Deepwater Horizon – More Tragedies In The Pipeline?

 Accident Investigation, accident reporting, explosion, fire, Offshore  Comments Off on Deepwater Horizon – More Tragedies In The Pipeline?
Jun 072014

DWHEffective compression, a phenomenon not previously identified as a problem with drill pipe during well operations, lead to the failure of the Blow Out Preventer, BOP, to shut off oil and gas flow on the Deepwater Horizon. The phenomenon caused the pipe to buckle almost as soon ss the explosion began which suggests the danger still exists in other blow-out preventers currently in use.

Says the US Chemical Safety Board , which hs relesed its draft report on the incident: ” The blowout preventer that was intended to shut off the flow of high-pressure oil and gas from the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico during the disaster on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on April 20, 2010, failed to seal the well because drill pipe buckled for reasons the offshore drilling industry remains largely unaware of”.

The blowout caused explosions and a fire on the Deepwater Horizon rig, leading to the deaths of 11 personnel onboard and serious injuries to 17 others.  Nearly 100 others escaped from the burning rig, which sank two days later, leaving the Macondo well spewing oil and gas into Gulf waters for a total of 87 days. By that time the resulting oil spill was the largest in offshore history.  The failure of the BOP directly led to the oil spill and contributed to the severity of the incident on the rig.

According to the CSB report concluded that the pipe buckling likely occurred during the first minutes of the blowout, as crews desperately sought to regain control of oil and gas surging up from the Macondo well.  Although other investigations had previously noted that the Macondo drill pipe was found in a bent or buckled state, this was assumed to have occurred days later, after the blowout was well underway. Continue reading »

International Regulators Look For “Paradigm Shift”

 Accident, offshore  Comments Off on International Regulators Look For “Paradigm Shift”
Jun 222011

The  Deepwater Horizon/Macondo in the spring of 2010, and the West Atlas/Montara in August 2009, disasters have called for a paradigm shift in global attitudes and requirements relating to safety and environmental protection in offshore petroleum activities. Consequently, a challenging range of expectations are now being proposed for better coordination of global regulatory efforts in the petroleum industry, establishment of the highest safety standards across onshore and offshore borders and promotion of a generally more efficient coordination of national safety authorities’ supervisory regimes in order to promote health, safety and environment in the industry.

On behalf of the International Regulators’ Forum, IRF, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) will host an extraordinary safety summit conference in Stavanger, Norway, on 4 and 5 October 2011.

Key issues at the conference will include an update on the progress of four of the five IRF priority areas above. A welcome evening for all participants will also be organized on Monday 3 October. A program committee is currently preparing the detailed conference program.

More information

PSA Releases DWH Recs For NCS

 Accident, explosion, fire, offshore  Comments Off on PSA Releases DWH Recs For NCS
Jun 092011

PSA looks at lessons from the Deepwater Horizon tragedy

Preliminary conclusions by Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority Norway and action recommended after the Deepwater Horizon accident were presented to the Safety Forum’s annual conference on 9 June.

These assessments and recommendations build on the investigation reports published so far, as well as on a number of assessments by various professional bodies and various national and international processes.

The PSA will continue to keep a close eye on the many processes and activities launched after the accident in April 2010, and which are still under way.

This means that final conclusions and recommendations for action (amendments to the Norwegian regulations and so forth) have yet to be produced by the PSA.

An English summary of the PSA’s report, with its assessments and recommendations, is available for download (see the right-hand margin). The full report will be published next week in Norwegian only.

On the PSA’s follow-up
A project team was established by the PSA on 7 May 2010 following the disaster with the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

The overall goal of this work has been systematise and assess experience from and investigation of the major accident so that they can contribute to learning and improvement on the NCS.

Summary: The Deepwater Horizon accident – assessments and recommendations for the Norwegian petroleum industy

The Deepwater Horizon – the PSA’s follow-up

Transocean Deepwater Horizon – Final Report

 Accident, Accident report, explosion, fire, offshore  Comments Off on Transocean Deepwater Horizon – Final Report
Feb 202011

Poor management decisions and questionable relationships lead to the Transocean Deepwater Horizon fire and explosion in which 11 died, says the Presidential National Oil Spill Commission which has has released details of the series of engineering and management mistakes by those responsible for the drilling operations, including BP, Halliburton, and Transocean.

On January 11th, the Commission released its final report to the President, Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling, which included a chapter on the well blowout and rig explosion. That chapter summarized the results of the investigation by the Commission’s Chief Counsel, Fred Bartlit, and his investigative team into the causes of the Macondo well blow out and Deepwater Horizon rig explosion. Fred Bartlit is widely regarded as one of America’s leading trial lawyers, while he also worked with dui lawyers specialist from a site that you can navigate here. He played a major role in investigating the Piper Alpha North Sea Oil Platform disaster in 1989.

Says the commission: “The Chief Counsel is issuing this additional report to provide the American public, policymakers, and industry with the fullest possible account of the investigation into the causes of the well blowout which was summarized in the Commission’s report. The Chief Counsel’s investigative team unearthed and analyzed far more information than could have been included in the Commission’s report”. Continue reading »

No Surprises In Transocean Deepwater Report

 Accident, Accident report, explosion, fatality, fire, offshore  Comments Off on No Surprises In Transocean Deepwater Report
Jan 052011

There will be no surprises when the US Presidential National Oil Spill Commission releases its report into the tragedy of the Transocean Deepwater Horizon in April 2010. An advanced copy of the report shows that management, communications and systemic issues across threes or more companies caused the incident.

An independent investigation is being conducted by the Chemical Safety Board.

BBC News quotes a BP statement that the company is working with regulators “to ensure the lessons learned from Macondo lead to improvements in operations and contractor services in deepwater drilling”

Transocean, which owned the Deepwater Horizon says that it bears no responsibility for the incident.

The  today is releasing in advance the chapter from its upcoming full report that contains the key findings from its extensive investigation into the causes of the blowout of BP’s Macondo well.
On April 20, 2010, that disaster killed 11 workers, seriously injured many others, and spewed uncontrolled over four million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico for nearly three months, creating the largest oil spill ever in American waters.

Among the findings from the chapter:
“The well blew out because a number of separate risk factors, oversights, and outright mistakes combined to overwhelm the safeguards meant to prevent just such an event from happening. But most of the mistakes and oversights at Macondo can be traced back to a single overarching failure—a failure of management. Better management by BP, Halliburton, and Transocean would almost certainly have prevented the blowout by improving the ability of individuals involved to identify the risks they faced, and to properly evaluate, communicate, and address them.” Continue reading »

PSA Finds Transocean Without a Bow-Tie

 offshore, publications  Comments Off on PSA Finds Transocean Without a Bow-Tie
Dec 122010

Transocean Leader, key personnel did not understand the risk management system used onboard.

Deepwater Horizon owner Transocean has come under pressure from Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority following an audit covering the company’s management of major accident risk and handling of barriers. In addition to some 14 non-conformities ranging from inappropriate headoffice directives to firefighting and lifesaving equipment the PSA found that manager were not familiar with the risk management methodology it recently introduced.

The four-day audit of the Transocean Leader facility, preceded by a one-day management meeting onshore

Transocean is  implementing a Bow-tie methodology which illustrate hazardous situations and probability-reducing barriers on one side, and consequence-reducing barriers following incidents on the other side of a diagram that resembles a bow-tie.

On the Transocean Leader facility, the PSA verified Transocean’s management and knowledge of major accident risk by reviewing two major accident scenarios in the form of ”table-top” exercises related to the facility’s defined hazard and accident situations.

Says PSA: “The audit activity was well-organised by Transocean”

Transocean’s main management defined which defined situations of hazards and accidents, DFUs, can primarily trigger major accidents. Currently there is not a complete overview of the operational and organisational barrier systems, and the company lacks a systematic approach in the area..

Continue reading »

Operating Blind in Deepwater

 explosion, fire, offshore, oil pollution  Comments Off on Operating Blind in Deepwater
Oct 292010

Joint Investigation - Why did it happen?

Bill Campbell, retired Shell International Health and Safety Group auditor, is a controversial commentator on the Deepwater Horizon. He has been following the on-going Joint Investigation into how such a tragedy could happen on one of the most sophisticated rigs in the world and a highly experienced and expert crew.

Only minutes before the blowout on Deepwater Horizon on 20th April everything was reported as being in order. The negative pressure test of the integrity of the well had been good and the displacement of seawater after this test was going fine.

But just 25 minutes after this reassuring message was passed to the senior toolpusher, mud started to overflow from the well onto the drill floor. With only seconds to act and do the right thing mistakes were made which allowed gas to be ingested into areas of the rig where sources of ignition were present. Actions that could have been taken to prevent the ignition of the gas were not taken and four minutes after the blowout commenced most of the crew, on or near the drill floor, were killed in the first explosion.

Continue reading »

BP To Give Incentives For Safety And Risk Management

 maritime safety  Comments Off on BP To Give Incentives For Safety And Risk Management
Sep 302010

image BP is to create a new safety division with sweeping powers to oversee and audit the company’s operations around the world.
The Safety & Operational Risk function will have authority to intervene in all aspects of BP’s technical activities.

It will have its own expert staff embedded in BP’s operating units, including exploration projects and refineries. It will be responsible for ensuring that all operations are carried out to common standards, and for auditing compliance with those standards.

Continue reading »

Sep 172010

imageOILC, the offshore energy branch of Britain’s National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, RMT,  has leaked a UK Health & Safety Executive report on human and organisational factors aboard Transocean rigs in the North Sea.

one year on from the investigation and eight months on from the HSE issuing the report, and offshore staff and safety reps have yet to see sight of it, claims OILC.

Says ILC: “HSE had become aware of significant differences in accident rates between various rigs. Incidents reported varied from zero to 15 across four rigs in the 2-year period 2007-09.

The prominent and consistent indicator of Transocean’s organisational culture, according to the HSE, is discipline, blame and zero tolerance. The so-called accountability process, represented in the ‘just culture decision tree’, quickly steers investigations toward blame of the employee. Little consideration is given to wider organisational issues such as fatigue, distraction, communications failures, or defective equipment.

Continue reading »