Tag Archive: Gulf Oil Spill

Apr 20 2011

Deepwater Horizon: One Year Later

One year ago, there was this

Today there is still this:

A year after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the surrounding environment and those who depend on it are still facing an uncertain future. Nearby islands have seen visible land loss, and tar balls still roll onto coastal beaches occasionally. Federal plans on recovery projects are far from finalized, and President Obama said yesterday that while “significant progress has been made,” the “job isn’t done.”

Apr 17 2011

Recipe for Disaster: Deep Water Drilling

Getting Wise to the Dangers of Drilling

Rachel Maddow notes that as the awareness of the inadequacies of the safety improvements in deep water drilling is growing, the Department of Interior had decided to stop issuing press releases when they grant drilling permits.

Experts fear another oil disaster

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – With everything Big Oil and the government have learned in the year since the Gulf of Mexico disaster, could it happen again? Absolutely, according to an Associated Press examination of the industry and interviews with experts on the perils of deep-sea drilling.

The government has given the OK for oil exploration in treacherously deep waters to resume, saying it is confident such drilling can be done safely. The industry has given similar assurances. But there are still serious questions in some quarters about whether the lessons of the BP oil spill have been applied.

The industry “is ill-prepared at the least,” said Charles Perrow, a Yale University professor specializing in accidents involving high-risk technologies. “I have seen no evidence that they have marshaled containment efforts that are sufficient to deal with another major spill. I don’t think they have found ways to change the corporate culture sufficiently to prevent future accidents.”

He added: “There are so many opportunities for things to go wrong that major spills are unavoidable.”

Regulation of Offshore Rigs Is a Work in Progress


By John M. Broder and Clifford Krauss

WASHINGTON – A year after BP’s Macondo well blew out, killing 11 men and spewing millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the much-maligned federal agency responsible for policing offshore drilling has been remade, with a tough new director, an awkward new name and a sheaf of stricter safety rules. It is also trying to put some distance between itself and the industry it regulates.

But is it fixed? The simple answer is no. Even those who run the agency formerly known as the Minerals Management Service concede that it will be years before they can establish a robust regulatory regime able to minimize the risks to workers and the environment while still allowing exploration offshore.

“We are much safer today than we were a year ago,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who oversees the agency, “but we know we have more to do.”

Oil industry executives and their allies in Congress said that the Obama administration, in its zeal to overhaul the agency, has lost sight of what they believe the agency’s fundamental mission should be – promoting the development of the nation’s offshore oil and gas resources. Environmentalists said the agency, now known as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, has made only cosmetic changes and remains too close to the people it is supposed to regulate.

Mar 26 2011

Blow Out Over the Blowout Preventer

Somehow, I have a feeling that BP will use this as a defense to stop any liability suits. Meanwhile the Obama regime, ever bowing to their corporate masters, continues to issue permits for deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico with absolutely no safe guards.

Tests on BP Well Blowout Preventer Confirm Redesign a Necessity

By Bob Cavnar at The Daily Hurricane

Yesterday, the Department of Interior released Det Norske Veritas’ (DNV) report on the forensic testing that it conducted on the blowout preventer (BOP) that failed to shut in BP’s blown out Macondo well almost a year ago.  I’m still going through the 500-plus page report to find answers to my many questions about the failed BOP, but I do agree with the over riding recommendation to the industry from DNV:

   “The finding of these studies should be considered and addressed in the design of future Blowout Preventers and the need for modifying current Blowout Preventers.”

DNV was addressing a recommendation to the industry that it study the causes and results of “elastic buckling” of the drill pipe within the Macondo BOP that pushed it to the side of the wellbore, preventing the blind shear ram, or the ram that is supposed to cut the pipe and seal the well, from doing so.  During the time of the blowout, the forces within the well were so strong that it lifted the drill pipe, causing it to buckle and push over to the side of the BOP bore, positioning it outside of the shearing faces of the rams.

BP Can Do More Tests on Deepwater Horizon Blowout Preventer, Court Rules

By Laurel Brubaker Calkins and Allen Johnson Jr. at Bloomberg News

BP Plc (BP/) can conduct additional tests on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig’s blowout prevention equipment now that government examiners have finished their own forensic testing, a judge ruled.

“The additional BOP testing shall be performed in a manner that preserves the evidence to the maximum extent possible,” U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said in his order, referring to the blowout prevention equipment. He ruled that other companies involved in the disaster could also now run additional tests, so long as everyone is allowed to monitor the procedures and share in the results.

The 300-ton stack of valves failed to seal off BP’s runaway well last April, triggering a fatal rig explosion and the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. BP asked Barbier for permission to partially dismantle and conduct laser scans on the blowout preventer, which was recovered from the sea floor off the Louisiana coast last year.

BP is clearly looking for any liability they can pin on the BOP,” said Houston lawyer Brent Coon, one of the lawyers marshalling evidence for the consolidated oil-spill damages lawsuits against BP and other companies involved in the failed drilling operation, referring to the blowout preventer.

(emphasis mine)

Deep Water Permits Issued With No Lessons Learned

In an exclusive investigation Rachel Maddow shows how the Department of the Interior is issuing deep water drilling permits despite a report finding the blow-out preventer design is flawed and despite drilling companies submitting emergency response plans that pre-date the Deep Water Horizon spill and therefore reflect none of the lessons of that disaster