Chelsea Green Publishing

The Blogging Community at Chelsea Green

Good for Rachel…She’s Staying After the Deepwater Horizon BOP Story

Tonight, Rachel Maddow stayed after the story in which I played a small part last night…that subsea blowout preventers (BOPs) cannot reliably contain deepwater blowouts.  Apparently, the Department of Interior is unhappy with her coverage of this story, but I believe she is correct in shining a bright light on this issue.  Currently, the US government is issuing deepwater drilling permits to operators that contract with drilling rigs that are using the very same BOPs that failed on BP’s Macondo wel, with no fundamental change to deepwter drilling procedures or equipment.  The only changes to regulatory requirements that have been made are training and inspection certifications…for devices that are now proven to be inadequate for containing a blowout.  No fundamental redesign has been directed or even contemplated by the government. As my regular readers know, for months, I have been calling for a fundamental redesign of these well control devices to lower the risk of deepwater blowouts that are virtually impossible to control once hydrocarbons enter the wellbore.  Rachel is laser focused on this issue, and for good reason.  In its report, Det Norske Veritas (DNV), the Norweigan risk management company hired by Interior to study the Deepwater Horizon BOP, reached the conclusion that redesign of subsea BOPs must occur and that a number of questions about their reliability must be answered;  the firm documented numerous issues about the Horizon BOP and called for industry review and redesign to make subsea BOPs safe.  Interior is apparently ignoring these recomendations and issuing permits to resume drilling with the same equipment.  Here’s Rachel’s segment on this issue broadcast tonight: Video link Read the original post on The Daily Hurricane.
disasteronthehorizon Bob Cavnar is the author of Disaster on the Horizon.

Bob Cavnar is a 30-year veteran of the oil and gas industry with deep experience in operations, start-ups, turn-arounds, and management of both public and private companies. He was most recently President and Chief Executive Officer of Milagro Exploration, a large, privately held oil and gas exploration firm based in Houston, Texas with operations along the Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi Gulf Coasts, and offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Cavnar holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Southern Methodist University and completed the Program for Management Development at the Harvard Business School. He blogs at

What’s Changed About Deepwater Drilling Since Macondo? Not a Lot.

April 20th at 9:50 pm central time marked the exact time that BP’s deepwater well named Macondo blew out, killing eleven workers, destroying Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon, and putting 5 million barrels of oil into the water 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.  Most of the world has moved on since then, […] Read More..

Arrest of BP Engineer Exposes the Smoking Gun?

Today, the Justice Department arrested a former BP engineer on two counts of obstruction of justice for allegedly destroying hundreds of text messages that included details of flow rate calculations of their blown out Macondo well in the days immediately following the Gulf disaster on April 20, 2010, just over two years ago. The engineer, […] Read More..

The Fight for Equality from MLK to Occupy Wall Street

When it comes to tangibly honoring great Americans, Washington tends to drag its collective feet, usually decades, before making room along the Mall for a tribute. The notable exception is the Viet Nam war memorial that was completed a mere 7 years after the war ended; the impetus to build it so quickly was the […] Read More..

Preliminary Deepwater Horizon Report Rips Transocean, Marshall Islands

(April 23rd) Late yesterday, the Deepwater Horizon Joint Investigation board issued a preliminary report of its findings related to causes of the Macondo well disaster that come under the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard.  This report focused only on the vessel, its condition, and the actions of the crew that caused the explosions and loss […] Read More..

Transocean Execs Shamed into Donating Safety Bonuses, Keep the Rest

You’ve probably heard by now that Transocean announced last week that 2010 was its “best year for safety performance” based on incident rate statistics even though their offshore rig, the Deepwater Horizon, burned down and sank during the largest blowout and oilspill in the history of the US. Eleven workers were killed in the disaster, […] Read More..