Tuesday, 25 January 2011

BP Engineer Referred to Rig as "Nightmare Well" Before Accident

Even before the now-infamous BP oil rig explosion that killed 11 people, a company engineer referred to the rig as a "nightmare well." Released internal documents from the company indicated that statement as well as other concerns that were put in writing regarding the well. Brian Morel, the engineer in question, made those comments on April 14, just six days before the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded. A letter to BP CEO Tony Haward from Representatives Henry Waxman, D-California and Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, made reference to five decisions made by BP executives that led to the explosions.

Noted the pair, "The common feature of these five decisions is that they posed a trade-off between cost and well safety. Time after time, it appears that BP made decisions that increased the risk of a blowout to save the company time or expense. If this is what happened, BP’s carelessness and complacency have inflicted a heavy toll on the Gulf, its inhabitants, and the workers on the rig."

Hayward will appear before Stupak’s subcommittee tomorrow to discuss these allegations as well as the rig explosion and cleanup effort in general. According to the letter, BP chose a riskier option when it decided to run a single string of steel casing from the seafloor to the bottom of the well rather than using a steel liner with what is called a "tieback" on the top." Noted the two Congressmen, "BP chose the more risky casing option, apparently because the liner option would have cost $7 to $10 million more and taken longer."