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Earth Software Science

Modeling Software Showed BP Cement As Unstable 160

Posted by Soulskill
from the many-points-of-failure dept.
DMandPenfold writes "Advanced modeling software analyzed the cementing conditions for BP's Deepwater Horizon oil well as unstable, days before the blast that killed 11 oil rig workers and let millions of barrels of oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico. Halliburton, the company that carried out the cement job, used its own modeling software called OptiCem, to support arguments that more stability was needed for the piping and cement. ... An OptiCem test on 15 April, five days before the blast, stipulated that from Halliburton’s point of view, 21 ‘centralizers’ needed to be added to the well bore. The centralizers are used to provide space around the oil pipe casing within the well, as cement is poured around it, and are a vital part of safe drilling. BP initially adhered to the OptiCem software test and ordered 15 extra centralizers. But when technicians on the rig received the extra centralizers they mistakenly decided the new centralizers were the incorrect type. At this point BP proceeded with the drilling anyway, with the six centralizers, deciding another known technique of injecting cement in other places would work."
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Modeling Software Showed BP Cement As Unstable

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  • BP (Score:2, Funny)

    by bucklesl (73547)
    Long live Cthulhu.
    • Re:BP (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 12, 2010 @09:11AM (#34206150)

      Actually I do believe

      "Thank you Captain Hindsight", is more appropriate of a comment here.

      • Considering the analysis took place before the drilling, it seems to me Captain Foresight would be more appropriate. Too bad BP decided his advice was too much bother.

        Also, South Park's creators are being obtuse in their criticism of BP's critics. Hindsight is what allows us to learn from our mistakes. If Matt and Trey's naive political philosophy gets in the way of recognizing that, it's not really the critics' problem.

    • by Haedrian (1676506)
      "We're sorry :( "
  • by revscat (35618)
    So what? BP has massive amounts of money, as well as political connections out the ass. Nothing is going to happen to them, even if half of the Gulf Coast population winds up with cancer. Complain away, Slashdot. If it makes you feel better to post on the intertubes, excellent. Meanwhile, nothing gets done.
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday November 12, 2010 @09:17AM (#34206198) Journal
      What I don't understand, with these "Corporation that doesn't give a fuck and has more politicians in its pocket than you ever will fucks over some more luckless saps" stories is why there isn't more extralegal violence associated with them.

      Obviously, subjecting large corporations to serious penalties under law would be unamerican, and we generally avoid it; but America is crawling with angry and well armed people, many without too much to lose, and spree-killing is something we start practicing in high school.

      Why isn't there an enraged ex-fisherman with an AR-15 lurking outside the window of every BP C-level whose name is publicly known? People get killed all the time over petty shit, why not the big stuff?
      • by bsDaemon (87307)

        People feel powerless over big stuff and don't think that their lone action will have any effect. There are likely more consequences associated with such an action than rewards, and even fishermen can figure that one out.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          Given the number of stories where people either come to work and shoot up the place after being laid off, or even murder-suicide their own families and then themselves due to economic stresses, I'm not at all sure that it is rationality saving them.

          Obviously, the rational thing is to fatalistically suck it up and try to move on, and I'd fully expect most people to do so; but an irrationality incidence of less than 1 in 1000 adds up to more than a few very dangerious people on a population level...
          • by pla (258480) on Friday November 12, 2010 @09:35AM (#34206338) Journal
            Obviously, the rational thing is to fatalistically suck it up and try to move on

            That depends.

            Sometimes, the most rational course of action requires doing what little you can to send a simple, clear, and potentially bloody message of "don't do this again". In particular, when you have almost nothing left to lose, and those who destroyed you have almost no risk of seeing any meaningful penalties.

