Report —- Halliburton, BP Knew Macondo Well Cement Was Faulty

The National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, investigating the cause of the BP gulf oil spill, has found has found evidence that Halliburton and BP had tests in hand which showed that the cement formulation used on the well was deficient and subject to failure. According to the report, Halliburton, at the time the cement was pumped in to case the Macondo well, had the results of three tests that showed the formula was likely not up to the job of sealing oil from the well bore, and none that showed this batch would hold up. We should note that one test came back after the fact showing the cement would be OK, and that BP says it never conducted a test of the cement’s stability. Gulf oil spill investigator’s findings. Here are the key findings reported in a letter by Fred H. Bartlit, Jr. one of the investigators looking into the causes of the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill sent to the commission. (1) Only one of the four tests discussed above that Halliburton ran on the various slurry designs for the final cement job at the Macondo well indicated that the slurry design would be stable; (2) Halliburton may not have had—and BP did not have—the results of that test before the evening of April 19, meaning that the cement job may have been pumped without any lab results indicating that the foam cement slurry would be stable; (3) Halliburton and BP both had results in March showing that a very similar foam slurry design to the one actually pumped at the Macondo well would be unstable, but neither acted upon that data; and (4) Halliburton (and perhaps BP) should have considered redesigning the foam slurry before pumping it at the Macondo well. Failed cement caused rig fire and explosion In short, Halliburton produced and tested cement, says the government panel, that it knew was likely to fail, sent that cement to BP anyway, and BP — with the test results in hand — used that faulty cement anyway. Oil and hydrocarbons leaked through the faulty cement and pooled on the deck of the oil well and then ignited, leading to the Deepwater Horizon rig’s explosion, Bartlit says in his letter. The environmental consequences of the decision by Halliburton to ignore failing test results will be felt for many years in the Gulf of Mexico and those states surrounding it. 11 men died in Gulf oil well explosion. Let’s not forget the fact that the decisions of the involved personnel of these two companies, if what the investigator’s letter says proves true, is the direct cause of the deaths of the 11 men who died when the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform exploded. While that may not rise to the legal definition of murder, it certain meets the requirements for negligent homicide. Instead of a criminal trial, however, we’ll likely see these companies just paying to repair the damage they’ve done to the environment. Perhaps they’ll even face some punitive fines which Halliburton will no doubt pay with a portion of the profits they’ve collected from their lucrative no-bid contracts from the Department of Defense. Gulf oil spill was preventable. When those tests cameback, someone at Halliburton should have said, “Let’s put that batch on hold.” Instead, they sent it along anyway. Someone at British Petroleum should have read the reports (or performed their own tests) and rejected the substandard cement. If that had happened, it is likely that those 11 men would still be alive today. The environmental damage to the fragile gulf ecosystems could have been averted, but that didn’t happen. No one decided to stand up and rock the boat. When good men do nothing. It has been said that “all that is needed for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” In this case, that seems to be exactly what happened. There may have been other factors contributing to the well’s ultimate failure. According to an AP report published on Yahoo! News, Halliburton says BP did not apply the cement properly, for example, but knowingly supplying cement that had failed multiple tests to show whether it was safe to use in the intended application is unforgivable. Will execs buy their way out of jail time? It’s time we stopped letting these companies buy their way out of jail time with fines. Everyone involved in that decision and in creating an environment where such a thing could happen, should face a criminal trial and jail time. As long as individuals face more consequences from their employer for stopping the process than they face from prosecution for letting it go forward, and even when lives are at stake, evil will prevail. ((29 OCT 2010))















About this entry