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Flaws in Deepwater Management

A committee conducting an independent science-based investigation of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, has found a lack of suitable management of risk factors and uncertainties associated with deep water drilling before the explosion.

The committee of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council, set up after the explosion at the request of Interior Sec. Ken Salazar, has released a preliminary report, which suggests that there were insufficient checks and balances before critical decisions that affected the schedule for abandoning the well, were made. According to the committee, there were important decisions made toward the abandonment of the well, in spite of knowledge of potential hazards. This indicates that there was insufficient consideration to the risks involved in these procedures.

The committee also made special note of the fact that these flaws were not identified by the BP team or service contractors, and were not caught even by the oversight of the US Minerals Management Services and other federal regulatory agencies.

In its delivery report, the committee identifies several decisions that seem to have contributed to the explosion. One of these was the decision made to continue the abandonment procedures at the condo well, in spite of the fact that several tests indicated that the cement that had been put in place was not an effective barrier to block dangerous gases from entering the well.

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