            A handful of BP execs dead at the hands of the fishermen they ruined would do a whole heap more to prevent another such catastrophe, than any monetary penalties ever could. "Companies" behave like complete sociopaths, abusing both convention and law to maximize profits; the humans running companies, however, can experience real fear.
            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by fat4eyes (1233086)
              The problem with threatening people with death for their crimes is that they compensate by making sure that their crimes are big enough to warrant the risk of losing their life. Killing some executive does not kill the company and its drive for profit, and the one that replaces him will just commit a bigger crime that is worth the risk of being killed. And since corporations will always be driven by profit, the only real way to prevent such negligence from happening again is to make it such that such neglig
              • So what you're saying is: If you're going to commit a crime, commit the biggest crime you can, because the bigger the crime, the better it pays, and therefore, is worth the risk to your life/freedom.

                That explains Bernie Madoff then. I would suggest then, that we ALL run Ponzi Schemes and get rich, go to jail for 150 years, but at least our families will be set for a few generations.

                Your argument basically states that crime is OK if the crime is for $billions, but the mugger on the street who robs you of $60

                • He's just saying that a death penalty forces people who are going to commit crimes to shoot for grander crimes to keep a favorable risk/reward ratio. People don't expect to be caught, but they are aware they might be caught and want to make sure that the potential benefit of their crime outweighs the potential risk.

                  Plus when you get into organizations that commit crime, you have to remember that the individuals that are responsible for the decision making will not suffer the full brunt of the punishment.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Shotgun (30919)

                Even worse is that when "that dirty fisherman" does cap Tony, the next C-level will put up higher walls and add security and then feel smug in dumping in the backyards of the "dirty proles", because they are stupid and violent.

                These guys don't fear death. They've got plenty of security to handle us. What they fear is poverty and the resulting public humiliation.

            • the humans running companies, however, can experience real fear.

              I think this approach would make things much worse instead of better. In the risk/reward analysis, the lavish lifestyle that the executive gets for his behavior already rivals the value of his own life. Coercion works better against poor people, who might not risk their own lives for $200. But for $200,000,000, the rich person will just use some of that money to add walls, security cameras, and hire body guards. And this reaction is damaging, because the poorer people then have to live in a more securit

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by camperdave (969942)
              Wait a minute. Why is BP getting blamed for all this? Sure, they operated the well, but it was all rental equipment. Why Transocean or Hyundai getting any heat? Three quarters of the incidents on oil drilling platforms are on Transocean owned platforms, even though less than half the rigs being operated are from Transocean. Oh, and guess who manufactured the blow-out preventer on the Deep-Horizon Oil Spill. You guessed it: Transocean.
              • by tehcyder (746570)

                Wait a minute. Why is BP getting blamed for all this? Sure, they operated the well, but it was all rental equipment. Why Transocean or Hyundai getting any heat? Three quarters of the incidents on oil drilling platforms are on Transocean owned platforms, even though less than half the rigs being operated are from Transocean. Oh, and guess who manufactured the blow-out preventer on the Deep-Horizon Oil Spill. You guessed it: Transocean.

                BP are evil Europeans (and therefore probably socialists), Transocean is a good old US corporation.

                Simples.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by fat4eyes (1233086)
                The same reason why you get charged for manslaughter if you run over someone with a rented car: you were driving.
                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by camperdave (969942)
                  Maybe, but who gets charged if the wheel falls off and kills somebody? At some point the makers of shoddy equipment need to be called to task.
          • by icebraining (1313345) on Friday November 12, 2010 @09:35AM (#34206342) Homepage

            Usually those shootings are not premeditated - the guy just picks up his gun, drives back to work/home and starts shooting.

            Killing some executives requires a plan. Finding their addresses, driving hundreds of miles, etc; Plenty of time to lose the "heat of the moment" and realize the consequences of such actions.

            Also, having a company and not a person to be raged at makes it harder. They don't have such strong feelings against the particular people, they might not even know who they are.

            • by eth1 (94901)

              Killing some executives requires a plan. Finding their addresses, driving hundreds of miles, etc; Plenty of time to lose the "heat of the moment" and realize the consequences of such actions.

