Transocean Ltd., owner of the Deepwater Horizon platform that exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, released an 854-page report that, not surprisingly, blames BP and its other partners for the critical missteps and general negligence that caused the disastrous oil spill.
The report concludes the company’s internal investigation and comes at a time when BP and its partners in the Macondo well drilling operation are embroiled in legal disputes over what caused the oil spill, who is liable, and how much should be paid by each party to the overall recovery of the Gulf Coast and its residents.
Earlier this week, Swiss-based Weatherford U.S. LP, which manufactured a key component of the Macondo well, agreed to pay BP $75 million to settle liability issues. Before that, Mitsui / MOEX, a Japan-based oil exploration company that owned 10 percent of the Macondo well, paid BP $1 billion in exchange for an indemnity agreement.
The companies involved in the Deepwater Horizon drill have sought damages against each other to help recover financial losses and defray possible future losses from the oil spill. Federal investigations have found that the oil spill likely occurred through a number of oversights, missteps, and other errors, not all of which were BP’s fault. The government findings expose BP’s partners and contractors to a spectrum of civil fines and penalties that could amount to billions of dollars for contributing to the oil spill, which dumped an estimated 206 million gallons of crude and tons of methane gas into the Gulf.
According to the Transocean report, BP failed to properly assess, manage, and communicate the risks of a number of drilling procedures, including adopting a risky nitrogen foam cement program that left little to no room for error; inadequately testing the cement slurry used to seal the well; having at least five different temporary abandonment plans for the Macondo well and choosing an especially risky plan that was not government approved; and various other charges of faulty well design, construction, and management.
Transocean even says that the Deepwater Horizon’s blowout preventer (BOP), which failed to prevent the catastrophic spill it was designed to prevent from happening, was functioning properly before the explosion and that it failed to contain the oil because of the extremely high flow rate at which the hydrocarbons gushed out of the blown-out well.
Massachussets Rep. Edward Markey, a ranking member of the Natural Resources Committee, said the Transocean report was “the newest salvo in the continuing circular finger-pointing contest” by the Deepwater Horizon partners.
Beasley Allen is currently investigating hundreds of claims related to the April oil spill disaster, which affected the entire Gulf Coast region. Called the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, it may be years before the true scope of damage is known. The spill negatively affected industries ranging from commercial and recreational fishing to tourism and economic development, and took a toll on the health and well-being of people who live and work along the Gulf and depend on it for their livelihood.