Deepwater Horizon - Transocean Oil Rig Fire


#7321

Working Document of the NPC North American Resource Development Study Made Available September 15, 2011

Paper #2-11

SUBSEA DRILLING, WELL OPERATIONS AND COMPLETIONS

Prepared by the Offshore Operations Subgroup of the
Operations & Environment Task Group


#7322

Effects of Water Depth Workshop 2011 - Final Report

http://www.ne.anl.gov/EWD/EWD%20Workshop%20Final%20Report%20without%20presentations.pdf


#7323

Isolating Potential Flow Zones During Well Construction

API Standard 65 – Part 2

http://www.gwpc.org/sites/default/files/event-sessions/Benge_Glen_Construction.pdf

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“Expert testimony” during the various hearings and commissions referred to various Cement Bond Logs as the
"Gold Standard" when evaluating cement jobs.

My experience in the late 70’s as various service companies And equipment manufacturers were attempting to refine
bond logging and calibration procedures was various engineers referred to us as “snake oil salesmen” and the product
Itself as “snake oil”…During testimony Hafle was asked about running CBL logs on all wells before the temporary P&A
And he got that same “deer in the headlights” look I used to see 35 years ago while making sales calls to various oil companies.
I had to chuckle to myself as I saw that not much had changed from the drilling end in 35 years as far as CBL logging was concerned.

So today, as I read this API Standard 65 -Part 2, I was not surprised to find the following slide in the presentation:

Evaluation – Value of Cement Evaluation Logs
Without a clear understanding of what happened on location, the evaluation of cement quality from only
electronic logging is highly subject to error and “interpretation bias.”
Do not attempt to perform wellbore cementing evaluation based on one single data set.

So much for that “gold standard BS”. LOL!!

http://www.petrolog.net/webhelp/Logging_Tools/tool_cbl/cbl.html#70.

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Reminiscing about old times, i found this brief history of independent wireline manufacturers…
http://www.logwell.com/editorials/mfg_history.html

I had the privilege of working with most of the fellows mentioned in the first 4 companies, especially
Al Biggs with SIE and BF Stout with WPC/Worthwell Surveys as they transitioned surface and down hole tools
From vacuum tubes to transistors and finally integrated circuits.


#7324

Just read my post regarding cement bond logs from April 3, 2011. LOL! I couldn’t have said it better myself.

(links no longer function, at least not on iPad.)

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Also found the paragraph below referenced to time waiting on cement in another post.
Note the second to last line “and drilling shall not be resumed until… 12 hours under pressure for all other casing strings.”

BOEMRE regulations at 30 CFR 250.404 (a)(2) require “…. Cement composition, placement techniques and waiting time shall be designed and conducted so that the cement in place behind the bottom 500 feet of casing or total length of annular cement fill, if less, attains a minimum compressive strength of 500 pounds per square inch (psi)….” BOEMRE regulations at 30 CFR 250.405 (d) state “After cementing any string of casing other than the structural casing string, drilling shall not be resumed until there has been a time lapse of 8 hours under pressure for the conductor casing string and 12 hours under pressure for all other casing strings. Cement is considered under pressure if one or more float valves are shown to be holding the cement in place or when other means of holding pressure are used.”


#7325

Judge won’t dismiss charge faced by ex-BP Oil engineer Kurt Mix

http://www.kypost.com/dpps/news/national/Judge-wont-dismiss-charge-faced-by-ex-BP-Oil-engineer_7996401

Posted: 11/08/2012
By: KEVIN McGILL, Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal judge has refused to throw out one of two obstruction of justice charges an ex-engineer for energy company BP faces after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Kurt Mix is accused of deleting text messages about BP’s response to the disaster.
Prosecutors claim Mix deliberately deleted more than 200 text messages to and from a supervisor and more than 100 others to and from a contractor to prevent them from being used in a grand jury probe of what Attorney General Eric Holder has called the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.
Mix, of Katy, Texas, pleaded not guilty on May 3 to both counts. Each count is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. To date, he is the only BP employee indicted in connection with the spill.

Defense lawyers said Thursday that the second of the two charges should be dismissed because it dealt with texts that amounted to innocuous messages among friends, most of them having little or nothing to do with work on the spill that resulted from the April 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

“It is not a crime, your honor, to delete inconsequential banter between friends and colleagues,” defense lawyer Joan McPhee told U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval.
Duval agreed most of the texts were innocuous but he said some dealt with the spill. He said a jury would have to decide their relevance.
During a three-hour hearing on various defense and prosecution motions, Duval also turned down a defense motion seeking more details from the prosecution on how Mix is alleged to have impeded a grand jury investigation into the spill and response.