              I'd not expect to see such a thing from people merely ruined financially; however, if, as one of the OPs suggested, you have a bunch of people basically already sentenced to death from cancer caused by this, it would be a *completely* different story.

              Divorce your spouse (if any), and make sure they and the kids end up with all the assets. Then you have a few months for your crusade before you die anyway. Heck, getting killed by the cops during your rampage might even save you from a slow, painful death from

          • by bsDaemon (87307)

            Being laid off is a small thing, compared to region-wide ecological and economic disaster. A school or workplace incident would feel more approachable, I suspect: the perpetrator is familiar with the the target, the victims, etc. It's not storming a tower the size of a city block and rooting around for strangers in an unfamiliar setting while the SWAT team assembles outside preparing to take you out.

            Of course, if you get a sufficiently sized group of co-nuts, then all of a sudden you have momentum and the

      • He'll get around to it right after "Are you smarter than a 5th grader" is on and he watches the latest "American Idol" with his wife.

      • It's because the government and corporations are responsible for a vast majority of extralegal violence cases. They use them to exterminate their opponents, and at the same time, securing a platform to get votes. The sheep go gaga over these "tragedies", and will pretty much vote however the pollies tell them.

        BTW, if it's not clear by now that I'm joking, then there is either something very, very wrong with people in general, or just something very, very wrong with you.

      • by bonch (38532)

        Perhaps society is more civilized than you give it credit for. If anyone is most likely to practice violence against BP, it's environmental extremists, not angry ex-fishermen.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        Why isn't there an enraged ex-fisherman with an AR-15 lurking outside the window of every BP C-level whose name is publicly known? People get killed all the time over petty shit, why not the big stuff?

        Maybe because they rate murder more of a sin than losing their fucking job?

      • by tekrat (242117) on Friday November 12, 2010 @11:48AM (#34207842) Homepage Journal

        Yeah, I can't figure it out. People on the street shoot each other over liquor store robberies for a $100, but when your livelihood is affected to the tune of tens of thousands, people sit in their sofas watching American Idol.

        Never mind some fisherman picking off BP execs, I'm shocked no one has been picking off mortgage brokers, bankers, and other high-ups that handed us the Great Depression, that will essentially, last for the remainer of our lives (all indicators point to things getting worse, not better, unless you're already in the top 1%).

        Even more amsuing is that that south is filled with gun-nuts, you'd think that at least one of them would get riled up enough to do something. Amazing that they'll shoot at each other about a scratch on the pickup truck, but when it comes down to REAL things, they act like they have no power.

        Maybe there's something to those chemtrails after all, as the populace is handing the country over to a few elite, with no fight whatsoever. John Carpenter's "They Live" is starting to look like a documentary. Where's the Hoffman lenses when you need them?

      • Obviously, subjecting large corporations to serious penalties under law would be unamerican, and we generally avoid it; but America is crawling with angry and well armed people, many without too much to lose, and spree-killing is something we start practicing in high school.

        BP could face as much as $17.6 billion in civil penalties, based on a federal panel of experts' estimate on Aug. 2 that about 4.1 million barrels of oil leaked from its well into the Gulf. BP: Now Come the Fines [businessweek.com]

        BP paid the two largest fines in OSHA history – $87.43 million and $21.36 million – for willful negligence that led to the deaths of 15 workers and injured 170 others in a March 2005 refinery explosion in Texas.
        o In September 2005, OSHA cited BP for 296 “Egregious Willful Vi

        • They don't seem to care about fines

          And why would they care about those miniscule fines? $730 MM in fines is only two weeks' profit for them.

          Fine them multiple years' worth of profit, hell, even multiple *quarters* of profit, and then they'll care.

          Make the fines the single largest line-item expense on their financial reporting, and they'll care.

