Lessons to Learn From BP's Latest Misstep

In environmental circles, BP is commonly regarded as the oil company that has demonstrated the most seemingly authentic interest in developing alternative and renewable energy sources. This is best evidenced by the oil giant’s pledge to spend upwards of $8 billion over the next 10 years to develop such technologies. However, despite the company’s relatively positive reputation, it was both amazing and slightly horrifying to hear the announcement that BP’s profits for the second quarter of 2006 had soared to $7.27 billion. These astronomical profits will surely take a hit due to the company’s recent decision to temporarily shutdown a majority of its Prudhoe Bay operations. The shutdown was deemed necessary after leaks and corrosion were detected in a major pipeline at the Alaskan facility, which provides 8% of the nation’s crude oil. The fact that a company with profits of $55,000 per minute allowed its infrastructure to decay is unsettling. However, this incident points to a much more significant and alarming problem, the US’s addiction to oil.According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the US will spend an additional $24 million per day on oil imports as a result of the increased prices that were prompted by the BP shutdown. The science-based nonprofit organization also determined that if all the cars and trucks on US roads gained one extra mile per gallon, the 400,000 barrels produced daily at Prudhoe Bay would be irrelevant. Furthermore, the US could save an estimated $50 million a day on gasoline. Just imagine the savings that could be generated by substantive new fuel economy standards. See also ::BP Plans to Invest $8 Billion In Renewable Energy, ::Alaska's North Slope: Biggest Oil Spill Yet, and ::Biobutonal: A Superior, Renewable Substitute for Gasoline