nothing wrong with making use of oil and gas, as you said, a balance is necessary.

        There is something seriously wrong with sabotaging or neglecting research and development of alternative energy that is better for humanity in the name of self-interested business.

        To put it bluntly, somebody is criminally responsible for the fact that I’m not driving an advanced EV1 right now. Check out the doc I linked, that car and its technology had insane potential. Even if GM was starting off slowly, the government could have done so much to keep it flowing – well why didn’t they? Billions and billions of dollars are being thrown around in bailouts that aren’t even being regulated properly, you’re telling me they weren’t more than capable of helping the EV1 become the standard?

        I had a professor who passed away recently who was working on an organic solar cell that could be painted on. Our science has had within its reach viable energy solutions for a very long time. If money was being moved to the right places and the ultimate goal was not more and more profit, our technology would reach unprecedented heights right now – that’s what I have a problem with.

        • Amad

          June 18, 2010 at 5:48 PM

          To put it bluntly, somebody is criminally responsible for the fact that I’m not driving an advanced EV1 right now.

          To put it bluntly, you are being naive once again :)

          In fact, you would NOT buy the EV1. Most of us wouldn’t. Not for the price and the performance. Those are facts. Capitalism works. That’s the whole point, isn’t it? That money talks. If the car had potential, it would be out there.

          “Who killed the electric car” ignores the facts about how the electric car was killed.

          Read this.

          GM spent more than $1 billion developing the EV1 including significant sums on marketing and incentives to develop a mass market for it.
          Only 800 vehicles were leased during a four-year period.
          No other major automotive manufacturer is producing a pure electric vehicle for use on public roads and highways.
          A waiting list of 5,000 only generated 50 people willing to follow through to a lease.

          Were you on the list of 50 people?? Probably not. Probably just some Hollywood types with extra money to waste.

          If you saw Gore’s movie, you’d think the world was coming to an end. He may be right in many areas, but I don’t doubt that a lot of sensationalism was needed in the movie to make it move. That’s fine, that’s how things work.


          • Sayf

            June 18, 2010 at 6:06 PM

            lol you seem to have missed my point akhi.

            To put it bluntly, somebody is criminally responsible for the fact that I’m not driving an advanced EV1 right now.

            In fact, you would NOT buy the EV1. Most of us wouldn’t.

            I put the word advanced in there for a reason. Along with the comment about government help.

            Were you on the list of 50 people?? Probably not. Probably just some Hollywood types with extra money to waste.

            I’m not as old as you think =P, I was born in 1990. Check out the doc!

            This is my point, and that’s why I chose it to be the last sentence:

            If money was being moved to the right places and the ultimate goal was not more and more profit, our technology would reach unprecedented heights right now – that’s what I have a problem with.

            Agree/Disagree and why?

            Side note: I found a pic you might find interesting or use in this post, which MM email should I send it to? It’s an ad that was on youtube with a pic of Obama that said “BP Oil Spill – Blame Obama?”

          • Amad

            June 19, 2010 at 3:04 AM

            If money was being moved to the right places and the ultimate goal was not more and more profit, our technology would reach unprecedented heights right now – that’s what I have a problem with.

            You can say this about anything in life. Money moves to the “right place” when it is profitable to do so. There are some non-profit ventures out there who are putting some money in green energy, but to get a truly significant shift, you need the profit motive to drive it.

          • Sayf

            June 19, 2010 at 2:19 PM

            I tried to choose my words carefully, so you should read them carefully as well. There’s profit and then there’s excessive profit. Right now we’re in the latter at the cost of moving technology forward. It’s simple business, if I’m a self-interested company (or government for that matter) the last thing I want is technological advancement moving in against me.

            Again, check out the doc. The GM exec who responded with his “no facts” claim admitted to not even watching the movie – and it shows in his response, because they investigated a number of different groups responsible for the downfall (including the consumers claim).

  6. abu Rumay-s.a.

    June 18, 2010 at 2:50 PM

    i believe there is a lot more to this story than meets the eye (on both sides i.e. corps & govt) and only time will tell how the events unravel. consider the following:

    – BP was only the operator of the rig, there is the contractor, Transocean(worlds largest offshore drilling comp), and then Halliburton (subcontractor)
    – Halliburton performed a cementing process on the rig before the tragic explosion
    – There is something called Insurance which will help cover most of the claims
    – MMS (govt agency) was fully aware of the condition of the rig and allowed it to operate in spite of some major concerns (blowout preventers operating at 5000 feet was not regulated, so the pressure argument is fuzzy)
    – 1990 law caps liability damages to $75 million.
    – Politicians (upto 54 senators) have asked BP to set aside a $20 billion escrow account to pay for claims
    – BP claims more than 20,000 claims have been paid, remaining another 20,000 or so
    – BP tried about 8 different methods to stop the leak

    I’ve taken a graduate course on Environmental Risk Analysis and for such large projects, decision tree diagrams are used by calculating probabilities (using calculus integration models) to assess catastrophic risk, I don’t BP would be in business if they had’net done their homework in risk assessment…

    based on this info, my hunch is that there is enough blame to go around for all those involved, the facts seem to support that…

    Allah ta`ala knows best, may Allah ta`ala resolve this catastrophy for the sake of protecting humanity and His creation..ameen..

