November 20, 2017

BP Gulf Oil Spill – cost cutting to blame

BP - Standard bearers for corporate greed at the expensive of safety. They think they are 'slick' operators but in reality there are just corporate pollution.

The US Presidential panel appointed by Barack Obama to investigate the Gulf oil spill has issued a scathing report.

The 48 page summary pinpoints a series of decisions made to cut costs and save time as the major factors that contributed to last years damaging BP oil spill which killed 11 workers.

The report is critical of BP, which owned the well, Halliburton, which managed the well sealing operation, and Transocean, which owned the Deepwater Horizon rig, as well as inadequate government oversight and regulation.

So pretty much everyone is at fault, which is standard government inquiry practice so blame cannot be apportioned to one party and is instead spread across many organisations to provide safety in numbers.

Some of the language used in the report is particularly harsh though, so the evidence must have been exceptionally damning.

Co-Chairman of the commission, former Florida Governor, Bob Graham said the blow-out was “avoidable”.

He said BP management did not properly manage risks in the operation.

“Whether purposeful or not, many of the decisions that BP, Halliburton, and Transocean made that increased the risk of the Macondo blow-out clearly saved those companies significant time (and money).”

“BP did not have adequate controls in place to ensure that key decisions in the months leading up to the blow-out were safe or sound from an engineering perspective.”

“This disaster likely would not have happened had the companies involved been guided by an unrelenting commitment to safety first,” he said in a statement.

It found mistakes and “failures to appreciate risk” compromised safeguards “until the blow-out was inevitable and, at the very end, uncontrollable”.

BP’s “fundamental mistake”, the panel wrote, was failing to exercise proper caution over the job of sealing the well with cement.

“Based on evidence currently available, there is nothing to suggest that BP’s engineering team conducted a formal, disciplined analysis of the combined impact of these risk factors on the prospects for a successful cement job,” the report reads.

Specific risks the report identifies include a flawed design for the cement used to seal the bottom of the well, a test of that seal identified problems but was “incorrectly judged a success”, and the workers’ failure to recognise the first signs of the impending blow-out.

Newswarped thinks that individuals within BP and it’s partner organisations should be held personally accountable for the tragedy.

All that has happened to date is that the tax payers of the United States and the oil using consumers of the world have paid the price for one of the worst oil disasters in history.

Criminal charges should be the outcome not some slap on the wrist, “gee we could all learn from this” talkfest. Unless executives start getting sent to jail for what is criminal negligence then the Gulf oil spill, as with other corporate crimes like Bhopal and Exxon Valdez will just keep getting repeated with a different name and same result.

Big business can have profit and safety at the same time. It is only greed that confines safety to the waste basket and ordinary people pay the price.

Perhaps the West could learn something from China instead of pointing the self-righteous finger at her all the time and follow some of her examples about how to get tough with corporates who put greed before safety.