The White House oil spill commission has released an expanded report on the causes of the BP drilling disaster. According to the report, BP had workers on the doomed Deepwater Horizon rig who could have prevented the missteps that led to the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill, but they were not consulted, The commission released new details on February 17th about the events that preceded the BP accident. The commission’s investigators said BP workers failed to ask a knowledgeable company engineer who was visiting the rig about unexpected results from a critical negative pressure test on the rig. “If anyone had consulted him or any other shore-based engineer, the blowout might never have happened,” the commission said in a statement.
The commission believes the misreading of that pressure test and the decision to move ahead with temporary abandonment of BP’s Macondo well was a major catalyst for the rig explosion that eventually spilled millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Had BP’s well site leaders brought their faulty explanation of the test results to one of the visiting engineers, “events likely would have turned out differently,” the commission report said. The engineers visiting the rig that day later questioned the crew’s interpretation of the test results. BP onshore officials said they would have insisted on further testing, had they been consulted. The commission’s chief counsel, Fred Bartlit, said in a statement:
The sad fact is that this was an entirely preventable disaster. Poor decisions by management were the real cause.
Created by President Barack Obama during the BP oil spill, the commission released its major findings and recommendations in January. The expanded report on the causes of the accident does not change any of the commission’s previous conclusions, but is meant to provide the public with the “fullest possible account” of the accident, the commission said.
Other new details released in the report include the finding that BP knew that there were issues with Halliburton and its work years before the accident. The commission previously criticized Halliburton’s cement job on the rig, saying the company may have completed the job before knowing its cement formula was stable. This latest report said BP’s engineers had problems with the Halliburton engineer assigned to the Macondo well for years, but they still did not review his work carefully. In addition, the flow of oil and gas that led to the explosion “almost certainly” came through an area of the well where Halliburton’s cement should have blocked the flow.
An interesting finding was that flaws in the blowout preventer were not the root cause of the explosion. Several have criticized the commission’s findings on this part of the report because the panel never examined the blowout preventer. But the report said the rig crew didn’t activate the blowout preventer until hydrocarbons had already flowed by it. I will withhold judgment on this issue until we have completed discovery in the cases filed. Also, Transocean Ltd, which owned and operated the Deepwater Horizon rig, was accused in the report of missing several signs that hydrocarbons were in the riser pipe of the rig prior to the blowout. I firmly believe Transocean will be at fault and partially responsible for the incident.
There is a great deal yet to be learned through discovery in the MDL concerning the activities of the companies in order to adequately assess blame. But we have seen enough already to know that BP and perhaps others were guilty of much more than simple negligence. It’s clear that the conduct of BP is well beyond gross negligence.
Source: Insurance Journal
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.