Exxon Valdez Oil Disaster 15 Years Later

With all the great speakers and presentations at the USAEE /IAEE North American Conference in Anchorage this week, it’s hard to pick and choose among so many well-expressed ideas. Our USAEE updates represent just a few of our favorite quotes from the ongoing events.  

Oil and gas operations always come with risk. When accidents happen, sometimes the fault lies with shoddy or careless operations, but sometimes unforeseen circumstances disrupt even those operations that have undertaken extensive and thorough planning and preparation.

Roland George, Board Member of Canadian energy regulator the National Energy Board, and Fran Ulmer, Chair of the US Arctic Research Commission, both called for intensive efforts to prepare for these events.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst:

“Something will happen, it’s not if. You have to plan for it, you have to use, hopefully, best methods, and your emergency preparedness and response has to be top-notch,” George said.

We’ve come a long way, but there’s a long way to go:

“We weren’t as prepared, even in the Gulf of Mexico, that has had decades of rather sophisticated evolution of the oil and gas industry, with lots and lots of infrastructure close by – airports, ports, Coast Guard stations, all kinds of things that we’re actually positioned to be able to respond to a disaster – all of which is absent in the north,” said Ulmer.

“We’ve all learned a lot. The international community associated with oil and gas development [is] constantly evolving and getting better, using better technology, using enhanced methods to improve safety, but there is still a long way to go.”