Oceana Reaction to Final BOEMRE and Coast Guard Findings on the Errors & Potential Causes of the BP Spill: | Oceana

Oceana Reaction to Final BOEMRE and Coast Guard Findings on the Errors & Potential Causes of the BP Spill:

Press Release Date: September 14, 2011

Location: Washington, D.C.


Anna Baxter | email: abaxter@oceana.org
Anna Baxter

The BOEMRE/Coast Guard joint report reiterated earlier findings by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, which demonstrated that the blowout was caused by a series of very bad operation and management decisions that were tied to saving time and ultimately, cutting costs. It also pointed out that failure of the oil well’s blowout preventer (BOP) may have been due to the weight of the 5,000 foot drill pipe, which led to buckling of the pipe and the failure of sheer rams.

Oceana Senior Scientist and Senior Campaign Director Jacqueline Savitz offers the following reaction:

“This report confirms that bad decisions and improper, risky actions were at the root of the accident.  For the first time, it makes clear that so-called safety regulations won’t prevent poor judgment, which can have disastrous consequences. The joint report found that many bad decisions were made to save time, which we all know means saving money.  The company clearly placed profits before precautions and allowed the desire for profitability to drive a risk-taking culture.  This led to an unacceptable loss of life and immeasurable devastation of Gulf Coast communities and natural resources.  

The report found that the buckled drill pipe and subsequent failure of the blowout preventer (BOP) may have been due to the sheer weight of the 5,000 foot pipe connecting the well to the surface of the ocean. Consequently, all deepwater drilling activities would, by their nature, also have thousands of feet of drill pipe, and could be vulnerable to the same danger.  As the independent Det Norsk Veritas study also concluded, existing BOPs, which are meant to be the last line of defense, are not a silver bullet and can fail as this one did.

For the first time, this report shows that BP violated a long list of federal regulations, including rules requiring inspections, tests and engineering requirements, which may have helped prevent the disaster.  Oceana urges the Obama Administration to ban new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, since it is now even clearer that major accidents can occur in spite of “safety” regulations.

Given the findings of this report, the Administration should, at the very least, cancel its proposed lease sale in the Western Gulf of Mexico.  Why should we offer new leases to companies like BP, when this report shows so clearly that federal safety regulations cannot prevent future blowouts, and that companies can ignore inspection, testing and engineering protocols?  The best solution is to stop issuing new leases and new drilling permits, while investing in clean energy to replace offshore oil and gas.  Doing so will not only prevent major spills, but also help slow global climate change.”

Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 500,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org.