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BP's Gulf Spill Report Shows String of Failures 181

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the commence-the-finger-pointing dept.
eldavojohn writes "News is out of BP's report on the gulf spill that shifts some of the blame on to other companies like Transocean that worked with BP in erecting the Deepwater Horizon rig. If you were affected by the spill, you might find the video, executive summary and 193-page report an interesting read. The summary outlines six or seven major failures in safety and engineering that all built up to the deaths of eleven workers and widespread contamination of the gulf. From incorrectly using seawater instead of drilling fluid to misinterpreting pressure test results, this report is just BP's side of the story as the blowout preventer has been pulled up and is still on its way to NASA where it will be analyzed by government investigators who will be able to compile their own report."
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BP's Gulf Spill Report Shows String of Failures

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  • by XanC (644172)

    The link points directly to an error page. I mean, it actually points to securityerrorpageredirect.jsp!

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      There's something inherently just about a bad summary with a bad link describing the bad behavior of a bad company.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by lgw (121541)

        Any major disaster is at the end of a long chain of fuckups (this applies to /. stories as well of course). No doubt there's plenty of blame here - many people need to cooperate to keep the chain of fuckups going to where multiple safety and contingency systems fail.

        • The solution to this is fairly simple -- make it illegal for oil production companies to subcontract drilling operations. They can then be held 100% accountable for all aspects of the oil economy, from exploration and drilling straight to the pumps of cars.

          There is no great conspiracy here; subcontracting makes sense to both distribute financial risk and to encourage efficiencies. But when the end result is not just profit but a healthy ecosystem, pure 100% profit driven efficiency should not be the end
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mcgrew (92797) *

        Well, at least the summary didn't kill anybody.

        TFS: The summary outlines six or seven major failures in safety and engineering

        Yet nobody's in prison for negligent manslaughter. But if I'm not paying attention and run over a single person, I go to prison. Must be nice to be so rich you're above the law.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Coren22 (1625475)

          Or to be a corporation that cannot be held liable as a person can.

          • by spun (1352)

            I thought persons made the decisions at corporations. You could hold the person that made the decision responsible. Or you could actually hold the corporation itself responsible: break it up and sell it off, the corporate death penalty. We human beings made the rules we operate under right now. and we can change them.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by sjames (1099)

              It always devolves into he said she said. Phrases come up like "that's not what I meant", "I never said that, I said...", "that's not what I heard...". It's always "nobody's fault". If you try to hold a single person responsible, it'll inevitably be the poor schlep with no actual authority who did what he was told without having enough authority to know about the other things that were don so that the action became dangerous.

              The corporation, however, can be held responsible. Anywhere from surrendering years

          • by Jawnn (445279)

            Or to be a corporation that cannot be held liable as a person can.

            Corporate citizenship. All the rights and none of the responsibilities. Ain't it great?

        • by IrquiM (471313)

          Yet nobody's in prison for negligent manslaughter. But if I'm not paying attention and run over a single person, I go to prison. Must be nice to be so rich you're above the law.

          Since it all started at the bottom of the sea with the concrete, and that was a US company, they can't stuff a Brit in prison without doing the same to a couple of American companies as well.

        • by Dare nMc (468959)

          if I'm not paying attention and run over a single person, I go to prison.

          Not likely, unless you weren't paying attention because of drugs or alcohol or some other "negligent behavior" was involved, like excessive speeding; A single momentary mistake is not generally considered criminal. In this case it does seam fairly likely that one or more of the people "not paying enough attention" that helped escalated this to deaths were among those killed, so no reason to hang them again. The blowout preventer (for example) doesn't appear to be a factor at all in the deaths, only in

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The link points directly to an error page. I mean, it actually points to securityerrorpageredirect.jsp!

      http://www.bp.com/sectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=9034902&contentId=7064891 [bp.com]

      • Re:Bad link (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ColdWetDog (752185) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @01:42PM (#33510568) Homepage
        This [theoildrum.com] is nice tear down of the executive summary. The Oildrum has had an excellent running commentary on the Macondo Spill. It's primarily a 'Peak Oil' site but it is done quite well. My favorite quote from some apparently ancient oil guy named 'Rockman' who's major failing in life seems to be a horrible addiction to Blue Bell ice cream:

        Here's what I saw as critical aspects of the executive summary from the BP report. "Indications of influx with an increase in drill pipe pressure are discernable in real-time data from approximately 40 minutes before the rig crew took action to control the well. The rig crew's first apparent well control actions occurred after hydrocarbons were rapidly flowing to the surface. The rig crew did not recognize the influx and did not act to control the well until hydrocarbons had passed through the BOP and into the riser."



        "Well control response actions failed to regain control of the well. If fluids had been diverted overboard, rather than to the MGS, there may have been more time to respond, and the consequences of the accident may have been reduced."

        And a viable excuse offered: "The explosions and fire very likely disabled the emergency disconnect sequence, the primary emergency method available to the rig personnel, which was designed to seal the wellbore and disconnect the marine riser from the well.

        Given a number of highly questionable decisions, BP appears to volunteer to take a few arrows themselves: "The team did not identify any single action or inaction that caused this accident. Rather, a complex and interlinked series of mechanical failures, human judgments, engineering design, operational implementation and team interfaces came together to allow the initiation and escalation of the accident. Multiple companies, work teams and circumstances were involved over time."

        So BP may claim a collective blame but I go back to their lead off position: ""the crew... did not act to control the well". If you followed the debate between syn and I you can see how I take BP's report: yes...BP and others made mistakes. BUT the TO drill crew "did not act to control the well". And that lack of action allowed the kick to turn into a blow out that killed 11 hands and wrecked the GOM.

        Opinions will vary, of course. And in the end there will be legal judgment rendered. But each person, including the surviving participants, will come to their own conlusions.

        Summary of the Summary: BP did a bunch of stupid things, but it was TO's (Trans Ocean - the rig owner) responsibility to control the well even if BP purposely designed the rig to fail. They didn't do that. And Boom. IMHO this is not a shot across the bow of Transocean...it's an arrow aimed straight at their heart: "the crew... did not act to control the well".

        • by TubeSteak (669689)

          And Boom. IMHO this is not a shot across the bow of Transocean...it's an arrow aimed straight at their heart:
          "the crew... did not act to control the well".

          And ultimately, BP's report is going to mean fuck-all except as an attempt at short term damage control.
          The Feds are going to investigate the hell out of this and that report is the one Congress will base their actions on.

          • And ultimately, BP's report is going to mean fuck-all except as an attempt at short term damage control.

            If BP succeeds in offloading most of the blame, it may come back to bite them later. If I'm TO and going to be responsible for whatever happens on the rig, my contracts are going to change to: you tell me where to drill, and I'll tell you what it will cost, then you get the fuck off my rig. And as for Haliburton, they will simply refuse to cement any hole that doesn't meet their guidelines. Guidelines

            • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

              If I'm TO and going to be responsible for whatever happens on the rig, my contracts are going to change to: you tell me where to drill, and I'll tell you what it will cost, then you get the fuck off my rig.

              I think you severely over-estimate TO's position of power in this situation. BP can quite easily go with another deep sea drilling company. There are only a handful of them, but there are enough that BP need never use TO again. If that happens, TO will be hurt significantly financially in the long run, because BP is one of the largest oil companies in the world, and therefor a major source of income in a competitive market will be cut off from them.

              Hopefully the result is that TO will practice much stric

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DragonWriter (970822)

          Summary of the Summary: BP did a bunch of stupid things, but it was TO's (Trans Ocean - the rig owner) responsibility to control the well even if BP purposely designed the rig to fail. They didn't do that. And Boom. IMHO this is not a shot across the bow of Transocean...it's an arrow aimed straight at their heart: "the crew... did not act to control the well".

          Summary^3: BP's report says "That sucked. But it was mostly someone else's fault."

          Big surprise.

