BP Drill Crew Proceeded Against Negative Test

It is always sad when experiencedand well trained men have a lapse in judgment. We will never know what actually contributed to the lapse, but it shouldnot have been even exhaustion.

There is nothing more critical toa driller than the certainty of well integrity. This is a mistake that almost could not be made, yet it was made.  It is like picking up a gun and not breakingit open.  It is not supposed to happen.

As mentioned here, the blow outpreventer even working would not have prevented the explosion.  At least that source can be tossed awayalthough it certainly shows up a huge problem in training or procedures.  Obviously were you find one blind spot, it iscertain that others existed and in this case that big other was apparently wellintegrity.

In this case, the test worked andindicated a problem with well integrity. The workers or whoever proceeded anyway and squeezed the trigger.

BP workers could have prevented rig accident: commission

By Ayesha Rascoe

WASHINGTON | Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:09pm EST

(Reuters) - BP had workers on the doomed Deepwater Horizon rig whocould have prevented the missteps that led to the massive Gulf of Mexico oilspill, but they were not consulted, the White House oil spill commission saidon Thursday.

In an expanded report on the causes of the BP drilling disaster thatkilled 11 workers and ravaged the U.S. Gulf coast last summer, thecommission released new details about the events that preceded the BP accident.

The commission's investigators said BP workers failed to ask aknowledgeable company engineer who was visiting the rig about unexpectedresults from a critical negative pressure test on the rig.

"If anyone had consulted him or any other shore-based engineer,the blowout might never have happened," the commission said in astatement.

The rig crew's misreading of that pressure test and the decision tomove ahead with temporary abandonment of BP's Macondo well was a major catalystfor the April 20 rig explosion that eventually unleashed millions of barrels ofoil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Had BP's well site leaders brought their faulty explanation of the testresults to either of the visiting engineers, "events likely would haveturned out differently," the commission report said.

The two engineers who were visiting the rig that day said they wouldhave insisted on further testing, had they been consulted.

"The sad fact is that this was an entirely preventabledisaster," the commission's chief counsel, Fred Bartlit, said in astatement. "Poor decisions by management were the real cause."

Created by President Barack Obama during the BP oil spill, thecommission released its major findings and recommendations last month.

The expanded report on the causes of the accident does not change anyof the commission's previous conclusions, but is meant to provide the publicwith the "fullest possible account" of the accident, the commissionsaid.

While the commission does not have the authority to enact policy ortake punitive action, the panel's findings could affect future criminal andcivil cases related to the spill.

Other new details released in the report include the finding that BPknew that there were issues with Halliburton and its work years before the accident.

The commission previously criticized Halliburton's cement job on therig, saying the company may have completed the job before knowing its cementformula was stable.

The new report said BP's engineers had problems with the Halliburtonengineer assigned to the Macondo well for years, but they still did not reviewhis work carefully.

In addition, the flow of oil and gas that led to the explosion"almost certainly" came through an area of the well whereHalliburton's cement should have blocked the flow.

Another key finding was that any flaws in the blowout preventer werenot the root cause of the explosion.
Some Republicans criticized the commission's findings because the panelnever examined the blowout preventer, which they say could have possibly contributedto the accident.

The rig crew did not activate the blowout preventer until hydrocarbonshad already flowed by it, however, the report said. "Even if the BOP hadfunctioned flawlessly, the rig would have exploded and 11 men would havedied," the report said.

Transocean Ltd, which owned and operated the Deepwater Horizon rig, wasalso accused in the report of missing several signs that hydrocarbons were inthe riser pipe of the rig prior to the blowout.

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