The judge declined to rule immediately on a defense motion seeking an array of documents dealing with BP’s measure of the flow from the spewing well and efforts to stop the flow.


#7326

20121109 - Plenty of Oil Left from the Deepwater Horizon!

http://www.onwingsofcare.org/protection-a-preservation/gulf-of-mexico-oil-spill-2010/gulf-2012/324-20121109-oil-left-deepwater-horizon.html

Article about On Wings of Care, a group that patrols parts of the Gulf of Mexico documenting spills and sheens including the area around MC 252.


#7327

NOLA.com : New oil sheen prompts another investigation of BP Deepwater Horizon disaster scene

http://mobile.nola.com/advnola/pm_29230/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=VlIHOb4B

Mark Schleifstein, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune mschleifstein@nola.com11/14/2012 5:45 PM

An overflight inspection of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster site 40 miles south of Grand Isle this past weekend found a new, mile-long oil sheen, which has prompted the U.S. Coast Guard to again require BP to inspect the wellhead and debris area on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico with a remotely operated vehicle for the source of the oil. The flight was piloted by Bonny Schumaker, founder of the California-based non-profit On Wings of Care, which has conducted surveillance flights in the Gulf in the two years since the spill.

Schumaker reported that during her several flights over the wellhead during the past few days, she was able to direct theSchmidt Ocean Institute’s Research Vessel Falkor to the sheen site, where it conducted an inspection of the wellhead with an ROV and found no indication that the oil was coming from the wellhead or the debris field.

“A plan was submitted for an additional remotely operated vehicle to inspect the underwater site of the Deepwater Horizon incident, to determine the source of a surface sheen,” said Coast Guard spokesman Ensign Glenn Sanchez. The new inspection will again focus on the wellhead, cofferdam and the riser pipe that once connected the wellhead to the surface.

A BP spokesman said the company continues to work closely with the Coast Guard to investigate possible sources of the sheen.

“After recently confirming for a third time with ROV video inspection that the Macondo well and its associated relief wels are secure, we’ve capped and plugged an abandoned piece of subsea equipment known as a cofferdam that was identified as a potential source of sheen,” said spokesman Craig Savage. “A further investigation is planned to inspect the Deepwater Horizon rig. If it’s identified as a potential source of sheen, we’ll work with the Coast Guard and rig-owner Transocean to address the matter.”

In a Sunday post on her weblog, Schumaker quoted Florida State University marine biologist Ian MacDonald, who is the ship’s chief scientist, as saying the most likely source for the new sheen is one or more natural seeps of oil to the east of the well that are associated with a salt dome beneath the gulf bottom. Oil deposits often are found along the edges of the underground salt formations.

“The bottom near the wellhead is totally transformed by drill cuttings and debris,” MacDonald told Schumaker. “It was unlike any deepsea benthos I have ever seen.”

Benthos is the scientific term for the sediment layer on an ocean’s floor, and for the organisms that live in the sediment.

MacDonald described the Gulf floor around the Macondo wellhead as strewn with broken rock debris, apparently the cuttings from drilling the original Macondo well or two relief wells in the aftermath of the months-long oil spill.

“However, we saw no indication of oil or active seepage,” he said.

The bottom also was covered with numerous pipes and rusted metallic debris, he said

“However, neither the swath-mapping results nor our direct observations with the ROV turned up any evidence of ongoing seepage from the blown-out well or nearby sources,” he said. “We did not explore the coffer dam,” which was plugged a month ago by contractors for BP after an earlier ROV survey identified oily debris dripping upward to the surface from openings in the 40-foot-high structure that was abandoned in 2010 after being used in a failed attempt to halt the leaking well.

“Although we are seeing floating oil slicks over the MC252 site, it appears that their source is not associated with the well,” he said.

The Falkor’s research cruise is financed by a grant from BP’s Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, and is part of a study of ecosystem impacts of oil and gas in the Gulf, that iincludes researchers from the University of Mississippi and from several Louisiana universities, and the use of the R/V Pelican, based at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium in Cocodrie.


#7328

BP and US Government Withheld Information From Each Other As Oil Spilled Into The Gulf. .

It’s like a scene on some crime show where the crook gets away because the local cops and the FBI aren’t telling each other everything. Except this wasn’t some hour-long piece of TV fluff; it was a huge environmental disaster that unleashed untold amounts of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
The Houston Chronicle’s FuelFix blog has a revealing story about recent closed-door testimony to the Justice Dept. by Marcia McNutt, head of the U.S. Geological Survey, regarding deception and secret-keeping on the part of BP and the U.S. government following the 2010 explosion and oil spill in the gulf.