        • Re:Bad link (Score:5, Insightful)

          by thegarbz (1787294) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @04:55PM (#33513434)

          They didn't do that. And Boom. IMHO this is not a shot across the bow of Transocean...it's an arrow aimed straight at their heart: "the crew... did not act to control the well".

          This is how all these investigations work. Nearly every major incident has such a multitude of failures in defence mechanisms leading up to it that it is actually quite easily to say "It's not my responsibility because if X happened then the entire situation could have been avoided." For example:

          The Texas City incident could have been avoided by operations not overfilling the column. Damn operations. Or it could have been avoided if the high level switches in the column worked. Damn maintenance. Or it could have been avoided by the blowdown stack being connected to the flare relief line (the piping ran very close so this wasn't an expensive option). Damn engineers. How about a culture of routine complacency in the workplace? Damn Management!

          Could apply the same thing to Three Mile Island. Operators should have realised there was no water in the cooling system and not cut the feed. Damn Operations. The PORV should have properly autoreclosed and not jammed open. Damn Maintenance. etc etc.

          Chernobyl? Operators should not have shutdown the SCRAM shutdown system, engineering should have an interlock that prevents the removal of control rods so far out of the reactor and the sudden re-insertion etc. etc. etc.

          This was Transocean's fault. It was Haliburton's fault. It was definitely BP's fault too.

        • Re:Bad link (Score:4, Interesting)

          by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @10:30PM (#33516390)

          Summary of the Summary: BP did a bunch of stupid things, but it was TO's (Trans Ocean - the rig owner) responsibility to control the well even if BP purposely designed the rig to fail. They didn't do that. And Boom. IMHO this is not a shot across the bow of Transocean...it's an arrow aimed straight at their heart: "the crew... did not act to control the well".

          That's not how it works in the oil and gas business and I have many friends in the industry. The ultimate responsibility is in the hands of the well owner, not the rig owner. In this case that is BP because BP called all the shots. And that is the company people will sue. There are a number of things that BP did to bypass Transocean's safety protocols. While it appears that Transocean may have damaged the BOP before handling control to BP, you don't know if BP knew that. There is evidence BP pressured Transocean to finish off the well their way [cbsnews.com]. Transocean wanted 3 concrete plugs with finishing mud in between. In order to save time, BP did not want the finishing mud. Professor Robert Bea [berkeley.edu] who was asked to investigate the incident by the White House says if the mud had been left, there may have not been a blowout even if the BOP was damaged.

    • Clearly anything having to do with BP is cursed to fail.

    • This has happened before with BP articles....
    • Simply continuing the string of failures. Think of it as meta-humor.
  • by alfredos (1694270) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @01:16PM (#33510250)
    It is the same with aviation accidents. Sometimes it's just an individual screwing up, but that's the exception. Usually there are multiple causes as well as contributing factors. Unfortunately that doesn't mix well with the mainstream media, which wants a three-word expanation so that they can print in big letters on page one. I have learnt that if I want to know something about a mishap in a complex environment, either I read the whole 196-page document, or it's better if I don't learn anything at all.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      It is the same with aviation accidents. Sometimes it's just an individual screwing up, but that's the exception.

      No, it's the norm if not always the reason. Poke around here [ntsb.gov] and you'll see that just about all aviation accidents are because someone screwed up. The NTSB is excellent at pinpointing the failure. The most I've ever seen was an accident several years ago that had three causes: 1. bad weather, 2. improper maintenance, 3. pilot error in dealing with failure. Most of the time, it boils down to #3 - pilot error.

      • Yeah, the NTSB always blames the pilot. Never the design or implementation details of any of the builders - who pay a lot to the NTSB.

        Nice example: John Denver.

        He was blamed because he failed to properly switch from one fuel tank to the other, thus depriving the engine of gas. He then crashed and died.
        What *wasn't* in the NTSB report: the switch was behind him, in a tight space, and he couldn't see over his shoulder clearly enough to tell if the switch was in the proper place.

