warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

U.S. Final Report: BP Cost-Cutting, Shortcuts To Blame For Gulf Oil Spill Disaster

Staff Reporters |
September 14, 2011 | 12:40 p.m. PDT

BP cost-cutting measures and shortcuts are to blame for the deadly and destructive April 2010 oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the final report which looked into the causes of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion.

According to The New York Times: "The central cause of the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig was a failure of the cement at the base of the 18,000-foot-deep well that was supposed to contain oil and gas within the well bore. That failure led to a cascade of human and mechanical errors that allowed natural gas under tremendous pressure to shoot onto the drilling platform, causing an explosion and fire that killed 11 of the 115 crew members and caused an oil spill that took 87 days to get under control."

The report, issued by a joint Interior Department-Coast Guard panel, reveals that the management team overseeing the site was distracted by cost overruns, personal conflicts and was generally in disarray in the weeks prior to the worst marine oil spill in the US, according to Bloomberg.

From the report: “The loss of life at the Macondo site on April 20, 2010, and the subsequent pollution of the Gulf of Mexico through the summer of 2010 were the result of poor risk management, last-minute changes to plans, failure to observe and respond to critical indicators, inadequate well control response and insufficient emergency bridge response training by companies and individuals responsible for drilling at the Macondo well and for the operation of the Deepwater Horizon." 

The report also blamed two of BP’s chief contractors, Transocean and Halliburton, for many of the mistakes that contributed to the disaster.

More from Bloomberg:

While holding BP “ultimately responsible” for ensuring the safety of crew members and the environment, the report said Transocean Ltd. (RIG), owner of the rig that was drilling the well, and Halliburton Co. (HAL) shared some blame for the catastrophe that killed 11 workers, injured 17 and led to the worst U.S. marine oil spill. All three companies violated federal offshore safety regulations, the panel concluded. Halliburton provided the cement used in the well and related technical services.

John Guide, the BP engineer who led the team that designed and oversaw the Macondo project, based key decisions involving equipment selection and safety tests on whether they would boost costs for a project that already was $58 million, or 61 percent, over budget, the report said.

In addition to assigning blame for the disaster, the report also offers up about a dozen suggestions on how to improve offshore oil-drilling safety.

According to The Wall Street Journal:

These include changes to ensure gas isn't sucked into engines and to strengthen the blowout preventer, a set of valves designed to be the last line of defense if a crew loses control of a well.

The government also wants to require operators to more thoroughly report well-control problems, which would allow the government for the first time to determine if particular companies have more near-misses.

The report says government regulations could be strengthened and suggests more unannounced inspections on deep-water rigs

The two-part report runs over 500 pages, and is the most comprehensive to date on the 2010 spill.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.