An internal investigation by Transocean, the owner of the rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico last year, puts lots of blame on oil giant BP for the disaster. According to the Transocean report, both the Deepwater Horizon explosion and resulting oil spill were the result of a succession of well design, construction, and temporary abandonment decisions that compromised the integrity of the well and compounded the risk of its failure. Transocean, a Swiss company, said many of the decisions were made by BP, the well’s owner, in the two weeks before the incident. According to Transocean, its evidence indicates that BP failed to properly assess, manage and communicate risk. As we have previously reported, BP’s own internal report on the disaster blamed a cascade of failures by multiple companies. Government investigations also have spread the blame around.
The Transocean report was said to be the culmination of work by an internal investigation team comprised of experts from various technical fields and other specialists. Transocean said the loss of evidence with the rig and the unavailability of certain witnesses limited its investigation and analysis in some areas. Among Transocean’s findings:
• BP did not properly communicate to the drill crew the lack of testing on the cement or the uncertainty surrounding critical tests and procedures used to confirm the integrity of the barriers intended to inhibit the flow of hydrocarbons from the well. A hydrocarbon is a compound consisting of hydrogen and carbon that is found in oil and gas.
• BP adopted a technically complex nitrogen foam cement program for sealing the well. The resulting cementing job was of minimal quantity, left little margin for error, and was not tested adequately before or after the cementing operation. Further, the integrity of the cement may have been compromised by contamination, instability, and an inadequate number of devices used to center the casing in the wellbore.
• Cement contractor Halliburton and BP did not adequately test the cement slurry used to seal the well.
• BP also failed to assess the risk of the temporary abandonment procedure used at Macondo. BP generated at least five different temporary abandonment plans for the Macondo well between April 12, 2010, and April 20, 2010. After this series of last-minute alterations, BP proceeded with a temporary abandonment plan that created risk and did not have the required government approval.
You can rest assured that all of the companies, which are now Defendants in lawsuits arising out of the oil spill, share responsibility for the spill and resulting harm. They are pointing fingers at each other and have actually sued each other. Lawyers in our firm who are working on this litigation are convinced there is plenty of blame to go around.
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