    • by khallow (566160)

      So what? BP has massive amounts of money, as well as political connections out the ass. Nothing is going to happen to them, even if half of the Gulf Coast population winds up with cancer. Complain away, Slashdot. If it makes you feel better to post on the intertubes, excellent. Meanwhile, nothing gets done.

      The obvious solution is to publicly angst over our powerlessness. Meanwhile, nothing gets done.

    • by thijsh (910751) on Friday November 12, 2010 @09:37AM (#34206372) Journal

      So what? BP has massive amounts of money, as well as political connections out the ass.

      Something did get done. Look at the graph of BP stock [google.com]. Zoom to 1 year and notice the huge dip following april 20th. They (and their stockholders) did lose money over this...
      Beside that they also (temporarily) lost political connections, to them it's all fine when it's deals in the dark, but when the spotlight is on BP no politician wants to support them.

      So their irresponsibilty caused them to lose some of the two powers they care about, money and connections. It will make them think twice before fucking up on this scale ever again, they may not care about the environment or the fishermen, but they care about losing money and connections.

      • by kent_eh (543303)

        So their irresponsibilty caused them to lose some of the two powers they care about, money and connections. It will make them think twice before fucking up on this scale ever again, they may not care about the environment or the fishermen, but they care about losing money and connections.

        Maybe, but I doubt it'll make a significant long term change.
        Also, do you really think that BP's example will have any significant impact on the way other companies operate (except, maybe, to take measures to insulate themselves from repercussions)?

        • except, maybe, to take measures to insulate themselves from repercussions

          Thing is, how do you insulate yourself from these sorts of repercussions? In the case of an oil company, it's that you do pretty much whatever is necessary to prevent a well blowout like this from happening again.

          Why? It's bad publicity, it costs money to clean up, you're not making money from the oil from that well, etc...

          The cost of having to deal with even a rare blowout, compared to the cost of safety equipment, is such that it's nearly always better to spend the money on the safety equipment, studies

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        In this day and age, it wouldn't really matter.

        Let's say BP fucks up another oil well. Here's what happens.

        1) BP does a cleanup operation as best they can while their stock takes a nosedive.

        2a) Things get so bad that they file for bankruptcy protection.

        2b) They manage to get through things financially without much of an issue.

        3) BP is rebranded under an entirely different name.

        4) As the logo and name will be carefully designed to be nothing like BP, most people will not recognize BP 2.0 for what it is. Almo

        • by thijsh (910751)
          You forgot: 2c) Shareholders sue BP management for mismanagement that caused them to lose billions, management gets jailtime. One of the few useful perks of capitalism (although it can be argued also one of the most dangerous)...
          • 2c) Shareholders sue BP management for mismanagement that caused them to lose billions, management gets jailtime.

            Management wouldn't get jailtime from a civil suit.

      • by frisket (149522)

        Zoom to 1 year and notice the huge dip following april 20th. They (and their stockholders) did lose money over this...

        Nonsense. You only lose money when you sell the stock. If you simply hang onto it until the price goes back up, you've lost nothing. You may lose some paper value for the duration, but that isn't the same thing as hard cash,

        • You may lose some paper value for the duration

          And if you've got a smart enough accountant, you can probably use that 'loss' to offset tax somewhere...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 12, 2010 @09:58AM (#34206578)

      It'd be a start if the blame was even being spread fairly. This US obsession with blaming BP entirely largely started by Obama as he needed to deflect political attention away from his own incompetence, but BP was only one of a few companies who deserve blame. BP was certainly the majority stakeholder, but whilst BP has from the start accepted it's fair share of the blame - it never once said it'd pay anything less than the full costs of cleanup and compensation. You can't even claim that BP were the ones raking the profits from the well and hence the ones that deserve to pay because other companies including the US oil company Anadarko, and Japanese company Mitsui also had a share in the well but to date have dodged all responsibility, and then there's the fact that companies like Transocean and Halliburton still profited from the well by being contracted to play the part they did in the first place.

