BP’s 8 Dumbest Mistakes

The original article is here for you to read.
But I found this interesting enough to share in its entirety.

It is now clear that the disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill was eminently preventable. And even since the April 20 rig fire, experts have cited many examples of how poor choices by BP have worsened an already dire situation. Here are eight particularly unfortunate errors that experts say contributed to the biggest oil spill in U.S. history:

1. BP never had a realistic plan to deal with a spill
The oil giant’s official plan for dealing with a potential Deepwater Horizon spill, and its more general plan for any spill in the Gulf, both wildly overestimated its preparedness and seriously lowballed the potential damage, according to
an AP analysis. The plan — approved by the Interior Department in 2009 — lists a dead scientist among its wildlife experts and a defunct Japanese home-shopping website among its equipment suppliers. Portions of it are written in pencil.

2. BP went with a risky type of blowout preventer — and then didn’t maintain it
The
blowout preventer is a giant valve that is supposed to be the last line of defense against a damaged well becoming an ecological catastrophe. But for the Deepwater Horizon project, BP chose a model — made by U.S.-based Cameron International — with well-documented design flaws. To make matters worse, according to a congressional investigation, the Deepwater’s blowout preventer was in terrible shape: It had a dead battery, debilitating hydraulic-system leaks, and “shutoff shears” that weren’t strong enough to seal the well. BP also opted not to install a voluntary $500,000 acoustic shutoff switch that could have sealed the well by remote control in the event the blowout preventer failed, reports the WSJ.

3. The well’s critical plumbing was shoddy and poorly designed
Days before the blowout, BP decided to use a type of single-wall
well casing that it knew increased the risk of gas leaks like the one that ultimately caused the deadly fire on the rig, according to The New York Times. Why? To save money. Drilling experts also say that BP’s design for the casing pipe from the sea floor to the oil reservoir has a baffling design flaw that made it essentially impossible to create effective cement seals, the primary guards against natural gas leaks.

4. BP and rig workers ignored or misread clear warning signs
As Halliburton contractors were lowering the final
cement plug down the well, rig workers conducted several tests for gas leaks — and in what an internal BP postmortem calls a “fundamental mistake” — they misinterpreted a “very large abnormality.” When they decided, wrongly, that the test results were acceptable, they replaced the heavy drilling mud in the well with lighter seawater, allowing the pockets of natural gas below to explode upward and, ultimately, set the rig ablaze.

5. A “company man” overrode explosion concerns of well cementers
BP sent home the contractor it had hired to test the cement plug inside the well 11 hours before the explosion, without ever having him conduct the
“gold standard” test on whether the seal was secure, according to the testing firm. A BP “company man” also overruled other safety concerns, including replacing the drilling mud with seawater, says another partner company. 

6. BP hasn’t fessed up about how much oil is really spilling
Experts tend to agree that, in order to prepare for containment and cleanup efforts, federal and state officials need to know how much oil they’re dealing with. But the oil company has been slippery on that point: BP said two days after the explosion that
no oil was leaking; three days later, it said 1,000 barrels per day (bpd) were leaking; three days after that, it was 5,000 bpd — even after a “confidential” company memo said that up to 14,266 bpd was gushing out. BP no longer gives estimates, but government scientists Thursday said the true leak rate is has been between 20,000 to 40,000 bpd.

7. BP’s “solutions” may be making the spill much, much worse
The company’s string of failed attempts to seal or contain the leak — top hat, top kill, junk shot —
may, in fact, be intensifying the problem. A flow-rate expert on the government panel looking into the leak rate, Dr. Ira Leifer of the University of California at Santa Barbara, says that both the top kill and containment cap strategies have damaged the well and dramatically increased the amount of oil spurting into the ocean. He suggests that, following BP’s decision to install a containment cap, the leak may now be 100,000 barrels per day.

8. BP needs a bigger boat
While the containment cap strategy may have made the overall situation worse, the company is finally collecting sizable quantities of oil from the wellhead. The problem? There’s no place to store it all,
reports the WSJ. The tanker now floating above the wellhead can process about 18,000 barrels per day, while BP has a stated goal of collecting 50,000 bpd. The company is scrambling to bring in more ships, and will begin burning off as much as possible.