“I didn’t feel a partnership, you know, ‘Let’s figure out how we’re going to solve the flow rate problem. Let’s sit down and put the best minds from BP and the best minds of government and work this out,’?” testified McNutt.

When McNutt, who had headed up the team charged with figuring out exactly how much oil was being released into the water each day, was asked if BP had told her that back the capping stack device that would ultimately close the leak was ready to be installed in May 2010, months before it was eventually used, she said she was not aware.

“Would that be the type of information that the government would have wanted to know?” the lawyer asked.

Replied McNutt, “All information is good information. McNutt responded.

FuelFix also obtained court documents showing that BP’s internal estimate of the leak was 30,000 barrels of oil/day in May 2010 (with some estimates as high as 100,000 barrels/day), while it was telling the public and the government that it only estimated around 5,000 barrels.

“They did not articulate anything differently to me,” said McNutt in her testimony to the DOJ. “It seems to me, from the documents you’ve showed me, that they may have believed differently, privately.”

But McNutt’s team was also not exactly transparent about sharing its flow-rate information with BP.

In e-mails to an oceanographer advising the White House on the spill, McNutt confirmed that BP was not being copied on messages regarding flow rate analysis.

She testified that the reason for holding back this information from BP was to not “confuse the issue.”

As regular readers of Consumerist remember, the Gulf of Mexico spill — along with a history of fatal incidents at a number of its other facilities — were ultimately what gave BP the edge to beat out Bank of America for Worst Company In America 2011.

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I had heard thru the grapevine that the capping stack had been ready for 8 weeks before it went out to the well site. Never could verify before this article was published. I find it odd that the story floating around the local coffee shops back then is now coming out as at least partially factual.

As I recall, the measurement team was advising against installing the stack because they thought the surface casing was damaged and shutting in the well would cause an underground blowout.

Admiral Allen eventually decided to ignore the “government experts” and follow the BP plan to install the stack, slowly shut in the well and monitor shut in pressures to verify the integrity of the casing strings.

So, is the Government partially responsible for several extra weeks of flow into the Gulf? Also, this person did not have a “need to know” about the capping stack. Her job was to calculate flow rate which the government seemed to obsess about instead of focusing on shutting the well in. Just because she didn’t know doesn’t mean that Admiral Allen didn’t know the status if the mini stack.


#7329

BP to pay record fine in Gulf oil spill; 2 yet unnamed BP employees to face manslaughter charges.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57550185/bp-to-pay-record-fine-in-gulf-oil-spill-2-to-face-manslaughter-charges/

The Department of Justice said Holder and top U.S. officials will hold a news conference at 1:00 p.m. CST, 11/15/2012 about the wide-ranging settlement.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will speak in New Orleans about the government’s $4.5 billion settlement with BP over the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Updated at 11:41 a.m. ET

NEW ORLEANS Oil giant BP said Thursday it has agreed to pay the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The company announced that it will pay $4.5 billion to settle with the federal government. The largest previous corporate criminal penalty assessed by the Department of Justice was the $1.2 billion fine imposed on drug maker Pfizer in 2009.

Meanwhile, a source close to the case confirmed to CBS News Thursday that two BP employees face manslaughter charges over the death of 11 people in the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that triggered the massive spill.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record about the deal, also confirmed that BP will plead guilty to obstruction for lying to Congress for its statements on the size of the leak.

Attorney General Eric Holder is in New Orleans and is expected to announce the plea agreement at a press conference later Thursday, CBS News reports.

(article continues)


#7330

Vidrine and Kaluza Indicted well-site leaders are ‘scapegoats’ in oil-disaster probe, lawyers say | NOLA.com

Each charged with 22 counts of manslaughter.

The charges against Mr. Kaluza and Mr. Vidrine carry maximum penalties of 10 years in prison on each “seaman’s manslaughter” count, eight years in prison on each involuntary manslaughter count and a year in prison on a Clean Water Act count.


#7331

TEXT:ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER REMARKS AS PREPARED FOR NEWS CONFERENCE,
NEW ORLEANS, 11/15/2012 BP DEEPWATER HORIZON INCIDENT CHARGES

http://www.kansascity.com/2012/11/15/3918932/attorney-general-eric-holder-remarks.html

