The S&P Global Oil Index (CNY) sunk 3% Thursday upon news of the discovery of 50,000 tons of water being spilled in the Gulf of Mexico oil basin. The cause of the water contamination is still under investigation, but investors are worried the disaster is a bellwether for difficulties ahead for the industry.
“We always expect some water contamination in our product, but this is unacceptable,” said Exxon public relations officer John Wooster.
The Gulf of Mexico is a 600,000 sq. mile oil field between the United States and Mexico that at one point was completely covered in water. However, petroleum firms operating in the gulf have spent decades eradicating the water, wildlife, and aquatic vegetation to create the purest source of oil on the planet. The discovery of a new source of water intrusion triggered new calls from oil rights activists to investigate and hold companies accountable.
“We expect these companies to do the right thing, and then they don’t,” said oil rights group Sweet Crude Defense Council representative Karen Shoemaker, “and now we all have to worry what this water could be doing to our cars, our plastic bags, and even our children’s toys!”
Major investors worry that the Gulf of Mexico water spill is only the tip of the iceberg and have started pressuring the oil industry to prevent water hazards from affecting their other global installations. On a positive note for the industry, efforts to eradicate frozen water from the Arctic Circle are far ahead of schedule.