      I'm amazed that so little criticism is being pushed towards Halliburton, when it seems they were in fact guilty of at least some degree of negligence - even the US panel investigating the spill is beginning to accept that now-

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11648354 [bbc.co.uk]

      It's incredible that Americans seem to feel the need for a foreign bogeyman in incidents like this, that despite Halliburton's record in it's dealings regarding the Iraq war all blame is deflected away from it, and companies like Anadarko, Mitsui, and Transocean.

      Sure BP fucked up, sure they were getting the biggest slice of profits, but at least they're the one company out of all those involved who has from the start been willing to pay for the fuckup, even though it seems pretty now that BP might actually have been the company that least screwed up compared to it's partner Transocean, and compared ot Halliburton:

      http://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/u-s-spill-panel-examines-causes-of-bp-oil-spill-reuters_molt-7a2344c54e1b.html;_ylt=Atte73PsYsywCFWErVA85UrBXGwF;_ylu=X3oDMTE2MTRia2tlBHBvcwMxMgRzZWMDdG9wc3RvcmllcwRzbGsDdXNzcGlsbHBhbmVs?x=0 [yahoo.com]

      It's sad that the one company that takes responsibility and offers to pay full costs from the outset gets demonised, whilst those others who are responsible keep getting given a free ride by the press and public and are still to this day refusing to accept blame, or pay their share of the costs despite the mounting evidence that they were in fact more responsible for fucking up than BP themselves.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cusco (717999)
        The Press Corps(e) wants to dumb down the news as much as possible, they can't include too many bad guys in the story without confusing the sheeple. Not many people have heard of Transocean or Mitsui (even I had never heard of Anadarko), and most only associate Haliburton with the Iraq fiasco. Everyone knows that BP is an oil company, the disaster is on an oil platform, so BP is the designated villain for this story. Sad but true.
      • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Friday November 12, 2010 @12:43PM (#34208556)
        It has nothing to do with BP being foreign. I suspect that most Americans think BP is an American company (I know at least one slashdotter wanted Congress to confiscate all of BP's assets). BP gets all of the blame because it serves the interests of several groups (much of the press, some politicians. etc) to have a single"villain".
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by The Dodger (10689)

      > So what? BP has massive amounts of money...

      Actually, that's not as true as you think. They have a lot of assets but they don't have a lot of money. In fact, back in June, there was a serious risk that BP would find itself in financial trouble because it's short-term liquidity sources (i.e. the money markets) had dried up as lenders became increasingly concerned with the lunatic rhetoric being spouted by Obama and his cronies. The markets began to suspect that the administration might actually be stupid

    • by rtb61 (674572)

      That used to be true in the old world mass media space, where bas stories where killed off but is is no longer true on the internet. The longer the story is kept alive, the more people you can engage, the more harm it does to those corporations.

      So in this case every effort must be made to keep the story going, to keep hounding BP and it's political supporters, to keep pushing for fairness and where required changes to the law. To keep discussion going on and on and on for years, to keep picking away at t

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "Nothing is going to happen to them, even if half of the Gulf Coast population winds up with cancer."

      There is no hope for peaceful change, yet the public are too comfortable to put the fear of death into corporate leadership (who might lie awake at night if they had to worry about someone they defrauded or poisoned going kamikaze on them) so expect more of the same forever.

  • by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Friday November 12, 2010 @09:11AM (#34206152) Homepage Journal

    "Sherlock, we could find a place to put the blame if only we knew what kind of rock they were drilling through."
    "Sedimentary, my dear Watson, sedimentary."

  • Translation:
    "We have concrete evidence that bp not only dropped the ball, but insisted on risking screwing themselves over. However we're not going to say it was their fault, as they're a big oil company that pays us alot of money."
    so much for biting the hand that feeds you.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by The Dodger (10689)

      Oh, shut up! It's obvious to anyone with an IQ above single digits that the constant sniping at BP is nothing but a xenophobic witch-hunt, fomented by a faltering White House to distract attention from their own failings. The Oil Spill Commission has already found that BP did not sacrifice safety in favour of profits so give us all a fucking break!