        You can blame Denver, and he

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by natehoy (1608657)

          What *wasn't* in the NTSB report: the switch was behind him, in a tight space, and he couldn't see over his shoulder clearly enough to tell if the switch was in the proper place.

          That WAS in the NTSB report, in fact Denver and a mechanic discussed it, the mechanic attempted to attach a pair of vice-grips as a workaround, and Denver said he'd use the autopilot to ensure straight-and-level if he had to mess with it in flight. He also refused a refuel stating that he'd be flying for an hour.

          http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/GenPDF.asp?id=LAX98FA008&rpt=fa [ntsb.gov]

          But the engineer(s) who put the switch behind the pilot's seat are just as much, if not moreso, to blame

          Actually, the aircraft wasn't engineered that way. Someone (apparently a previous owner) modified it. Denver was aware of the modifica

          • by causality (777677)

            What *wasn't* in the NTSB report: the switch was behind him, in a tight space, and he couldn't see over his shoulder clearly enough to tell if the switch was in the proper place.

            That WAS in the NTSB report, in fact Denver and a mechanic discussed it, the mechanic attempted to attach a pair of vice-grips as a workaround, and Denver said he'd use the autopilot to ensure straight-and-level if he had to mess with it in flight. He also refused a refuel stating that he'd be flying for an hour.

            http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/GenPDF.asp?id=LAX98FA008&rpt=fa [ntsb.gov]

            But the engineer(s) who put the switch behind the pilot's seat are just as much, if not moreso, to blame

            Actually, the aircraft wasn't engineered that way. Someone (apparently a previous owner) modified it. Denver was aware of the modification, aware of its shortcomings, had actually made arrangements to fix it permanently, attempted a failed temporary fix with an A&P mechanic, then decided to fly it anyway without making sure both tanks were full (in fact, the A&P interviewed stated that Denver had initially tried to start the engine on a tank that might have been empty, meaning Denver's attempts to change tanks would have been in vain since he switched to the only tank with an unknown quantity of fuel left before takeoff).

            Sorry, John Denver was a great singer. But the blame for the crash rests firmly on his shoulders.

            This is a perfect example of a "string of failures". Someone made an ill-considered modification to an aircraft that Denver (an experienced pilot) bought. This modification made it difficult to change tanks. Denver knew about the problem, but completely failed to mitigate it by:

            1. Not making sure he had enough fuel on board in his chosen primary tank for a short flight, 2. Not making sure he would be able to switch the tanks while in flight, 3. Apparently not ensuring that his alternate tank had any fuel in it at all, so even if he did manipulate the switch he may well have been switching from one empty to another, 4. Insisting on a short flight before he would be taking a trip that would give his A&P plenty of time to fix the problem and relocate the switch where it belonged.

            Proper handling of ANY of the four issues above could have turned the disaster into a safe flight (or at least a case of "being down here, wishing you were up there", which isn't usually fatal like "being up there, wishing you were down here" sometimes is).

            What's the compelling reason why these independently wealthy individuals who can afford private aviation never seem to spend a few hundred dollars on a good parachute? I don't know about you but if I am alone flying a plane and it's going to crash and there's no hope of stopping it, like it's completely out of fuel, then I'm going to take my chances with a little unplanned skydiving.

      • by alfredos (1694270) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @01:59PM (#33510786)

        It is the same with aviation accidents. Sometimes it's just an individual screwing up, but that's the exception.

        No, it's the norm if not always the reason

        I agree a bit with that. But I also think that while NTSB investigation and reports are top notch, they suffer from being (unavoidably) within the same environment.

        I'll give you an example. You can easily support, NTSB reports in hand, that flying by eye in meteorological conditions that are too hard for that (visual into IMC for you pilots out there) is one of the leading causes of accidents in light airplanes. That is too bad. Anybody can get some additional training and learn instrument flying. Well, if it's that easy why isn't it done in the first place? Why does not everybody get at least basic instrument training so that they can keep their act together when the shit hits the propeller? From there you can easily jump to a politics debate but keep with me for a moment. I'll give another example.

