Second, in a compressed timeframe, BP was able to design, build, and use new containment technologies, while the federal government was able to develop effective oversight capacity. Those impressive efforts, however, were made necessary by the failure to anticipate a subsea blowout in the first place."

" />
Building a world of
resilient communities.

MAIN LIST

 

Review of National Commission Working Paper #6, "Stopping the Macondo spill"

A draft of Staff Working Paper #6 by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling was released a few days ago. The document is titled, Stopping the Spill: The Five-Month Effort To Kill the Macondo Well (39 pgs).

The study begins with the following disclaimer:

Staff Working Papers are written by the staff of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling for the use of members of the Commission. They are preliminary, subject to change, and do not necessarily reflect the views either of the Commission as a whole or of any of its members. In addition, they may be based in part on confidential interviews with government and non-government personnel.

The Working Paper provides a concise, clear chronology of the various efforts which were taken (and not taken) to kill the Macondo well. More importantly, it affords an intriguing view of the inner workings of the teams of analysts who eventually came together to make critical decisions. Furthermore, the Paper is direct in its conclusions and recommendations.

The National Commission authors waste no time in highlighting their conclusions:

The containment story thus contains two parallel threads. First, on April 20, the oil and gas industry was unprepared to respond to a deepwater blowout, and the federal government was similarly unprepared to provide meaningful supervision. Second, in a compressed timeframe, BP was able to design, build, and use new containment technologies, while the federal government was able to develop effective oversight capacity. Those impressive efforts, however, were made necessary by the failure to anticipate a subsea blowout in the first place. Both industry and government must build on knowledge acquired during the Deepwater Horizon spill to ensure that such a failure of planning does not recur
(p. 1).

One of the more significant episodes described in the Paper occurred on the night of May 28th when the government team asserted itself:

Immediately following the top kill, BP teams in Houston met throughout the night of May 28 to assess the operation.151 Some meetings occurred behind closed doors, without government participation. At one point, Lars Herbst of MMS and Coast Guard Admiral Kevin Cook… entered a meeting and stated that they had a right to be present.152 Apparently, government officials had not previously insisted on joining these types of meetings, and BP personnel were surprised by the interruption. Asserting the right to be present for BP’s top kill analysis was a turning point for the government team
(p. 19).

The Paper concludes by offering six “lessons for Commissioner consideration” (p. 37). Several of these lessons (as well as many other points which are raised in the Paper) are highly relevant to the discussion and impending decisions regarding Arctic drilling.

As stated above, we must indeed ensure that such a “failure of planning” does not occur again.

Stopping the Spill is available here:
http://www.oilspillcommission.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Containm...

Editorial Notes: Rick Munroe is a regular contibutor to EB. -BA

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Sign up for regular Resilience bulletins direct to your email.

Take action!  

Find out more about Community Resilience. See our COMMUNITIES page
Start your own projects. See our RESOURCES page.
Help build resilience. DONATE NOW.

 

This is a community site and the discussion is moderated. The rules in brief: no personal abuse and no climate denial. Complete Guidelines.


'Perfect Storm' Engulfing Canada's Economy Perfectly Predictable

Economists, an irrational tribe of short-sighted mathematicians, are now …

A Day of Tears: Report from the "sHell No!" Action in Portland, Oregon

This week, activists in Portland, Oregon, employed non-violent civil …

Peak Oil Review - Aug 3

A weekly review including: Oil and the Global Economy, The Middle East & …

Energy, the repressed: Paging Dr. Freud

Today, a new psychological repression hides in plain sight. It is the …

Evidence Released at TransCanada’s Keystone XL Permit Renewal Hearing Sheds Light On Serious Pipeline Risks

Just because TransCanada continually states that the Keystone XL pipeline …

Peak Oil Notes - July 30

Much of the news that will eventually move oil prices came on the …

Higher-risk 'Shallow Fracking' More Common than Suspected: Study

The fracking of oil and gas less than a mile from aquifers or the Earth's …