      Why don't you direct some of your ire at the federal investigators who haven't yet started an examination of the blowout preventer (made by a US firm, by the way)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Adrian Lopez (2615)

        "Oh, shut up! It's obvious to anyone with an IQ above single digits that the constant sniping at BP is nothing but a xenophobic witch-hunt, fomented by a faltering White House to distract attention from their own failings."

        I thought you were kidding, but reading your other posts makes it clear you were being serious. I guess it's not just religious fundamentalists whose thoughts are indistinguishable from parody.

  • Come on people. Give Halliburton some props here.

    • Oh forget that. Halliburton is evil, therefore even when they do their jobs properly and attempt to prevent a massive ecological disaster though technology and expertise, they're doing it out of evil motives!

      I'm sure Dick Cheney was on the rig tossing the centralizers over the side!

  • by davidwr (791652) on Friday November 12, 2010 @09:35AM (#34206348) Homepage Journal

    The issue isn't "omg they ignored the modeling - those bastards!"

    The issues are:

    1) Was their mistaken belief that the stabilizers were the wrong size reasonable under the circumstances, was it due to an understandable human error, or was it due to gross incompetence?

    2) Was the backup plan based on sound engineering and sound industry practices, or was it a "we think this will be okay, let's cross our fingers and drill?"

    If the mistake on the stabilizers was reasonable under the circumstances and the backup plan was based on sound engineering and sound industry practices, I don't see any blame as it relates to this particular decision.

    On the other hand, if either decision was based on incompetence, then it's easy to pin blame. If the mistake was based on something less than incompetence - say, a competent person demonstrating the reality that good human beings occasionally make mistakes and making a bad or careless decision at what would turn out to be the worst possible time - then there is blame but the punishment for that person should not be as severe as that of incompetence.

    • by Combatso (1793216)
      i agree... but replace all "incompetence" with "negligence"... the difference being "i didnt know" vs "i didnt care"
    • by frisket (149522)

      1) Was their mistaken belief that the stabilizers were the wrong size reasonable under the circumstances, was it due to an understandable human error, or was it due to gross incompetence?

      This is the outstanding unanswered question. Does anyone have any information?

    • by The Dodger (10689)

      You're missing a fundamental question: When the Halliburton team was asked to go ahead and do the cement job with only six centralizers, did they (a) believe that it was unsafe to do so and (b) tell anyone that they believed it was unsafe?

      Their testimony to the Marine Board of Investigation hearings indicates that the answer to both those questions was "No.".

      This is all a big Halliburton smokescreen. If you go back through the various statements they've put out since they finally stopped stonewalling back o

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      So if they tried their best it was ok?

      Wow, that is setting the bar pretty low. Why in the world are they even allowed to drill with out being able to prove they can control this kind of well when, not if, something like this happens?

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday November 12, 2010 @09:37AM (#34206368) Homepage

    For what, you ask? Negligent homicide. Because somebody decided to drill in a situation they knew to be unsafe, putting the lives of everyone on the rig, including those with no choice in the matter, at risk for the sake of profits. A few criminal prosecutions would change that culture quickly, otherwise it's just a cost of doing business.

  • From the article:
    The report said there was “no evidence” to suggest BP had put cost before safety.

    And then:
    Commission co-chair William Riley noted “what appeared to be a rush to completion” at the drilling site. He added that “one must ask where the drive came from that made people determine they couldn’t wait for sound cement, or the right centralisers”.
    Is this guy stupid? That's the norm!. Ever heard of "time is money"?

    “In the inhuman system of capital, ever

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by The Dodger (10689)

      How about we go right back to the source of the problem and track down the bastard who issued the licence to drill in such deep water to begin with? Surely it's obvious to even the most dim-witted American politician that drilling in 5,000 feet of water is going to entail some risks?