REMARKS AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY BY ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER AT THE BP PRESS CONFERENCE NEW ORLEANS Good afternoon. I’m honored to join with Associate Attorney General Tony West; Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Director Robert Khuzami, of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement; John Buretta, head of the Deepwater Horizon Task Force; and many of the Task Force’s members – in announcing the latest steps forward in our ongoing efforts to achieve justice for those whose lives, and livelihoods, were impacted by the largest environmental disaster in our nation’s history – and to hold accountable those who bore responsibility for this tragedy. Today, in U.S. District Court here in the Eastern District of Louisiana, the Department filed a 14-count information charging BP with 11 counts of felony manslaughter, one count of felony obstruction of Congress, and violations of the Clean Water and Migratory Bird Treaty Acts in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that began in April 2010. BP has agreed to plead guilty to all 14 criminal charges – admitting responsibility for the deaths of 11 people and the events that led to an unprecedented environmental catastrophe. The company also has agreed to pay $4 billion in fines and penalties. This marks both the single largest criminal fine – more than $1.25 billion – and the single largest total criminal resolution – $4 billion – in the history of the United States. It stands as a testament to the hard work of countless investigators, attorneys, support staff members, and other personnel – from the Deepwater Horizon Task Force and a range of federal, state, and local agencies – who have worked tirelessly to advance a complex and wide-ranging investigation that began even before the oil well was capped. And it constitutes a major achievement toward fulfilling a promise that I made here in New Orleans, along with my colleagues, nearly two years ago: to engage with our partners and counterparts to determine the causes of this disaster; to respond to its consequences; to seek justice on behalf of its victims; and to enable Gulf Coast residents to continue to recover and rebuild. To this end, under the terms of the agreement we announce today, about $2.4 billion of the criminal recovery funds will be dedicated to environmental restoration, preservation, and conservation efforts throughout this region – including barrier-island creation and river diversion projects right here in Louisiana. An additional $350 million will aid in the development of state-of-the art oil spill prevention and response technologies, education, research, and training. And more than $1 billion will go to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, to be available for cleanup – and compensation for those affected by – oil spills in the Gulf and throughout the United States. As part of its guilty plea, BP will retain a monitor – for four years – who will oversee safety, risk management and equipment maintenance in relation to deepwater drilling in the Gulf, as well as an independent auditor who will conduct annual reviews to ensure compliance with the terms of this agreement. The company will also hire an ethics monitor to improve its code of conduct and foster robust cooperation with the government. There can be no question that this historic announcement represents a critical step forward – and underscores the Justice Department’s determination to stand with Gulf Coast communities. In February, this same commitment led the Department to reach a partial settlement – totaling $90 million – with MOEX Offshore, related to that company’s Clean Water Act liability for the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Approximately $45 million of this total will go directly to the Gulf, in the form of penalties or expedited environmental projects. But our work is far from over. In the trips that my colleagues and I have made to the Gulf Coast since the Deepwater Horizon spill, we’ve seen the damage – to lives and businesses, as well as coastal areas and wetlands – that this tragedy has inflicted. We understand the tremendous costs, both economic and environmental, that have been associated with this disaster. And we’ve been inspired by the resilience displayed by each and every Gulf Coast resident who’s been affected. That’s why I want to be absolutely clear that today’s resolution does not mark the end of our efforts.

In fact, our criminal investigation remains ongoing – and we’ll continue to follow all credible leads and pursue any charges that are warranted. In fact, in addition to the charges filed against BP, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging the two highest-ranking BP supervisors who were on board the Deepwater Horizon on the day of the explosion with 23 criminal counts – including 11 counts of seaman’s manslaughter, 11 counts of involuntary manslaughter, and alleged violations of the Clean Water Act. The grand jury also charged a former BP executive – who served as a deputy incident commander and BP’s second-highest ranking representative at Unified Command during the spill response – with hiding information from Congress and allegedly lying to law enforcement officials. These and other matters remain open, including a separate civil action that’s pending in federal court here in New Orleans.

We’re looking forward to the trial – which is scheduled to begin in February of next year – in which we intend to prove that BP was grossly negligent in causing the oil spill. In that lawsuit, we are seeking civil penalties and a judgment that BP and others are liable for removal costs and natural resource damages – exposure that could amount to billions of dollars. Though we have been unable to date to resolve the civil case, we remain as determined as ever to hold those responsible accountable. In addition, my colleagues and I are firmly committed to combating oil-spill fraud by investigating and prosecuting those who attempt to reap criminal profits from such a terrible tragedy. Once again, I want to thank each of the Task Force members, Justice Department leaders, local officials, critical agency partners, and Gulf Coast residents who have contributed to this work and made today’s historic announcement possible. And now, I’d like to turn things over to another key leader – Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer – who will provide additional details about today’s action.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/11/15/3918932/attorney-general-eric-holder-remarks.html#storylink=cpy


#7332

Remarks about the BP settlement from Asst. Attorney Gen. Lanny Breuer | Lake Wylie Pilot - Lake Wylie, SC
NEW ORLEANS, 11/15/2012 BP DEEPWATER HORIZON INCIDENT CHARGES

http://www.lakewyliepilot.com/2012/11/15/1725604/remarks-about-the-bp-settlement.html