        Another leading cause of light aviation accidents is loss of engine power. Now loss of power can be due to a number of reasons: You can run out of gas, for example. Or you can forget to adjust the mixture as you go up or down. Or your carburetor can get ice. There exists technology enough to eliminate or greatly reduce the danger in most of these causes. Why isn't it done? Well, firstly because a fully computerized control system for an aviation engine costs as much as a new car. Now you can argue that the pilot is putting his/her life to risk because of economical considerations, or you can look at the reasons why everything is so damned expensive in aviation. I'll leave it to you, but yes, it's as easy as it seems.

        My point is that it's worth the effort to dig a bit more. You can't expect everybody to be fully proficient at everything they get into. Instead, however, helping environments become safer by promoting safe ideas, technologies, training and norms pays much more than blaming the individual and leaving it there.

    • by jhol13 (1087781)

      The (USA) media (and probably USA justice system too) will blame almost entirely on BP.
      The UK media, OTOH, will ... yeah, you got it.

      This is too easy.

      • by mpe (36238)
        The (USA) media (and probably USA justice system too) will blame almost entirely on BP.
        The UK media, OTOH, will ... yeah, you got it.


        Amoco?
        • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

          Don't you mean Anadarko?

          You know, the American company that owns 25% stake in Deepwater but has mysteriously never (at least that I've seen) been mentioned in the media. Anadarko was involved in all major financial decisions for the site, and more than likely they had people on the rig as well, and yet you hear not a peep about them

          BP went above and beyond their legal obligation with regards to the spill - which is capped at about $100 million (I think it's actually only $75mil) - and still everyone reamed

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc (563838)

      On the flip side, the multiple causes from multiple organizations frequently lead to each organization completely absolving itself by saying "well, if the other team's stuff had worked properly, there wouldn't have been a problem." While true, it also means that they will avoid fixing their piece of the problem (and do their best to avoid legal responsibility as well).

    • by cgenman (325138) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @01:37PM (#33510520) Homepage

      Usually when you talk about complex causes, you mean that factors A, B, C, and D all interacted in unexpected ways to cause a failure, but that most of those factors on their own are basically innocuous. This can be the case in aviation, which a century out remains a tricky human endeavor.

      Here, we're talking about several major failures, any one of which would be bad on their own. You can't write it off as a "complex cause" when the safety failed because it was improperly maintained, then the safety person failed because he was improperly trained, then the backup safety failed because nobody installed it, etc. The cause is very simple: cutting too many corners.

      • Or, in short, you've done exactly what the mainstream media does - reduced the whole issue to one neat soundbite. That's great if all you want is a ritualistic Two Minutes Hate so you can get on with what's really important in your life - the next soundbite, the next meme, the next ritualistic Two Minutes hate.
         
        It's not really useful for actually trying to understand what happened, and how (if possible) to fix things so that it doesn't happen again.

        • by cgenman (325138)

          The point of BP's report seems to be using "It's complicated" and "many people were involved" to defray blame and remove legal responsibility for the accident from BP.

          The details of cement failing to contain hydrocarbons, improper venting into the engine room, etc are all fascinating from an engineering perspective. I don't mean to downplay their value.

          But according to BP's incoming CEO: “We have said from the beginning that the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon was a shared responsibility among ma

          • In other words, all you want is Two Minutes Hate that confirms your worldview - and you'll trivialize and hand wave until you get it.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Your.Master (1088569)

              You are reducing cgenman's repeated and coherent explanations to a soundbite that confirms your worldview: "Two Minutes Hate". Yet your position seems to be that reducing arguments to a soundbite is a bad argument.

              Please be consistent. Or explain how your seemingly-hypocritical position here is consistent.

              • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

                How is "nu-uh, they're just trying make it look like it isn't their fault" an explanation?

                He didn't explain anything. He didn't give any examples from the report. It is not based on any fact he can produce.

                All cgenman is doing is a circumstantial ad hominem attack. It has absolutely no merit whatsoever.

