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BP could have prevented blowout: investigator

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, February 17, 2011 15:55 EDT
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BP’s oil well in the Gulf of Mexico might never have blown last year if the company’s engineers had been consulted about a key test that pointed to a defective cement job, investigators reported Thursday.

A US Coast Guard handout image of fire boat response crews as they battle the blazing remnants of the BP operated off shore oil rig, Deepwater Horizon, in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. BP’s oil well in the Gulf of Mexico might never have blown last year if the company’s engineers had been consulted about a key test that pointed to a defective cement job, investigators reported Thursday.

Those and other details were disclosed in a report wrapping up an investigation by a presidential commission that blamed the April 20, 2010 disaster on management failures by BP, Halliburton and Transocean.

A massive explosion on the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 workers, sank the rig and sent millions of barrels of oil flowing into the Gulf over a three month period, wreaking havoc on the region’s environment and economy.

The report by the commission’s lead counsel, Fred Bartlit, zeroed in on the failure of the cement well casing put in by Halliburton and a key negative pressure test just before the blowout that should have warned BP supervisors of a problem.

But investigators found that “well site leaders accepted facially implausible explanations for the negative test results.”

An oil slick on the outside edge of the protective barrier formed by the Chandeleur Islands in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon platform disaster off Louisiana in 2010. BP’s oil well in the Gulf of Mexico might never have blown last year if the company’s engineers had been consulted about a key test that pointed to a defective cement job, investigators reported Thursday.

Even after the blowout of the Macondo well, a BP official attributed it to “a bladder effect,” rather than failed cement, surprising BP’s vice president for drilling and completions, who was on the rig during the test.

“If anyone had consulted him or any other shore-based engineer, the blowout might never have happened,” Bartlit’s report said.

“Every industry expert the investigative team met with dismissed the so-called bladder effect as a fiction that could not have accounted for the pressure readings the men saw on April 20.”

The report also said that BP officials had been aware for years of problems with Halliburton’s work and the quality of the oil services giant’s personnel.

Oil covered brown pelicans found off the Louisiana coast and affected by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico wait in a holding pen for cleaning in Buras, Louisiana, in 2010. BP’s oil well in the Gulf of Mexico might never have blown last year if the company’s engineers had been consulted about a key test that pointed to a defective cement job, investigators reported Thursday.

“BP’s engineers had been forced to ‘work around’ the Halliburton engineer assigned to Macondo for years — they said that he was ‘not cutting it’ and that he often waited too long to conduct critical tests.

“But they neither reviewed his work at Macondo carefully, nor even checked to see that he conducted testing in a timely manner — even though they knew that their last minute changes to the cement design test could cause problems and that using nitrogen foamed cement could pose ‘significant stability challenges.’”

Nor did they fully review his cement design, the report said.

An internal BP cement specialist was asked to provide support on an ad hoc basis, but he left the country without carefully reviewing the cement design, and never saw information about the cement slurry design or the lab test results until six days after the disaster.

A fisherman holds up an oil-stained bouey that washed up on the beach at South Pass near the mouth of the Mississippi River in 2010 near Venice, Louisiana. BP’s oil well in the Gulf of Mexico might never have blown last year if the company’s engineers had been consulted about a key test that pointed to a defective cement job, investigators reported Thursday.

“When he reviewed those materials, several aspects of Halliburton’s cement design surprised him,” it said.

The Transocean crew also missed several signs that there were hydrocarbons on the night of the blowout.

“At 9:27 pm, less than 15 minutes before the blowout began, they did notice an anomaly in pressure data from the well, and shut down operations to investigate,” the report said.

“They noticed several anomalies that should have caused serious concern, but showed no hint of alarm,” it said.

The rig’s crew activated a blowout preventer seconds before the blowout began. But by then it was too late, the report said.

“Even if the BOP (blowout preventer) had functioned flawlessly, the rig would have exploded and 11 men would have died,” it said.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QMPOO3PZFN7XV2XZKCGSXXR3WM Joe Somebody

    Excellent.. who’s going to prison for criminal negligence?

  • RottenJohnny

    Nobody. They’ll either buy off the government or the government will just let em off with a slap on the wrist. Hell, look how many financiers have gone to prison over the money they stole.

  • ghostof911

    It appears the blame is spread all around, so all three companies, BP, Halliburton, and Transocean, are liable for the environmental and economic damage they caused by their negligence. There will be a settlement, but it will not be nearly large enough to compensate those whose livelihoods were adversely impacted by the disaster, nor large enough to be painful for the guilty parties. The companies will simply chalk it up as a small cost of doing business.

  • Anonymous

    Sit down, shut up, and eat your damn oily fish….you whiny little slaves.

    America could care less, because the only thing Americans care about is $$$.

  • Guest

    Re: Things Raw Story regular readers knew, what, LAST YEAR?

    Echoing Joe Somebody below, When are the scumbags at BP going to be convicted of this crime and sentenced to a long stay in jail?

  • dk504

    Well stop the presses!!! I could have never thought of that. OMG!! Do you think there’s a possibility the food supply could be tainted too? Do you think BP will clean it all up? I sure hope so… Okay back to reality, these fuckers don’t put one blood penny in their coffers, none of them; Halliburton, TransOceania, & BP, until the Gulf is clean as is it’s food chain.
    No big Gator tears for you bitches, you did this, you fix it. All that crap about fiduciary responsibility to your shock holders mean NOTHING when you have DESTROYED the world assholes. Clean comes first, then stockholders.

  • Anonymous

    “A massive explosion on the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 workers”

    I appreciate the ecological damage but when watching the stories on various news networks there was hardly a mention of the 11 workers killed or the injured survivors. What about their families?

    The disaster was not overplayed in the news… I’m not saying that… I just feel that more Americans would appreciate how evil and irresponsible these companies were if more about the victims was shown. What a sad loss.

  • Anonymous

    This government was afraid if the dead of the 11 workers was pushed this disaster might have been harder to control..
    How in the he.. is BP getting away with this criminal act the same as all other criminal acts by the elite and Global Empires.
    The list of corporate criminals which are not even prosecuted and walking the streets as Free persons is growing in leaps and bounds.
    Look what they did to Martha Steward for a lie.
    Hope you remember just one of the lies by Bush and his whole damn crew about WMD to start his middle east war..
    The Martha Stewart guilty verdict is more than troubling. It is an outrage.

    The very case itself typifies today’s government — an entity that is free to intrude in any area of your life, free to make up the rules as it goes along, free to allow prosecutors to make names for themselves in high-profile cases without facing any personal consequences, no matter what harm they do.

    Let me make it clear that I don’t know Martha Stewart, I’ve never seen her TV show, and I’ve never read any of her books or magazines. I don’t know what kind of person she is, and I don’t care. But I care deeply about the kind of country America has turned into — one in which there is no firm rule of law and anyone can be prosecuted at any time for any kind of offense that the government wants to invent.

    http://harrybrowne.org/articles/MarthaStewart2.htm

    So why are these professional criminals still walking the streets with the wealth they made with real crimes against our country , citizens , economy and our demcracy.

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