REMARKS AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY BY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL LANNY A. BREUER AT THE BP PRESS CONFERENCE NEW ORLEANS Thank you, Attorney General Holder. In April 2010, the nation witnessed an unimaginable tragedy, when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven people onboard the rig died, and oil began pouring out of the Macondo well, and onto the sea floor, for months, causing immense damage to the Gulf region and to our ecosystem. The communities here in New Orleans, and around the Gulf, have waited patiently for justice to be done. Today, their wait is over. The Deepwater Horizon Task Force filed a 14-count information and guilty plea agreement, in New Orleans federal court earlier today. The information charges BP Exploration and Production Inc. with 11 counts of felony manslaughter; violations of environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act and Migratory Bird Act; and obstruction of Congress. BP has agreed to plead guilty to each of these 14 counts and to pay the highest criminal fine in U.S. history. Perhaps the greatest tragedy is that the deaths of the 11 men onboard the Deepwater Horizon could have been avoided. The explosion of the rig was a disaster that resulted from BP’s culture of privileging profit over prudence; and we allege that BP’s most senior decisionmakers onboard the Deepwater Horizon negligently caused the explosion. We hope that today’s acknowledgement by BP of its misconduct – through its agreement to plead guilty to 11 counts of felony manslaughter – brings some measure of justice to the family members of the people who died onboard the rig. As the oil spill continued, BP made a tragic situation worse: it began misleading Congress and the American people about how much oil was pouring out of the Macondo well. As BP now admits, in responding to Congress, the company lied and withheld documents, in order to make it seem as though less damage was being done to the environment than was actually occurring. Acknowledging those lies, BP has agreed to plead guilty to felony obstruction of Congress.

Make no mistake: While the company is guilty, individuals committed these crimes. And we have also unsealed today a 23-count indictment charging BP’s two highest-ranking supervisors onboard the Deepwater Horizon with manslaughter and violation of the Clean Water Act. The indictment charges these two BP well site leaders with negligence, and gross-negligence, on the evening of April 20, 2010. In the face of glaring red flags indicating that the well was not secure, both men allegedly failed to take appropriate action to prevent the blowout.

A separate indictment was also unsealed today charging a former senior BP executive, David Rainey, with obstructing a congressional investigation and making false statements to law enforcement officials. The indictment alleges that Rainey, on behalf of BP, intentionally underestimated the amount of oil flowing from the Macondo well. Rainey allegedly cherry-picked pages from documents, withheld other documents altogether and lied to Congress and others in order to make the spill appear less catastrophic than it was. The Attorney General stood near here when the Department first opened its criminal investigation into the oil spill and promised that we would thoroughly investigate and hold to account those responsible for this horrible tragedy. Today, we have begun doing exactly that; and tomorrow, and in the months to come, the Deepwater Horizon Task Force will continue its tireless pursuit of justice in this matter. I would like to personally thank Task Force Director John Buretta, who has done an absolutely remarkable job leading this investigation, as well as the many fine prosecutors from the Criminal Division, Environment and Natural Resources Division and U.S. Attorney community, and the many talented federal and state law enforcement agents, who have worked so hard, for so long, to develop these cases. I would also like to thank our colleagues at the Securities and Exchange Commission for their important parallel investigation. Thank you. # # #


#7333

Screen shot of a current news story from katc tv 3 in lafayette, la.

Added info 10:45 am

http://www.google.com/news?ncl=dqwwn-3AiWGikPMeswR6MvnkFwwHM&q=coast+Guard+reporting+explosion+in+the+gulf+of+mexico&lr=English&hl=en

Update. 11:00 AM
http://www.google.com/news?ncl=dqwwn-3AiWGikPMeswR6MvnkFwwHM&q=coast+Guard+reporting+explosion+in+the+gulf+of+mexico&lr=English&hl=en

Latest direct frm coast guard. No fatals at this time.

http://www.wwltv.com/news/Coast-Guard-reports-offshore-platform-burning-in-Gulf-of-Mexico-179665361.html


#7334

Black Elk Energy Oil Platform Explosion in The Gulf -good video summary of today’s events
http://www.katc.com/full-coverage/oil-platform-explosion-november-2012/#.UKcfd-e47iQ.twitter


#7335

Body of missing platform worker found as Coast Guard suspends search

http://t.co/SnqsDrY5
a bit Confusing, search should go on


#7336

Body of Missing Rig Worker Found, Grand Isle Shipyard Says Torch Not to Blame for Incident

http://t.co/qQni5pWn via @gcaptain


#7337

Two rig supervisors shoulder blame for Deepwater Horizon oil spill | gulflive.com

NEW ORLEANS – Federal authorities have blamed two rig supervisors for the deaths of 11 workers killed when the Deepwater Horizon exploded and spawned BP’s massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, even though a string of investigations spread fault among a host of people and companies.

