BP spreads blame as wide as oil slick

The disaster in the Gulf of Mexico that began April 20 when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded was the result of multiple problems and human errors, a report released this week by BP states. The explosion and massive oil leak that resulted are “a shared responsibility,” the report from BP’s internal investigation concluded.

Halliburton and Transocean, two companies involved with BP on the Deepwater rig, share responsibility, as do BP employees who were on the rig, according to the report.

And what of the BP corporate decision to save money at the expense of safety, as numerous critics have contended?

Not an issue, BP says, according to various news accounts.

✔ BP’s choice of a well design that was cheaper and easier to implement than other designs that were safer but more expensive? “Based on the report, it would appear unlikely that well design contributed to the incident,” said the always tone-deaf Tony Hayward, the soon to be ex-CEO of BP.

✔ How about BP using only six centering devices instead of the 21 recommended by Halliburton to center pipe, and choosing a less-expensive type of well casing material? Those actions don’t appear to be “causal,” said a member of BP’s investigation team.

✔ What of BP’s decision not to perform a “cement bond test” to determine if there were any defects in the cementing of the well performed by Halliburton? Not a problem, apparently. But Halliburton is faulted for the type of cement slurry it used.

BP does accept some responsibility — on behalf of its workers who were actually on the Deepwater Horizon rig, if not on behalf of its corporate leaders. Those rig workers “incorrectly accepted”  the results of a pressure test and “failed to recognize and act on the influx of hydrocarbons into the well.”

The BP investigators seem to have forgotten earlier reports about how workers on the rig were frantic about warning signals coming from monitors on the drilling rig, warnings company officials allegedly ignored.

In the wake of a disaster that has already cost BP billions of dollars and likely will cost it many billions more, it’s no surprise the company is using the report to cover its corporate behind.

Still, it’s more than a little galling that BP seems to find fault with everyone but its top executives for the disaster that killed 11 workers, devastated the economy of the Gulf Coast and did untold damage to the region’s environment.


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