                Hence DerekLyons' "Two Minutes Hate", which is exactly what it is. BP is evil, therefore everything they do must be evil. I don't think cgenman would be satisfied with a report from BP unless it results

          • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

            Good god man, do you hold nobody else responsible?

            Trans-Ocean was running the friggin rig, what about them? Frankly, I'd personally put a lot more of the blame on them. They were running the rig, they were supposed to be the experts who knew what they were doing. If a BP monkey wanted them to do something stupid, it was their job to tell them "no, this is they way it needs to be done, and this is how we are doing it". Chances are TO's corporate culture did not allow the safe running of the rig, but that

      • by abigsmurf (919188)
        The failures ALWAYS seem major in any big accident because for them to happen, whole safty systems have to be subverted or fail.

        To go back to the plane crash example. Almost never get planes plummeting out of the sky in a fireball because there was a single screw that failed.

        What happens was a mechanic didn't have the right type of screw so he put in another one, despite the maintenence manual saying it's vitally important to use the right screw (which they were out of stock in the hanger and to order
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

          Go find the video for the Texas City oil refinery accident - it's another BP fuckup (this one they were entirely to blame for from start to finish).

          The brief rundown is as follows:

          Sensors on a particular tank were not adequate for the purposes of that tank. Basically two sensors were used to measure the fluid level, but as the fluid was never supposed to exceed a certain level sensors were never placed above that level. In other words once the fluid went above the allowed level there was no way to tell wh

      • by thegarbz (1787294) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @05:03PM (#33513564)
        Every major incident has a complex cause, maintaining safety devices has nothing to do with it. In all major industrial accidents there are multiple failures that all need to align perfectly in order for something to go wrong. Yes each on it's own right has the potential to cause a problem, but not usually on the scale of hitting the world media.

        For example using drilling mud instead of seawater could have prevented the issue due to better pressure control.
        Operators not waiting to sound the alarm could have mitigated much of the incident and loss of life
        A BOP that had a working battery and front panel meant the well could have leaked for a day not 4 months.

        For a major industrial incident all the ducks need to be lined up in one often very unlucky row.
        • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

          Every accident is complex, yet every accident is preventable.

          It's also worth noting that this was, in fact, an accident. Nobody involved did it on purpose. They may have done stupid things, made compromises where they should not have, cut corners, etc., but nobody wanted this to happen.

          I think people forget that sometimes.

    • by ukemike (956477)

      Usually there are multiple causes as well as contributing factors.

      But that isn't the case here. This is a set of serial failures. Had ANY one of these many steps been done right there would have been no disaster. The implication of this is that it wasn't about any one specific cause, it is about a full scale systemic failure. Every person in the whole chain of fault is the direct cause of this disaster and should be facing charges of manslaughter and whatever other charges might apply.

  • String of Failures (Score:3, Insightful)

    by c++0xFF (1758032) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @01:17PM (#33510272)

    Of course it was a string of failures. I don't care if it's an oil rig or a software bug, it usually takes more than one failure before a problem actually surfaces. It's usually a combination of physical defects, human error, and process failures ... but it takes the entire sequence to fail before something goes wrong.

    The longer it takes for a problem to be discovered, the more failures probably exist in the chain. Honestly, I'd be more scared if only a couple things went wrong.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BuckaBooBob (635108)

      But Seriously... In the end it was a lack of BP's oversight to watch over everything to prevent this type of disaster.. This is probably the biggest thing that wrong with big business and politics.. There is no accountability anymore (If there ever was). This appears to be a PR Campaign to draw attention away from BP's faults.. In the end the only lesson that will be learned will be that a good PR campaign after a disaster can work wonders.

  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @01:20PM (#33510304)

    You know, the sex and other perks that bought off the regulators?

    Or the part where they pencilled in the report forms on behalf of the inspectors, who would then trace them over in pen?

    I can see how that would slip their minds.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sribe (304414)

      You know, the sex and other perks that bought off the regulators?

      You're confused. The sex and cocaine was in the Denver office and related to mining in the West ;-)

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by DriedClexler (814907)

        So when they talked about "offshore drilling rights", they meant the term literally? I thought that was just a euphemism for hookers on cruise ships!