A federal indictment last week charged Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine with manslaughter, accusing them of botching a crucial safety test. But a defense attorney claims the two BP well site leaders are scapegoats, given that other government probes have concluded the disaster resulted from a complex web of mistakes and a corporate culture that placed profits ahead of safety.

One expert speculated the Justice Department probably took aim at targets higher up BP’s corporate ladder before charging Kaluza and Vidrine.

“Either there simply isn’t evidence that anybody higher up was involved, or the department has concluded the only way it’s going to make its case against more senior corporate officers is if it charges and eventually obtains cooperation from Vidrine and Kaluza,” said David Uhlmann, a University of Michigan law professor and former chief of the Justice Department’s environmental crimes section.

Although London-based BP PLC has agreed to plead guilty to charges related to the workers’ deaths, none of the company’s onshore engineers or executives is accused of wrongdoing in the indictment unsealed last Thursday. Former BP executive David Rainey was charged separately with withholding information about the spill from Congress, but the allegations against him aren’t related to the causes of the blowout.

Shaun Clarke, one of Kaluza’s attorneys, said the narrow focus of his client’s indictment doesn’t jibe with the widely accepted conclusion that “multiple failures at multiple levels in multiple companies” led to the blowout.

“It would have taken a lot of courage after spending three years and tens of millions of dollars investigating to go back to the White House and say, ‘You know, Mr. President, we can’t really find a person to blame.’ Instead, they decided to scapegoat two people who were just out on the rig doing their jobs,” Clarke said.

Natural Resources Defense Council president Frances Beinecke, who served on a presidential commission charged with investigating the explosion and subsequent spill, said the disaster resulted from “systemic failures” that raised concerns about the entire drilling industry’s safety culture.

“You can fault two people for this accident, but you cannot leave it there,” she said. “You have to look at what’s happening throughout this industry.”

That commission concluded the blowout was the product of “several individual missteps and oversights” by BP, rig owner Transocean Ltd. and cement contractor Halliburton, with mistakes made both on the rig and onshore. The panel also found that government regulators lacked the authority, resources and technical expertise to prevent the mistakes from occurring.

“Though it is tempting to single out one crucial misstep or point the finger at one bad actor as the cause of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, any such explanation provides a dangerously incomplete picture of what happened – encouraging the very kind of complacency that led to the accident in the first place,” the commission’s January 2011 report says.

As well site leaders, Kaluza and Vidrine were the highest-ranking BP supervisors on the rig, each having four decades of experience in the oil patch.

Vidrine, 65, was on duty at the time of the April 20, 2010, explosion. Kaluza, 62, was filling in for another well site leader and had been on the rig only a few days before the blowout. He was in bed at the time of the blast.

The case against Kaluza and Vidrine centers on their roles in supervising “negative testing,” which is designed to assess whether a cement barrier is effectively preventing oil or gas from flowing up the well.

The indictment says they had “multiple indications” from the negative testing that the well wasn’t secure. Yet they allegedly failed to alert onshore engineers about the problems during the testing, accepted a “nonsensical explanation” for abnormal pressure readings and eventually decided to stop investigating.

When another rig worker attributed the pressure readings to a so-called “bladder effect,” Vidrine and Kaluza accepted that explanation.

“This explanation was scientifically illogical and was not recognized within the deepwater oil exploration industry,” the indictment says.

Uhlmann said it’s understandable that prosecutors would focus on the well site leaders’ conduct because they were in charge of rig operations. However, he said the indictment could send a troubling message that the failures were limited to actions on the rig and not at higher levels of the company.

“Corporate culture and management policies are created far above the well site leaders,” he said.


#7338

2 workers shoulder blame for 2010 BP oil disaster | The Advertiser | theadvertiser.com

http://www.theadvertiser.com/viewart/20121120/NEWS01/211200309/2-workers-shoulder-blame-2010-BP-oil-disaster

NEW ORLEANS — The manslaughter charges brought against two relatively low-ranking BP rig workers in the deadly Gulf of Mexico disaster may be as far as federal prosecutors are willing to go. Or maybe they intend to use the two men to work their way up the corporate ladder.
The Justice Department has said only that its criminal investigation is still going on. As a result, others are left guessing about prosecutors’ intentions.

“Either there simply isn’t evidence that anybody higher up was involved, or the department has concluded the only way it’s going to make its case against more senior corporate officers is if it charges and eventually obtains cooperation” from the two men, said David Uhlmann, a University of Michigan law professor and former chief of the Justice Department’s environmental crimes section.

