Friday, June 18, 2010

BP Admits It Never Follows Federal Law On Blowout Preventers

BP has admitted that it doesn't follow federal law on certifying blowout preventers with the Minerals Management Service. Ever.
On the issue of the blowout preventer's capabilities, [Sen. Chuck] Grassley [R-Iowa] asked BP to show that it is in compliance with the Code of Federal Regulations Chapter 30, Section 250.416(e), which requires oil companies to provide the Minerals Management Service with proof that the massive safety devices they use to close off wells are "capable of shearing the drill pipe in the hole under maximum anticipated surface pressures."

The company responded that it applies for permits to drill oil wells "in accordance with the process prescribed by MMS officials," but goes on to say that it was not "MMS practice" to require anyone to comply with that particular section of the law.

"I find it very disturbing that BP asserts that the 'practice' in oil drilling is to avoid current laws designed to keep our beaches safe," Grassley responded in his letter. "And I am outraged that MMS is looking the other way."
Now, BP is trying to shift the blame for that on to the MMS, but the fault rests with BP. They are mandated to certify those preventers and have repeatedly failed to do so. Claiming that the MMS doesn't have a procedure for certification doesn't cut it.

It is the failure of the blowout preventer that has contributed heavily to this oil spill disaster. Had the blowout preventer worked as it should have, the oil flow would have likely been stopped - leaving the spill to be much smaller than the ongoing impact.

Also, if BP is shirking its certification requirements, are the other oil companies operating offshore doing the same? If not, why are they not doing so - what's the difference between the management styles and safety standards involved. These are questions that go to liability and culpability for the management that allowed drilling to occur under less than optimal conditions and with a disregard for safety and standard procedures in the oil industry.

There's also differing accounts on whether an oil services company, Schlumberger, withdrew their workers from the Deepwater Horizon rig because of unsafe conditions, or whether BP requested they leave after deciding not to do certain work on the casing that would have added $8-12 million to the well operations, but improved safety. One report claims BP sent them home:
The lawmakers also said BP also decided against a nine- to 12-hour procedure known as a "cement bond log" that would have tested the integrity of the cement. A team from Schlumberger, an oil services firm, was on board the rig, but BP sent the team home on a regularly scheduled helicopter flight the morning of April 20. Less than 12 hours later, the rig exploded.

BP also failed to fully circulate drilling mud, a 12-hour procedure that could have helped detect gas pockets that later shot up the well and exploded on the drilling rig.
However, other reports seems to indicate that Schlumberger (SLB) quit the rig and evacuated its employees because they considered the rig unsafe because the rig was not meeting its stringent safety standards.
SLB gets out to the Deepwater Horizon to run the CBL, and they find the well still kicking heavily, which it should not be that late in the operation. SLB orders the “company man” (BP’s man on the scene that runs the operation) to dump kill fluid down the well and shut-in the well. The company man refuses. SLB in the very next sentence asks for a helo to take all SLB personel back to shore. The company man says there are no more helo’s scheduled for the rest of the week (translation: you’re here to do a job, now do it). SLB gets on the horn to shore, calls SLB’s corporate HQ, and gets a helo flown out there at SLB’s expense and takes all SLB personel to shore.
The Congressional report seems to back the former account (that BP was done with SLB's services), and not the one that has SLB quitting the rig because of safety concerns.

No comments: