BP’s reputation has taken a thorough beating with the massive Gulf oil spill and now it looks as if there will be no easy way to stop the leaks, if one can call a custom-built containment system an easy fix.  The company is faced with weeks of oil leaking as it tries to drill a relief well to plug the erupting hole.  There is no guarantee the relief well will work the first time.  This blowout is teaching the oil industry and the world a lesson about ultra-deep-water drilling and its risks.  The industry will respond with safeguards because it doesn’t want to be in the position that BP is in now — facing hundreds of millions, if not billions, in clean-up costs and penalties and damage to its reputation that may take decades to overcome.  It would be unfortunate if other oil companies forsake deep drilling because of this.  America needs oil.  On the other hand, one could hardly blame them if they take that decision.

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