    • Amad

      June 18, 2010 at 4:40 PM

      Thanks for the additional information.
      You are right, decision tree is indeed used in risk-management. There are also alternatives like HAZOP, PHAs and other more rigorous methodologies for assessing risks and safeguards.

      What people forget is that when you have a big mother-ship like BP, with literally thousands of tentacles, it is very easy for some management somewhere to make a bad decision. And you absolutely cannot micromanage everything otherwise your company will be paralyzed.

      The investigations didn’t even start before people wanted BP’s throat slit.

  7. sabirah

    June 19, 2010 at 6:52 PM

    i kind of agree in most points, I think that if it wasn’t BP it would have been some other oil giant.
    I thank everyone who can volunteer and makes dua for this. I came across an article in the European news a few days ago where they quoted russian efforts to stop a similar oil leak (of course nobody got to know about, or forgot) which they managed to stop with a nuke (yes you read right)
    A bit off topic (maybe not)
    I think when it comes to environment everyone is responsible. I just have a small Mitsubishi just for myself and the train station in front of the door, but living on instant meals, I have a HUGE amount of (not just recycling) waste, and it hurts me every week to see that mountain.
    Secretly I dream of doing my little bit to keep the planet as it is, having a simple life maybe on a farm, being self sufficient and having one of those adorable BMW’s as transport. .

  8. Siraaj

    June 19, 2010 at 8:59 PM

    Amad, I don’t think the problem most have with BP is that it’s a corporation wishing to make profits – that’s the point of any business. The question is simply, at what cost, and to whom?

    The expectation was that should such a catastrophe occur, BP would have the appropriate resources in place to help mitigate the risk – the exact opposite has occurred in that 60 days later, the oil gushing continues undeterred at full throttle.

    What this speaks to is BP’s competence, or lack thereof (and for BP, it seems more the latter than the former). The safety standards and procedures in place to handle such catastrophes are lacking, and part of the problem is the decades old technology polluting BP’s infrastructure. When one wonders why there has been so much negligence, it’s a simple game of following the dollar and realizing the profits of the shareholders and board of directors isn’t simply through ingenius marketing coupled with a powerful product, but at the risk and now expense of the livelihoods of the people in the area as well as the wildlife.

    THAT’S the problem – making money with the appropriate environmental safety measures in place is fine and dandy, but skirting regulation due to cost while ignoring the consequence is precisely why you’ll find an anti-corporate mentality among many of us.

    That’s not to say there don’t exist many employees in such companies that perform an honest day’s work and aren’t corrupt in any way; however, these are not decision makers, these are just regular joes like everyone else paid to do a job. When large swathes of money are moving, the lion’s share of company direction decision making will not come from front line engineers, it will come from suits looking to protect their own skins in front of shareholders, and it is here where the test of ethical and moral fiber takes place, and it is here where BP and its executives (not necessarily the whole company) has let the planet down.


  9. abu Rumay-s.a.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:53 AM

    They may have read this article, they are taking your advice!!! :)

    BP lines up Washington’s top lobbyists to weather crisis

  10. Ahmad AlFarsi

    June 22, 2010 at 4:20 PM

    Judge blocks offshore drilling ban

    WOOHOO! :) Drill, baby, drill! jk jk Abu Noor don’t hurt me :)

    • Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

      June 22, 2010 at 5:20 PM

      You better watch yourself Ahmad, I will be in Houston in a month (inshAllah)


  11. madam

    June 22, 2010 at 9:23 PM

    allah says what have you done to make it better? Have you helped our brothers and sisters in Louisiana. The marsh is going to get dirty. Animals will die. It will be impossible to fish. I don’t know how the families will feed themselves there. This will be something like the situation in famine prone parts of Africa. We need a way to figure out how to not only fix the situation. (Which I think is quite impossible now). The coasts will be black. This is quite the norm, even in Brunei and Nigeria, this is how it is. Oil slick everywhere.

    Anyway. the concern here is not so much that oil is bursting through the pipes and no one can visit the beaches. The real tragedy is, what in the world will those dependent on the water life in Louisiana going to do.

    The animals are going to die. That’s for sure. But could we get a Noah’s Ark kinda project and relocate some species of the animals that are likely to be affected and can be saved. The fishes are going to be in trouble. Is there a way that alternatives from other parts of the states, can be shared with the citizens of Louisiana so that they can cope with the ordeal. It is unlikely that they will get their life back in order.

    But then hopefully it will serve as a lesson to learn. I think that although Allah gave us resources. It’s time to move towards cleaner alternatives, less likely to cause the damage that we are seeing now. We can allocate big oil energy for other lucrative purposes but not for mass consumption. Just like how we do not have nuclear reactors for every district. We may have to restructure the supply management of oil.

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