Interior Dept. Report on Gulf Oil Disaster Places Blame on BP (and some on Halliburton and Transocean)
Friday, September 16, 2011
While more than one party played a role in the disaster, oil giant BP deserved the largest share of blame for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, says a new federal report.
In assessing the April 20 blowout and explosion that produced the worst oil spill in U.S. history, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement and the U.S. Coast Guard concluded BP was ultimately responsible for the accident that killed 11 oil platform workers and dumped millions of barrels of oil into the ocean.
Days before the disaster, BP made several decisions that may have compromised the cement work done around the base of the oil well, which increased the risk of failure once the gas leak and explosion occurred.
Other companies also shared some of the blame, according to the report. Along with BP, Halliburton was faulted for failing “to perform the production casing cement job in accordance with industry‐accepted recommendations,” while Transocean, owner of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform, could have done a better job of ensuring safe operations and protecting the crew on board during the crisis.
Among the dozens of specific conclusions of the final report:
· “The Panel found no evidence that BP performed a formal risk assessment of critical operational decisions made in the days leading up to the blowout.”
· “BP’s cost or time saving decisions without considering contingencies and mitigation were contributing causes of the Macondo [well] blowout.”
· “BP’s failure to document, evaluate, approve, and communicate changes associated with Deepwater Horizon personnel and operations was a possible contributing cause of the Macondo blowout.”
· The failure of BP and Transocean to ensure they had a common, integrated approach to well control was a possible contributing cause of the Macondo blowout.”
· “BP’s failure to inform the parties operating on its behalf of all known risks associated with the Macondo well production casing cement job was a possible contributing cause of the kick detection failure.”
· “The ambiguity within the Transocean well control manual on when to use the diverter and not the mud gas separator was a contributing cause of the response failure.”
· “The failure of the personnel on the Deepwater Horizon bridge monitoring the gas alarms to notify the Deepwater Horizon crew in the engine control room about the alarms so that they could take actions to shut down the engines was a contributing cause of the response failure.”
· “Transocean’s failure to train the marine crew to handle serious blowout events was a possible contributing cause of the response failure.”
· “[Andrea} Fleytas’ failure to instruct the Deepwater Horizon engine room crew to initiate the emergency shutdown sequence after receiving 20 gas alarms indicating the highest level of gas concentration was a contributing cause in the Deepwater Horizon explosion.” [Twenty-three-year-old bridge officer Fleytas said it never occurred to her to use the emergency shutdown system—because no one bothered to teach her how to do so.]
· “The absence of emergency shutdown devices that could be automatically triggered in response to high gas levels on the rig was a possible contributing cause of the Deepwater Horizon explosion.”
· “The failure of the crew to stop work on the Deepwater Horizon after encountering multiple hazards and warnings was a contributing cause of the Macondo blowout.”
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
Final Government Report on BP Blowout Cites "Poor Risk Management (by Robert Cavnar, Huffington Post)
Report: BP Failures to Blame for Spill (by Dina Cappiello and Harry Weber, Associated Press)
Report Regarding the Causes of the April 20, 2010 Macondo Well Blowout (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement) (pages 191-1999) (pdf)
BP, Halliburton and Transocean Lawyer Up (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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