Saturday, 12 March 2011

BP Share Blame With Transocean and Halliburton Over Deepwater Horizon Blast

BP, although admitting to fundamental safety oversights, have filtered large portions of blame onto Transocean and Halliburton for their part in the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.
In a report issued by the oil company yesterday (Wednesday 8th September), it was concluded that the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig, as well as Halliburton - a third company who carried out cement work on the project - were left shouldering a large part of the blame for the explosion on the oil rig. The blast killed 11 men, and caused one of the worst environmental catastrophes in history.

The report, led by Mark Bly, BP's head of safety, concluded that on-site BP managers could and should have engaged in a more comprehensive strategy of risk assessment, admitting that warning signs were either missed or ignored by the management team.

In the aftermath of the disaster, BP and the American government were seen to be lacklustre in their response, provoking global outrage at the scenes of environmental annihilation which followed the initial explosion. For many, this report is seen as a precursor to BP's legal strategy in an attempt to transfer partial blame onto other companies involved in the drilling operations.

For BP, it seems to be of the utmost importance to dissuade continued allegations of gross negligence, the consequences of which would lead to criminal proceedings and huge financial losses.

The spill left vast swathes of the region desolated. Wildlife, businesses, and residential areas all suffered the ruinous effects of the oversights made by the senior staff on-board the Deepwater Horizon rig. It is believed that a highly pressurized volume of methane gas travelled upwards and out of the drill column before expanding and igniting on the platform.

Although it is clear the level of risk assessment in practice was insufficient, BP claim that the original cause of the problem stemmed from eight factors. These included a failure of the foam cement to produce a sufficiently robust seal around the well casing, as well as low running battery pack on the blow-out preventer - the last line of defence against such a breach. For these two causes, BP point the finger at Halliburton and Transocean respectively.

It has also been suggested that, despite recommendations from Halliburton to use 22 casing centralizers, only 7 were implemented. These centralizers allow for an equal cement casing around the edge of the bore.

It appears that there is no conclusive consensus concerning the location of blame. With a distinct "passing-the-buck" attitude, each participating company only serves to alienate themselves further from the hearth of public forgiveness.

By Harvey McEwan