Isn't there a thread on this yet?
"Gulf Oil Leaking from well head"
The promises made by oilmen about offshore drilling safety, and probably what Pres. Obama heard as he approved offshore drilling in the USA, is that they have "so many backup safety mechanisms in place that virtually no big leaks are even possible". The oilmen use words such as "state of the art", and "best practises" like they are gaurantees of no big spills, but as we now see, it wasn't and isn't so good after all.
Regulations are tougher in a lot of places in the world, so offshore drilling in the USA is NOT "state of the art".
And oil engineers are basically cowboys with a big brain and a good education. The so-called "blow out preventer that can never fail" turned out to have a fatal flaw that showed up in this spill in the Gulf.
What happened is that the pipe coming from the well head to the surface came loose [when the rig exploded] and that causes the weight of that pipe to seriously harm the blow out preventer. 1000s of tons of pipe above it, writhing around as the rig burns and shifts around, is a totally FORSEEABLE problem for blow out preventer.
My point is that they really do not have adequate safety mechanisms that will prevent big oil spills and leaks. They should have, and could have, done better.
For one thing, they could have had the big cowl they plan to drop over the well head now to contain the oil flow so it can be collected in place before they ever drilled into the oil.