Honest, its not our fault!

Yee-haw, my Gulf trip has officially begun with my visit to the University of San Antonio, Texas!  I am infinitely happy to be sitting down right now, since I have been on my feet in the lab for 10 hours processing hundreds of pre-spill deep-sea sediment samples (pictures on my twitter, @Dr_Bik).  Tonight I came across an interesting article while eating dinner, published in this week’s Economist.

On September 8th, BP published a report that recounts its version of how and why things went wrong.  Can you guess where this is going?  Yep, BP points the finger at everyone else.

According to British Petroleum, we went from happy profit-making to PR cataclysm as follows:

1)   Oil and gas somehow get into the well

The Excuse: “Well Halliburton gave us cement slurry which clearly was inadequate for the job.  And no, we didn’t run quality checks on it because THEY should have known better.  How could the well team do risk assessments if they didn’t know there was a problem?”

2)   Ooops, it’s a little fiery in here.

The Excuse: “How could Transocean not notice that oil and gas got into the well?  Were they blind?  The signs must have been obvious!  The oil and gas (which shouldn’t have risen up the lines in the first place, thank you Halliburton) were stupidly diverted to the mud-gas separator, which was like spraying lighter fluid on a lit match. ”

3)   The blowout preventer will save us!  Wait for it….wait for it…uh-oh…

The Excuse: “Transocean’s fault AGAIN—seriously, are they dense?  Do they even know you have to charge batteries?  Or that values are supposed to open AND close?  Otherwise the two control pods would have worked when the blowout preventer was activated before the explosion.  Or when it lost connection to the rig.  Or when and ROV was pushing the button.”

BP has every reason to shift as much blame as possible—gross negligence equates to billions of dollars in fines.  And I’m guessing the shareholders are getting pretty cranky already, nevermind this looming payout.  Naturally, Halliburton and Transocean are being pretty voiciferous in disputing these claims.

Holly Bik (160 Posts)

I am a computational biologist at the University of California, Riverside. My research uses DNA sequencing and genomics to study microbial eukaryotes (yeah, nematodes!) in marine ecosystems, with an emphasis on evolution and biodiversity in the deep-sea. I can neither confirm nor deny that I like Unix more than I like going to sea.