A federal indictment unsealed last week charged BP rig supervisors Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine, a Lafayette man, with botching a crucial safety test before the 2010 drilling-platform explosion that killed 11 workers and triggered the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

BP agreed last week to plead guilty to charges related to the workers’ deaths and pay a record $4.5 billion. But none of the company’s onshore engineers or executives was accused of wrongdoing in the indictment.

Shaun Clarke, one of Kaluza’s attorneys, said the narrow focus of his client’s indictment doesn’t jibe with the widely accepted conclusion that “multiple failures at multiple levels in multiple companies” led to the blowout.

“It would have taken a lot of courage after spending three years and tens of millions of dollars investigating to go back to the White House and say, ‘You know, Mr. President, we can’t really find a person to blame.’ Instead, they decided to scapegoat two people who were just out on the rig doing their jobs,” Clarke said.

Natural Resources Defense Council president Frances Beinecke, who served on a presidential commission charged with investigating the explosion and subsequent spill, said the disaster resulted from “systemic failures” that raised concerns about the entire drilling industry’s safety culture.

As well site leaders, Kaluza and Vidrine were the highest-ranking BP supervisors on the rig, each having four decades of experience in the oil patch.

Vidrine, 65, was on duty at the time of the April 20, 2010, explosion. Kaluza, 62, was filling in for another well site leader and had been on the rig only a few days before the blowout. He was in bed at the time of the blast.

The case against Kaluza and Vidrine centers on their roles in supervising “negative testing,” which is designed to assess whether a cement barrier is effectively preventing oil or gas from flowing up the well. The indictment says they had “multiple indications” from the negative testing that the well wasn’t secure. Yet they allegedly failed to alert onshore engineers about the problems during the testing, accepted a “nonsensical explanation” for abnormal pressure readings and eventually decided to stop investigating.


#7339

[QUOTE=Infomania;88894]2 workers shoulder blame for 2010 BP oil disaster | The Advertiser | theadvertiser.com

http://www.theadvertiser.com/viewart/20121120/NEWS01/211200309/2-workers-shoulder-blame-2010-BP-oil-disaster

NEW ORLEANS — The manslaughter charges brought against two relatively low-ranking BP rig workers in the deadly Gulf of Mexico disaster may be as far as federal prosecutors are willing to go. Or maybe they intend to use the two men to work their way up the corporate ladder.
The Justice Department has said only that its criminal investigation is still going on. As a result, others are left guessing about prosecutors’ intentions.

“Either there simply isn’t evidence that anybody higher up was involved, or the department has concluded the only way it’s going to make its case against more senior corporate officers is if it charges and eventually obtains cooperation” from the two men, said David Uhlmann, a University of Michigan law professor and former chief of the Justice Department’s environmental crimes section.

A federal indictment unsealed last week charged BP rig supervisors Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine, a Lafayette man, with botching a crucial safety test before the 2010 drilling-platform explosion that killed 11 workers and triggered the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

BP agreed last week to plead guilty to charges related to the workers’ deaths and pay a record $4.5 billion. But none of the company’s onshore engineers or executives was accused of wrongdoing in the indictment.

Shaun Clarke, one of Kaluza’s attorneys, said the narrow focus of his client’s indictment doesn’t jibe with the widely accepted conclusion that “multiple failures at multiple levels in multiple companies” led to the blowout.

“It would have taken a lot of courage after spending three years and tens of millions of dollars investigating to go back to the White House and say, ‘You know, Mr. President, we can’t really find a person to blame.’ Instead, they decided to scapegoat two people who were just out on the rig doing their jobs,” Clarke said.

Natural Resources Defense Council president Frances Beinecke, who served on a presidential commission charged with investigating the explosion and subsequent spill, said the disaster resulted from “systemic failures” that raised concerns about the entire drilling industry’s safety culture.

As well site leaders, Kaluza and Vidrine were the highest-ranking BP supervisors on the rig, each having four decades of experience in the oil patch.

Vidrine, 65, was on duty at the time of the April 20, 2010, explosion. Kaluza, 62, was filling in for another well site leader and had been on the rig only a few days before the blowout. He was in bed at the time of the blast.

The case against Kaluza and Vidrine centers on their roles in supervising “negative testing,” which is designed to assess whether a cement barrier is effectively preventing oil or gas from flowing up the well. The indictment says they had “multiple indications” from the negative testing that the well wasn’t secure. Yet they allegedly failed to alert onshore engineers about the problems during the testing, accepted a “nonsensical explanation” for abnormal pressure readings and eventually decided to stop investigating.[/QUOTE]

Root cause seduction at its worst, and IMHO guaranteed to make things worse. For the record, here is the text of the two Federal statutes under which these poor guys are being charged:


18 USC § 1112 - Manslaughter

(a) Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice. It is of two kinds:

Voluntary—Upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion.

