Transocean, Halliburton blast BP report on cause of blowout, oil spill
Transocean and Halliburtion, BP's partners on the blown-out well that led to the massive Gulf oil spill, reject findings in a new BP report that finds their workers partly to blame for the rig accident.
Former partners with BP in the drilling operation that led to a blowout aboard the Deepwater Horizon drill rig – and a massive oil spill – are striking back at a report they say unfairly paints them as equally responsible for the disaster.Skip to next paragraph
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In its four-month study by 50 analysts, BP details "a complex and interlinked series of mechanical failures, human judgments, engineering design, operational implementation and team interfaces." Failures by BP's own staff to correctly evaluate negative-pressure tests were part of the problem, the report said. But it also cited roles played by crews of Transocean, which operated the Deepwater Horizon rig, and of Halliburton, the company that cemented the well.
Halliburton and Transocean on Wednesday rejected BP's characterization.
"This is a self-serving report that attempts to conceal the critical factor that set the stage for the Macondo incident: BP's fatally flawed well design. In both its design and construction, BP made a series of cost-saving decisions that increased risk – in some cases, severely," Transocean said in a statement.
Among BP's cost-saving moves that Transocean said compromised safety are the following:
- BP opted for a single long run of pipe rather than an alternative approach that would have increased the barriers to gas flow.
- BP failed to conduct a "cement bond log" test to evaluate the integrity of the cement at the bottom of the well, which was what blocked gas and oil from emerging up the production pipe.
- BP installed fewer than one-third of the recommended number of centralizer devices, which Transocean said had the effect of "dramatically increasing the risk of cement channeling and gas flow."
Halliburton, for its part, said BP officials were in charge and signed off on every step of its work as it pumped concrete to the bottom of the well to block the emergence of oil and gas.
"Deepwater operations are inherently complex and a number of contractors are involved which routinely make recommendations to a single point of contact, the well owner," Halliburton said in a statement. "The well owner is responsible for designing the well program and any testing related to the well. Contractors do not specify well design or make decisions regarding testing procedures as that responsibility lies with the well owner."
BP's study detailed eight failures it said led to the disaster, including what it called "weaknesses in cement design and testing, quality assurance and risk assessment" conducted by Halliburton. It faulted Transocean's rig crew, along with BP well site leaders, for having "reached the incorrect view that the test [of cementing the well to close it] was successful and that well integrity had been established."