During a recent discussion with a Gulf of Mexico oil and gas industry professional about BP, the Gulf Oil Spill, the Texas City refinery explosion and the company's safety record overall, a great deal of sadness was expressed and lives lost remembered. As we talked about BP's newly formed safety division (in the current issue of ENR) a hope that the industry will learn from BP's mistakes was underscored.

Also brought up was an acknowledgment regarding the sheer size of the company, the volume of products it produces and the number of people the firm gainfully employs. Despite the company's mistakes, one source believes "the worst thing the government could do is kick BP out of the Gulf."

"We outran our safety technology and sadly, something had to happen," says the source, who prefers to remain anonymous. (We'll call him GOM, for "Gulf of Mexico).

"The greatest advances in safety technology have traditionally come after such tragedies," GOM says. He believes that as sad, tragic and shameful as BPs safey record is, "the cost to BP will ultimately improve saftey. It's a shame; it's called business."

As many firms across the oil & gas industry currently expand and grow along the Texas coast, this reporter wonders:

Does it really take a tragedy to protect our workforce?

Do you agree with GOM's statement, below?

"When something goes wrong with a firecracker, seldom does one get hurt. When something goes wrong with a keg of TNT, somebody is going to get hurt."