Involuntary—In the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to a felony, or in the commission in an unlawful manner, or without due caution and circumspection, of a lawful act which might produce death.

(b) Within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States,

Whoever is guilty of voluntary manslaughter, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both;

Whoever is guilty of involuntary manslaughter, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both.

18 USC § 1115 - Misconduct or neglect of ship officers

Every captain, engineer, pilot, or other person employed on any steamboat or vessel, by whose misconduct, negligence, or inattention to his duties on such vessel the life of any person is destroyed, and every owner, charterer, inspector, or other public officer, through whose fraud, neglect, connivance, misconduct, or violation of law the life of any person is destroyed, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

When the owner or charterer of any steamboat or vessel is a corporation, any executive officer of such corporation, for the time being actually charged with the control and management of the operation, equipment, or navigation of such steamboat or vessel, who has knowingly and willfully caused or allowed such fraud, neglect, connivance, misconduct, or violation of law, by which the life of any person is destroyed, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.


The second one, known as “Seaman’s Manslaughter,” goes back to the 1850s. It evidently comes in because under maritime law (Jones Act, where are you when we need you?) a DP rig can be considered to be a vessel “under way but not making way.” Transocean and the Marshall Islands (flag state) had a policy that a DP rig that was latched up was the equivalent of an anchored one and therefore under control of the OIM and not the Master. The Coast Guard disagreed and both TO and MI attorneys were very active when the topic of command came up in the JIT hearings. This whole issue is currently grinding its way through the regulatory process. The Coast Guard, or at least elements within it, would clearly prefer that a DP rig be under the command of a Master with an OIM endorsement rather than having to sort out things between two (three, if you count the Company man) people in an incipient emergency. Nineteen minutes were wasted on the DWH between the time the drill crew first started being concerned about pressure anomalies and the explosion.

Earl


#7340

Fuel Fix » Houston’s Black Elk Energy had history of violations before fatal fire

Before last week’s fatal fire at one of Black Elk Energy’s oil production platforms, the five-year-old firm had racked up more than 300 documented mistakes and violations offshore, according to federal regulators who cracked down on the Houston-based company Wednesday.

Federal regulators threatened to bar Black Elk from working in the Gulf of Mexico if it doesn’t take immediate steps to improve safety.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement ordered Black Elk Energy to develop a plan for boosting the safety of its operations by Dec. 15 and told it to immediately halt burning, welding and other activities that could ignite fires at its 98 production facilities in the Gulf of Mexico. Regulators also are barring the firm from launching operations at facilities that are currently offline.

“Black Elk has repeatedly failed to operate in a manner that is consistent with federal regulations,” said James Watson, director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement that oversees offshore oil operations.

“BSEE has taken a number of enforcement actions, including issuing numerous incidents of non compliance, levying civil penalties and calling in the company’s senior leadership to review their performance and the ramifications of failing to improve,” Watson added. Wednesday’s action “is an appropriate and necessary step as we continue to investigate the explosion and fire that resulted in the tragic loss of life and injuries last week.”

The Nov. 16 explosion on board Black Elk’s platform roughly 18 miles off the Louisiana coast killed one worker, critically injured others and left one still missing.

In a statement, Black Elk spokesman Leslie Hoffman stressed the company’s commitment to safety.

“We appreciate the perspective of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement,” Hoffman said. “Safety is a high priority for Black Elk Energy, and we will continue to work cooperatively with local and national federal agencies to understand exactly what happened with the incident at our rig in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Black Elk’s long history of violations offshore has been documented in 315 “incidents of non-compliance” issued by the safety bureau since 2010. On 12 separate occasions, the agency ordered the company to shut in its facilities because the violations were considered so severe or life threatening that work could not safely continue.

During that same two-year time frame, the safety bureau ordered Black Elk to shut off specific equipment 145 times because it was too risky to continue operating. The agency also issued 158 warnings to the company, ordering it to correct violations identified during inspections of Black Elk’s facilities.

(article continues)

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WHY ARE THE regulators allowing this to go on until workers get seriously injured or die. I mainly posted this article as a comparison with the DWH incident where federal regulators simply rubber stamped changes in the completion procedure, not really taking into account the negative ramifications the changes might induce.

In this Black Elk incident, there are further charges the the contractor, Grand Isle Shipyard has been under suspicion and observation FOR THREE YEARS for human trafficking.
Workers killed and injured in platform explosion part of Human trafficking allegations
http://t.co/vHFzJ6uD

Maybe it’s time to CHARGE THE REGULATORS WITH MANSLAUGHTER!