  • Ohhhhhhhhh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sparckus (1158609) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @01:22PM (#33510332)
    Who lives in a pineapple under the sea

    SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS!

    Who died in an oil spill because of BP

    SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS!
  • Only upside for BP for going forward. All the partners have refused to take any responsibility and I think BP will only gain as more evidence points towards other than just at themeselves.
  • Rebuttles (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bill Dimm (463823) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @01:29PM (#33510406) Homepage

    No surprise, Transocean finds fault with the report [barrons.com], as does Halliburton [barrons.com].

  • by swschrad (312009) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @01:36PM (#33510510) Homepage Journal

    "But Ma, everybody did it."

    BP, you're still getting a spanking. you're supposed to set an example, not lead a gang.

    • There is something wrong with the the disciplinary ideology of "Ma" if everyone is at fault but only one gets spanked.
    • by Stevecrox (962208) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @01:49PM (#33510648) Journal
      I read the BBC article on the spill, they hardly said that. Halliburton apparently installed sub standard concrete which should have failed inspection but was somehow passed. Transocean/BP made a number of procedural failures and and a pressure test showed the problem days before it happened and was missed by drilling crew and BP.

      How does that translate to "everybody's doing it?".

      Considering it was a rig owned by BP, operated by Transocean and installed by Haliburton, with parts made by dozens of other companies it would be pretty impressive if the cause was purely BP's fault.

      I still think the US government lept on a bandwagon in order to install a US CEO, who amusingly was far more involved with the rig than the then CEO.
      • by Herkum01 (592704)

        While the cause was not directly BP's fault, they were looking the other way while the work got done. It is not like the stumbled into these problems, they ignored them and blamed others for their lack of involvement.

        Simple question, who would have been getting the oil and selling it if everything worked out? BP, so they should bare ultimate responsibility because they were going to be the ones who profited.

        • by Xest (935314)

          Even with that logic BP doesn't deserve all responsibility because they only held a 75% share in the well, a large portion of the remaining 25% of profits would've gone to Anadarko, a US company, amongst others, and yet they're trying to weasel out of it, and the US press and politicians are letting them.

          But there are other fundamental problems with your line of thought- sure the likes of Halliburton and Transocean don't profit directly from the oil itself, but they most certainly profit from the oil indire

  • It wasn't failure (Score:4, Insightful)

    by countertrolling (1585477) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @01:41PM (#33510556) Journal

    It's company policy to forgo safety for increased profits. History is full of this. They took a gamble and got beat by a pair of deuces. But they have accountants to take care of it all. The main issue hasn't changed, and we'll be speculating on the the next disaster soon enough.

    • by demachina (71715)

      And after they were beat by a pair of deuces they wrote a 100+ page report that tried to shift most of the blame on to Transocean and Halliburton. This report is mostly a white wash to be used in a decade's worth of law suits and was largely discredited the second it was released. It tries to shift much of the blame on Haliburton's cement plug though Haliburton has a pretty extensive email trail showning BP demanded they do it a certain way and they strenuously warned BP there was a high risk of a dangero

    • I'm speculating on BP right now. It's at around $38/share, went down as low as about $35. It WAS in the 60s under the current price of oil. If/when they get past this, it's a good stock play.
      • by loshwomp (468955)

        I'm speculating on BP right now. It's at around $38/share, went down as low as about $35.

        I think you meant to say BP hit a low of $26.75 in late June. That's a huge difference, whether you're speculating or not.

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      beat by a pair of deuces

      This says it all. But not against BP, against the process industry in general. There will be an industry defining event every 5-10 years with massive loss of life and or environmental damage. Some from companies which on the surface seemed quite fine and in control. It's just a matter of when.

