The blame came is on, but who or what is really to blame? Here is one opinion: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2016/09/bp_is_to_blame_for_deepwater_horizon_but_its_mistake_was_actually_years.html
Having worked around rigs for 40 years I have seen the change from the cowboy days in the 1970’s to the so called safety culture of today. Much of that time on rigs belonging to the companies that went into what is today T/O, and on the same rigs after they joined the T/O fleet.
At the time of the blow-out there was a celebration going on the DWH to mark 7 years of no LTA, which is admirable.
This was achieved by everybody following safety rules of wearing PPE, writing Stop-cards and paying homage to the “Pyramid”. (Old T/O hands will know what I’m talking about)
But is it REAL safety that is being promoted? Not really. Real safety is more then ensuring that nobody loose fingers or toes. It costs money and involve having the best available equipment, with proper training in how to use it.
On DWH the BOP was not equipped with acoustic remote closing facilities, although such equipment has been available for years and compulsory in many other locations. It would NOT have worked in this case, since there were not enough accumulator pressure to operate the rams due to lack of maintenance.
In this case short cuts were made, both operational and on maintenance of critical equipment. Who’s to blame, BP as the Operator, T/O as the Drilling Contractor and Owner of the unit?
My answer is both; BP because they did not have sufficient control of their Contractors and had not managed to instigate their normal very strict safety culture on their US operation, which was originally AMOCO.
T/O because they did not spend enough money on upgrading and maintaining equipment, but most of all to instigate a proper attitude towards maintenance routines and risk assessment.
The OIM is legally “Person-in-Charge” on the rig. He has the authority to override the Companyman, at least in theory.
If he does so and thus nothing bad happen, he would probably be fired, however.
11 people died on the DWH, but at least they did so with their fingers and toes intact.