      • by MRe_nl (306212)

        I don't think the source of the problem is any one individual, but the system in which these individuals operate.

        "Surely it's obvious to even the most dim-witted American politician that drilling in 5,000 feet of water is going to entail some risks"?

        If the experts say "risky but doable",
        and it concerns a potentially very profitable project, it usually seems to get approved.

    • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

      I think the cost issue is related more to the well design rather than the final rush to completion. There was a lot of discussion about liner/tie-back vs long string early on. Liner/tie-back is a slower process.

      Clearly they were on a schedule and trying to make the schedule. It isn't so clear if they made negligent decisions in order to maintain the schedule.

    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      That's because Commission co-chair William Riley has a name to make for himself. It's funny that he contradicts the commission a day after the official report comes out, is it not?

  • by The Dodger (10689) on Friday November 12, 2010 @09:48AM (#34206466) Homepage

    ..BP didn't do the cementing. Halliburton did. So, if Halliburton's model showed that more centralizers were required but they decided to go ahead with the cementing anyway, seems to me that they were negligent.

    It's like a builder telling the developer "We should use beams and girders in this wall to make it stronger" and the developer saying "Hmmm. We haven't got any steel beams to hand. Can you use reinforced concrete instead and maybe make the wall thicker?". If the builder says "Yeah, sure!" and goes ahead, he can't blame the developer if the wall later collapses.

    I sense desperate attempts at ass-covering on Halliburton's part. Probably worried about all their lucrative no-competition Pentagon contracts.

    • by stdarg (456557) on Friday November 12, 2010 @10:03AM (#34206614)

      Halliburton did the cementing, then said hey it's wrong, then BP proceeded with drilling anyway, rather than redoing the cement. Halliburton didn't do the drilling so I don't see how you can blame them.

      According to the Oil Spill Commission’s findings this week, Brian Morel, drilling engineer at BP, wrote an email to Brett Cocales, another BP engineer, as the drilling proceeded, saying: “Who cares, it’s done, end of story, we’ll probably be fine”.
      [...]
      At a hearing in July, BP’s well team leader, John Guide, explained the decision not to go with the software’s recommendations. “The model is – first of all, it’s not accurate all the time. ...I put very, very little faith in the model because it’s wrong a lot.”

      BP still drilled with “no direct indicators of cement success” and no cement evaluation log, the Oil Spill commission said. The company conducted a separate negative pressure test, an oil engineering test designed to show whether the casing and cement would hold against significant pressure, and isolate potentially dangerous hydrocarbons.

      The test was failed, but was – for an unexplained reason – deemed a “complete success” by both BP and rig owner Transocean at the time, a presentation on Monday said.

      That's pretty blatant. Halliburton warned them, BP did their own separate test, which failed. Then they're like, oh well let's do it anyway! And you find a way to blame Halliburton in that?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by The Dodger (10689)

        Let's take a look at the original Oil Spill commission letter reporting back to the commissioners on the findings relating to the Halliburton cement, shall we?

        "The documents provided to us by Halliburton show, among other things, that its personnel conducted at least four foam stability tests relevant to the Macondo cement slurry. The first two tests were conducted in February 2010 using different well design parameters and a slightly different slurry recipe than was finally used. Both tests indicated that

      • Wait, those are actual quotes? "Who cares, it's done" "We'll probably be fine" "it's wrong a lot"

        These are the engineering geniuses we have doing the most complicated oil drilling possible? WTF! Last I checked "probably be fine" and "wrong a lot" don't count for sound scientific basis.

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday November 12, 2010 @10:33AM (#34206892) Homepage

      Here's what I actually suspect: BP and Halliburton were both responsible to some degree. Because of that, the companies will insist on separate trials if it ever gets to court, and the defense in each of the two trials will be "the other guy did it". That way, neither of them has to actually take responsibility for their actions.

