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October 12th, 2011

Federal Report Blames BP, Transocean, Halliburton for Rig Explosion

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement has laid much of the blame for the Gulf of Mexico oil explosion last year on BP . However, Transocean, the owner of the rig, and Halliburton, which did much of the cementing work on the vessel, have not been spared blame either.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement report comes after extensive hearings conducted by the federal agency, testimony from more than 80 witnesses and expert analysis of an extensive array of documents and exhibits. The Joint Investigative Team convened after the explosion, found among other things that
1. BB failed to protect the health of its work health and safety of its workers, and the environment
2. BB, Transocean and Halliburton failed to prevent conditions that were a risk to public health, the environment and commercial fishing
3. All three companies failed to take necessary precautions to maintain the Macondo oil well under control at all times
4. BP and Transocean failed to maintain the blowout preventer
5. BP and Halliburton failed to complete the cementing properly

Not surprisingly to maritime law attorneys, however, BP shares most of the blame. The panel noted that BP had established programs that encouraged workers to control or reduce costs. In fact, in 2008, the company established a program that was mainly focused on reducing drilling costs by improving efficiency. In the weeks leading up to the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the company made a series of decisions that were intended to reduce costs. These measures also unfortunately increased risks.

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