My only ‘beef’ about this is that yes, BP have been asses about this disaster, baring the brunt of all vexacious commentary. 
But where have Haliburton and Transocean been in this whole fiasco?
Why aren’t they taking their share of the brunt, afterall, all 3 contributed in this disaster?
No one seems to be looking into their accountability in this whole disastruous catastrophy!

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About ~KC~
Strong but open minded, opinionated, sensitive, vivacious, outgoing, caring, compassionate, spiritual, habitual, mutable, at times controversial, sometimes superficial, perceived as egotistical and knowledgeable but mostly loveable... all things Sagittarius.

13 Responses to BP’s 8 Dumbest Mistakes

  1. My question has more to do with this: Who’s regulating the regulators?

    Think about it in terms of preventing the next one: There is not much fruit here. BP’s public relations can be trashed from now ’til the end of time — in fact, this has already taken place. Is this going to make the next oil spill less likely? No, it won’t. What we’re seeing here is an entirely valid case for a regulatory process. If we did not already have one, I would say yes big-government people, this is a point for your side and it’s a pretty sound one.

    But BP was regulated. Their people filled out the forms in pencil, and the auditors then traced over the pencil marks in pen. Now KC, you know I have a right-wing minimalist-government Libertarian streak in me a mile wide and it’s a terrible evil thing that makes me a bad person & all that…but I bring something else to the table here as well, I’ve worked with government regulatory processes nice & close. When it comes time to get into technical minutiae, the regulators cannot necessarily follow what’s going on, and there’s usually no process to make sure they can. More than half the time it ends up being a dark comedy and that seems to be what’s taken place here.

    There is a lot of good technical information in these links. I hope these points are validated against reality, and if found to be sound, they make it into the next round of audit matrices. As far as how to prevent the next oil spill, only one answer has really emerged: Pull it inland. They’re only out there in 5,000 feet of water in the first place because we tried to make the tree huggers happy. You might say “Freeberg, what is this? Are you saying that trying to do right by the tree huggers is bad for the environment??”

    Yes, actually. That’s precisely what I’m saying. You want to save the birds, do what Palin said, plant a big ugly rig in ANWR and drilly-baby-drill.

    There’s something wrong with our intellectual make-up. No matter how absurd the situation gets, there’s something missing in our brains, we can’t ever seem to muster up the courage to tell the hippies to fuck off & die. It’s called-for here.

    • ~KC~ says:

      Well what do you know Mr. Freeberg… but I don’t disagree with you!
      I know… you can lift that bottom jaw of yours off the floor!
      ;0)

      I am just disgusted at the lack of accountability and their responsiveness to the issue.
      It FEELS as though the American adminstration du jour doesn’t respond to issues that happen on American soil with the same level of urgency as say, elsewhere (ie: Katrina). The Messiah says he wants to know who’s ass he has to kick – big fighting words!!! OOOh. Scary.
      Soon there will be another set of ex-Presidents setting up another committee to ‘handle’ the situation and the people, just like they did with Katrina. Or not.

  2. There’s a scene in “Office Space” where the hero (Ron Livingston) laments what incredible nerds he & his two compatriots must be — they’re trying to figure out how to launder money by looking it up in the encyclopedia.

    Convening a panel to figure out whose ass to kick, looks to me like much the same problem.

    Anyway, here are some other facts about the spill. They don’t make BP out to be the good guy, but they do make it a little more problematic to set ’em up as the bad guy.

    Some of my opinions about the spill are going to be popular. But in the end I’m going to be part of a slender minority, because in my book it all boils down to this: There’s oil in the gulf because the hippies weren’t told to stick it. And it’s looking more & more that way to me, the more I find out about it.

    This is the twilight of the Age of Aquarius.

  3. And you’d stop the next one from happening — how?

    Each corporation’s responsibility is to deliver a maximum return on investment to the stockholders. This is why they’re regulated, audited, overseen…all of which happened here.

    Are you saying the process worked out fine Daphne? You’re taking the Janet Napolitano “system worked perfectly” approach? Doesn’t seem so. So how do we make this ocean spill the last one ever.

    Tell the hippies to go fuck a goat, and pull the drilling on land — where we can, to turn a phrase, “plug the damn hole.”

    We’re only out there in the first place because we were down on our collective knees, chugging away at hippie knob, since Woodstock. So, the object of the exercise was to keep a pristine environment. You see the results today. You call that a success?

  4. American adminstration du jour doesn’t respond to issues that happen on American soil with the same level of urgency as say, elsewhere (ie: Katrina).

    KC – Not sure what you meant there; Katrina did happen in the US and please, don’t go there with the gov’t. response time to that. Please, I beg you.

    Because if you want to compare Bush’s response to Katrina to Obama’s to the Oil Spill … Bush will come out on top of that comparsion every single time.

    • ~KC~ says:

      Oh hon – I believe both situations were terribly handled and have been and continue to be treated with subpar priority.

      It is rather ludicrous on the part of Obama’s administration and himself to compare this tragedy to that of 9/11. That is a poor attempt to stirr up sympathies for his lack of interest in the issue.

      • KC – the reason Bush’s response to Katrina is viewed a slow is because the Gov of LA refused to ask for help. The way our government works is the federal agencies can’t just storm in and take over; the governor of the state has to authorize it. Then-Governor Kathleen Blanco refused to allow it for 3 days. Once she did, the National Guard was at the “gates of New Orleans” waiting for the OK to move in. Once that OK came thru, it still took time to get thru the disaster that was N.O.

        See, I begged you not to go there.

        Contrast with Obama’s response to the oil spill – he didn’t speak publicly about it for nearly one month. And during that time he played roughly 10 games of golf, had 2 state dinners and held 2 events at the White House for celebrities. So while the world’s largest environmental disaster in history was playing out … Obama met with Bono and got serenaded by Paul McCartney.

        Please – there is no comparison between Katrina and the oil spill.

        Now I will agree about Obama’s comparison to 9/11. Having lost a loved one on that date, I find it disgusting that he politicizes it to deflect from his own vast shortcomings. This from a man who, in the aftermath of 9/11, called for people not to jump to conclusions about the motives of the terrorists, defending them because they came from depressing areas of the world.

  5. ~KC~ says:

    I’m glad I did go there. You provided further clarification.
    I am looking at Katrina as the overall, ongoing issue that still exists there… how in the grand scheme of things – very little has been done to help those affected. It’s VERY VERY SLOW to get things moving and growing. I perceive this spill in the same manner. It’s not any better. And Bush is/was no saint. But that is politics for ya.

    • KC – never claimed that Bush was or is a saint, I wouldn’t do that. That said, I miss him these days.

      Plenty has been done for the victims of Katrina; the problem is New Orleans is as corrupt a city as you will find and the pockets of the wrong people are being lined with federal dollars. There is only so much the federal government can do when the local government won’t help itself.

      Sadly we’ll see the same thing happen with any recovery dollars that are spent on the oil spill in that region.

      • ~KC~ says:

        LOL I’ll refrain from commenting on Bush or corrupt governments… and only say: it’s not just N.O. but every government is corrupt.

        But I agree – Sadly we’ll see the same thing happen with any recovery dollars that are spent on the oil spill in that region.

  6. The thing is though, Obama is right. He can’t swim down to the bottom of the ocean and plug the damn hole, or suck up the oil with a straw. From here on in, very little effect is going to be realized by the actions of the government or by BP.

    I am most worried about the reaction of the public. It’s looking more and more like something is going to be done for spite, to put the oil companies in their place. New prohibitions against drilling, “tough” new restrictions and audit requirements, maybe a whole slew of special taxes.

    Gas prices will go up and we’ll all be Captain-Renault-Shocked.

    The question people really need to start asking is this: Is there a problem anywhere, for which the democrat party cannot find a bad guy for us to hate…for which they will say increased freedom is the answer? I dunno, maybe I’m asking too much of my elected “servants.” Seems to me they should be on the side of the people. But anyone who gives it some quality thought will immediately see when they seek to “punish” a business, they’re really punishing all of us and it’s by design.

    • ~KC~ says:

      when they seek to “punish” a business, they’re really punishing all of us and it’s by design.

      People cause the demand.
      Businesses are established by the demand of the people.
      Therefore – the design is to punish the people for causing the demand that the businesses fucked up.

      Not saying it’s right.
      Sad but grim reality.

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