British company BP has issued a report concluding that a series of incidents was to blame for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The highly technical report details in chronological order the events that led to the explosions and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico April 20, 2010. Mark Bly, the chief investigator for BP narrated the accompanying video.
It's now 1708 the hydraulic closing pressure from the annular preventer was increased to 1900 psi in order to create a tighter seal against the drill pipe.
The report says that decisions made by "multiple companies and work teams" contributed to the accident which it says arose from "a complex and interlinked series of mechanical failures, human judgments, engineering design, operational implementation and team interfaces."
"We concluded that there was no single action or inaction that caused the accident," Bly said. "Instead, we found that there were eight interrelated and contributing factors that led to this tragedy."
"It's not a political report, it's not even particularly a media or a public friendly report. It is there so that the industry itself and so that experts on the legal side of oil exploration can start to look at the whole blame issue," said Simon Boxall, an oceanographer at Britain's National Oceanography Center.
One of the big problems says Boxall, is the way companies assess safety. "We've sort of gone into a paper culture where as long as we have a certificate or a sign off to say that it's safe, or that everything's okay, no one bothers to check or to cross check. The hope is that perhaps the industry has learned that it can't necessarily rely on bits of paper to say everything is safe," he said.
Boxall says the industry and its regulators need to change their methods. "The industry does need to have its checks and balances looked at closely and even given government intervention, in this case, it's clear that government inspectors failed in actually picking up some of the problems that caused the incident," Boxall stated.
Transocean, the company that owned the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, called the BP report a self-serving attempt to conceal its flawed design and a series of cost-cutting decisions. BP ran the rig. Contracting company Halliburton was responsible for handling the cementing work on the well.
"The sad thing is Transocean is doing what we expect most companies to do and that's to say, "it's not our fault, it's not our fault," Boxall says, "and it's about time the industry took responsibility for its own actions. I think Transocean, Halliburton, BP all have fault and you know if BP have been cutting corners, the question is why did Transocean let them?"
This report is just the beginning in what is expected to be years of investigations and legal suits exploring what caused the biggest oil spill in United States' history.