BP Oil Spill Report Blasted by Shell Oil Chief

The report on the BP oil spill prepared by the company is coming under more criticism – this time the head of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. In addition to faulting BP’s internal report, Peter Voser also criticized the design BP chose for the undersea well that sparked the disaster.

BP released the results of its internal investigation last month. While it cited BP workers for failing to correctly evaluate negative-pressure tests the day of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, it also maintained that its well design was not to blame for the catastrophe. BP also placed much of the onus on contractors for Transocean Ltd., which owned the doomed Deepwater Horizon rig, as well as Halliburton Co., which cemented the well.

According to an ABC News report, BP’s design for its well included a number of cheaper options, including the use of a single tube from the surface to the reservoir, rather than two overlapping tubes.

“Shell clearly would have drilled this well in a different way and would have had more options to prevent the accident,” Voser said while speaking at the Oil and Money conference in London. Shell generally includes more barriers to hydrocarbon leaks in its well designs, ABC News noted.

Voser also said that BP’s investigation should have looked more closely at the design chosen for the blown well.

However, Voser also acknowledged that the entire oil industry has failed to prepare properly for a major accident, and added that he expects more regulation as a result of the BP disaster. Finally, he said Shell would be more selective about who it would partner with on projects in the Gulf of Mexico, in order to make sure contractors have the necessary technical skills and the financial ability to handle their part when accidents do occur.

The BP oil spill began with an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 men on April 20. All attempts to staunch the gusher failed, until a cap was successfully deployed over the well on July 15. By that time roughly 4.4 million barrels of oil had leaked into the Gulf of Mexico. It was the largest offshore oil disaster in US history.

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