      • by The Dodger (10689) on Friday November 12, 2010 @11:14AM (#34207392) Homepage

        One significant difference between the two is that BP has accepted it's responsibility and has voluntarily waived the $75m statutory limit on monetary damages (contained in the Oil Pollution Act of 1990), instead establishing a $20bn compensation fund. And that's on top of the clean-up costs.

        Meanwhile, Halliburton and Conway are keeping their heads down, desperately hoping that no one notices that it was their cement and blowout preventer that failed to, y'know, prevent the blowout from happening in the first place.

        Note that there's a difference between responsibility and blame. BP are responsible for cleaning up the spill, because they are the operator of the lease. That doesn't necessarily mean that they are to blame for what happened (although I broadly agree that the blame is probably shared between several of the parties involved).

        • by dkleinsc (563838)

          One significant difference between the two is that BP has accepted it's responsibility and has voluntarily waived the $75m statutory limit on monetary damages (contained in the Oil Pollution Act of 1990), instead establishing a $20bn compensation fund. And that's on top of the clean-up costs.

          On the flip side, that could be an indication that BP thought at the time that the actual damages would end up being way higher than $20bn. For corporations, the bottom line is the bottom line, and they aren't going to spend that kind of money without a reason why that spending will either mitigate risk, reduce costs, or increase profits.

          • Wait, what am I missing here...

            ...voluntarily waived the $75m statutory limit on monetary damages (contained in the Oil Pollution Act of 1990)...

            Is there some other kind of damages they might've had? Becasue $20bn is way higher than $75m.

            • by dkleinsc (563838)

              I'm not entirely sure, although my best guess is nations other than the US that were affected by the spill.

              My point is that BP is not an altruistic organization, and is required by law to do what's in the best interests of their shareholders, so they have a financial reason for doing what they're doing. It may not be a short-term financial reason, but it's there nonetheless.

            • by h4rr4r (612664)

              Yeah, that 75M limit is only if no criminal liability is found. By offering 20B they made sure their C level execs would not be guests of the state.

      • by Firethorn (177587)

        Not just that, they'll point out every little spot where employees failed to follow policy in anything related to the incident - some listed such as NOT using the engineered solution. That smacks of 'middle management looking to meet it's goals' to me. They'll hang the local boss out to dry, insulating the top executives who were going to go with the 'properly engineered solution' over the alternative the local team decided to use instead when they thought the delivered parts were incorrect.

    • by bonch (38532)

      Halliburton told BP that the cementing was wrong, but BP ignored them and drilled anyway. Halliburton actually tried to do the right thing here and was ignored.

      • by The Dodger (10689)

        Wrong. The people Halliburton had doing the cement job have already told the Marine Board of Investigation hearings that "they did not deem the cement job on the well to be unsafe even with the use of six centralizers -- nor did they believe there was a risk of a well blowout."

        However, if you're willing to swallow Halliburton's story, I have $50m in a Nigerian bank account that I'd like to talk to you about...

  • What hasn't come to light is Halliburton's role in all of this. They're not exactly the most trustworthy company in the world and it's strange that this has come out now. As far as I know BP had outsourced all of their drilling which is probably how this stupid state of affairs came about.
  • I find this concept of a situation in which listening to Halliburton would have protected the environment and made life better highly uncomfortable.

    Are we absolutely sure the ink is dry on these recommendations they supposedly made?

    Pug

  • So the technicians on the rig made a decision they weren't qualified to make, and the PHBs were happy to let them. Agile drilling?

  • So what? The bottom line is that the well didn't leak primarily due to cement failure or use of too few centralizers. There is post cement pressure testing and other redundancies involved too. Cement failure is a quite common occurrence; nobody in their right mind would just dump a load of cement in the hole and walk away without following up to make sure the cement job was good.

    Halliburton will probably get stung a bit because of the legal system we have, but in reality they aren't the problem here.

    The rea

There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it reluctantly. -- Publius Terentius Afer (Terence)

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