  • Snore (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kenp2002 (545495) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:07PM (#33510914) Homepage Journal

    Until people go to jail for the deaths what point or purpose does any of this mean? Wealth clearly puts a person above the law and above manslaughter charges. It's that simple. Arguing the fingerpointing is wasted energy since, regardless of the fault, no one will be held accountable. The government will take a bribe in the form of a penalty\fine and all the PEOPLE who lead to the deaths will walk free. The only time the wealthy suffer consequences is when they harm other wealthy people.

    • by tibman (623933)

      I'm with you. But what if the rig crew were also at fault and helped cause the disaster (like the report indicates)? I'm asking.. What if they killed themselves?

  • by kimvette (919543) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @02:48PM (#33511634) Homepage Journal

    Who did what which led up to the leak is not the major issue in most people's minds, I think. Accidents can and will happen. This same type of accident will happen again sooner or later. Whether anyone involved was negligent in the construction or if it was unknown factors leading up to the explosion and leak is immaterial.

    What is upsetting about the issue is that the responsibility of the response (or lack thereof) falls into the laps of both BP and the Obama administration. Here is the list of problems I see:

    * The rig operator (BP?) is supposed to have rapid response plans and technology in place should an event occur
    * BP execs sat with their thumbs up their asses trying to save money by serializing plugging attempts, instead of readying the efforts in parallel so in the event that one attempt fails the next could be engaged within hours rather than weeks
    * BP was allowed to use dispersants which take 50,000 years to break down, just to minimize the appearance of the leak. BP took advantage and released tens of thousands more gallons per day than allowed, and refused to cut back even after the EPA told them to cut back. If they had not used dispersants, the oil would have been more likely to form tarballs sooner, and bacteria/fungus that feeds on hyrocarbon compounds would have started to break it down more quickly. They ought to have let nature take its course rather than allow it to disperse and spread much faster. Now the fish in that region are going to be contaminated and who the hell knows what that will do to offspring - and children who eat that fish.
    * They fought against press coverage tooth and nail, even though photographic and video footage would help to ascertain the extent of the damage and assist in planning the next response action
    * the United States government turned it into a total clusterfuck by refusing help from the Netherlands (who have extensive experience responding rapidly to this sort of thing), refused to proactively clean the spill before it reached shore, and actively blocked the state of Louisiana from taking action. They also did much to shield BP and Haliburton by enforcing no-fly zones and restricting access by boats and to contaminated shoreline

    Now, people love to slam Bush for not letting the fed jump in when Katrina hit - what they refuse to accept is that Federal law prohibits the federal government from interfering in such cases unless assistance is first requested and a state of emergency is declared, or the local government becomes incapacitated. Where Louisiana (New Orleans in particular) refused assistance, the Bush administration could hardly be blamed for not interfering. Eventually commons sense overruled the red tape and the feds stepped in even as the mayor and governor insisting they could handle it (uh, right. They blew it.). And yet, Bush is slammed for "hating black people" even though he was paralyzed by federal law and could not legally act even though the fed was mobilized to do so.

    The Obama administration had jurisdiction to handle anything offshore and could have taken many steps to protect the shoreline: accept help from European nations, immediately order BP to commission more ships, at BP cost, to deploy booms and to hire skimmers, and to allow the Louisiana government to act since they were prepared to mobilize to protect their own interests. They failed at every turn and it was not a case of nonfeasance, or failing to act as the law requires, but malfeasance. The Fed went out of its way to slow down response, seemingly to protect BP and Haliburton, which greatly increased contamination. The Obama administration actively blocked action at every turn, and yet is praised for how it handled/is handling the situation? Had we accepted help from European nations, and had we allowed Louisiana to act locally, much of the shallow water marine life would have been spared this contamination.

    I don't take issue with the accident, although if it is due to negligence I believe

  • of a big hand point blame to someone else.

    Personally I am waiting for Halibuton and Transocean's reports to see how many pages they can draw point fingers on.

    Whichever one is longest wins.

  • Suppose you need some lumber cut on a construction project. If you hire "Lefty" as the sawman because he's slightly cheaper, stand behind him yelling faster, faster the whole time and "suggest" that sawmen who remain employed by you remove the guards to make things move faster, whose fault is it when there's an accident on the site?

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