Last night’s explosion of an oil rig platform used for transferring oil in Lake Pontchartrain put at least 5 workers in the hospital in critical condition and one person is still missing as of this writing. It is still unknown if oil leaked into the lake.
The cause of the explosion is under investigation.
Was it due to the wonderful new technology that offshore oil drilling advocates promise will prevent accidents.
Or was it, as first reported, due to the cleaning of chemicals on the oil rig?
If it is the latter, then it is human error by experienced oil rig workers. But this is not unusual.
In fact, according to federal data 20% of all offshore drilling spills are due to human error.
No new technology for offshore oil drilling and transport will eliminate human error.
Remember this the next time pro-drilling advocates say that new technology will eliminate the risk of oil spills.
10-17-17 update: The search for the missing worker has been called off.
Frank Knapp Jr.
President & CEO
Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast