BP Oil Spill Report Slammed by Transocean, Halliburton

Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton Co. are crying foul, following yesterday’s release of BP’s report detailing its internal Gulf of Mexico oil spill investigation. The report put much of the onus for the disaster on the two firms.

Transocean is the owner of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which exploded on April 20 and spawned the massive BP oil spill. Halliburton cemented the undersea well.

BP’s report cited its own workers for failing to correctly evaluate negative-pressure tests the day of the blast, but the investigation also found that the oil company’s well design was not to blame for the catastrophe.

The study listed eight failures BP said caused the disaster. These included “weaknesses in cement design and testing, quality assurance and risk assessment” conducted by Halliburton. Transocean’s rig crew and BP well site leaders were cited for having “reached the incorrect view that the test [of cementing the well to close it] was successful and that well integrity had been established.” The report also said the Transocean crew “did not recognize the influx (of hydrocarbons) and did not act to control the well until hydrocarbons had passed” through the blowout preventer on the sea floor and into the riser pipe that went to the rig.

Both Transocean and Halliburton are taking exception to BP’s findings. Transocean, in particular, disputed BP’s contention that its well design did not play a role in the blowout.

“This is a self-serving report that attempts to conceal the critical factor that set the stage for the Macondo incident: BP’s fatally flawed well design. In both its design and construction, BP made a series of cost-saving decisions that risk – in some cases, severely,” Transocean said in a statement.

Halliburton maintained that BP, as the owner of the well, signed off on every step of its work.

“Deepwater operations are inherently complex and a number of contractors are involved which routinely make recommendations to a single point of contact, the well owner,” Halliburton said in a statement. “The well owner is responsible for designing the well program and any testing related to the well. Contractors do not specify well design or make decisions regarding testing procedures as that responsibility lies with the well owner.”

The BP report was criticized by others as well. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee, dismissed the report, and said he was waiting for the “real story.”

“Just as the environmental damage did not end with the capping of BP’s well, this company-run investigation is not the end of the inquiries into the BP oil spill,” Markey said in a statement. “This report is not BP’s mea culpa. Of their own eight key findings, they only explicitly take responsibility for half of one.”

Some environmental groups were also less than impressed.

“This report is more concerned with calming BP’s shareholders than taking responsibility for its actions,” Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, told the Houston Chronicle.

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