Internal Report: BP’s Own Managers Partially at Fault for Gulf Disaster
August 30, 2010
(ChattahBox)—An internal investigation conducted by BP, assigns at least part of the blame for the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, to its own employees. Snippets of employee interviews have been made available to an investigative panel, made up of Interior Department officials and Coast Guard officers. Although the results of the internal probe will not be made public for another 10 days, details of the report have leaked out, revealing BP employees failed to take notice of critical signals and tests results that pointed to an explosion, and also disregarded blowout warnings from Halliburton, the contractor that cemented the well before it exploded.
Since the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that led to millions of gallons of oil gushing into the Gulf waters, killing 11 workers, BP has sought to share the blame for the disaster with its contractor-partners, Transocean and Halliburton. But the 200-page report fingers its own managers and engineers for incompetence. A number of those employees have been placed on leave.
According to the report by Bloomberg, the report also found Transocean to be partly responsible for the disaster:
“The 200-page report was compiled by a team of BP investigators led by Mark Bly, the London-based company’s head of safety and operations. The report concluded BP bears at least partial responsibility for the incident that led to the largest oil spill in U.S. history, the person said. Bly’s team also found that Transocean shares the blame, the person said.”
Among a number of deficiencies in the performance of BP’s managers, the failure to properly read pressure readings indicating an imminent explosion, was the most damaging:
“BP managers aboard the Transocean Ltd.-owned rig misinterpreted a test of the Macondo well’s stability on April 20, deciding the test confirmed the well was in good shape, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the report’s findings haven’t been publicly released.”
“That positive interpretation of the test data cleared the way for rig workers to begin replacing drilling fluid in the well, which is heavier than oil and natural gas, with seawater.”
At least two BP managers have also been targeted in a Department of Justice probe, for possible criminal negligence.
With the release of its internal investigation, BP will have a harder time extracting money from Haliburton and Transocean, to help compensate the victims of the disaster. BP agreed to pay $20 billion into a victims compensation fund.
And the scope of the environmental damage may not be realized for years to come. Already, there is evidence that the millions of gallons of oil and chemical dispersants have contaminated the vital marine food web, placing the Gulf Coast commercial fisheries industry at risk.
The damaged underwater well has been sealed with a static kill procedure, but it won’t be completely sealed until a relief well is completed sometime in September.