Be Prepared Says Norway’s PSA

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Feb 232011

Studies of emergency preparedness and well integrity, design and construction were launched in Norway afte

Transocean's Deepwater Horizon - be prepared says the PSA

r a review of initial analyses and reports from the Deepwater Horizon incident. This work is being coordinated by the OLF at the request of the PSA.

The industry’s need to assess the validity of emergency response principles for halting a possible subsea blowout in Norway was stressed by the PSA on 15 June in a letter to the OLF.

In addition, the industry association was asked to evaluate existing strategies for limiting the volumes discharged from a blowout while it is under way.

That would also mean identifying possible improvements in the form of new practices, development of technology and/ or a revised understanding of preparedness requirements. Continue reading »

Transocean Deepwater Horizon – Final Report

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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 »

PSA Finds Transocean Without a Bow-Tie

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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

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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 »

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 »

Deepwater Horizon Updates

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May 022010

image We’ll be providing links to updated information.

BP will attempt to lower a pipe to the source of the leaks, currently estimated to be 5,000 bbls – 794,936 litres (210,000 US gals) – to inject oil dispersants into the flow. This would encourage the oil to break up at an earlier stage and less oil to reach the surface.

Attempts to activate the blow-out preventer

Joint Information Center updates

NOAA updates

Effects on shipping

North of England P&I Club has issued a briefing warning of possible problems caused by hull fouling of ships transitting the area of the spill.

Standard P&I Club has a similar briefing here.


A USCG investigator has made the following appeal on the gCaptain forum: “It is my goal to ensure that this gets nothing but the best of USCG attention and the right information is gathered to answer my 3 big questions:
What happened?
How did it happen?
How do we prevent it from happening again?

If you are interested in helping and honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, help me by providing me with information or educating me on the operations that led up to this incident. I am here. Please remember that it is a federal investigation, I am limited as to information that is releasable at this point, but, I will gladly share with you what I can.

My contact information is LT Angel Flood, my email at work is I don’t answer the phone much, so, email is best. Attorneys: file your Freedom of Information Act request. Media: Contact Coast Guard Public Affairs or the Joint Information Center at the incident command post. I am strictly focused on the marine casualty investigation.”


BP is trying to increase the assets it can bring to bear: “BP is looking to contract with vessels for hire (shrimp boats, oyster boats, etc.) to deploy boom in the Gulf of Mexico. The response contractors for this program are already collecting infomation on vessels. Specifically, they need the name, owner, dimensions, characteristics gincluding length, draft, horsepower, etc) and other pertinent information you can provide. Direction and training will be provided and determined by area response plans based on the highest priority areas on down.
Current staging areas for the program are Venice, LA; Mobile, AL; Biloxi, MS; Pascagoula, MS and Pensacola, FL. So far, more than 100,000 feet of boom has been deployed, with another 400,000 available. So if you can help, please do so. There is intended to be deployed launch barges staged in areas where additional boom may be deployed.
As soon as you have gathered the relevant information on your vessel, please email that information to the managing contractor Vince Mitchell at or 425-745-8017. As well, please copy BP’s coordinator Grant Johnson at


A transcript of the latest press conference, which gives a run-down on the current situation as of 1 May is here.

A live interview with a survivor can be found here.

Valuable reading to aid understanding of what gone on, and the professionalism applied, can be found in the report on the Thunder Horse close call here.

2010 Offshore Industry Safety Awards Postponed

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Apr 282010

WASHINGTON D.C. — The Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) announced today that the 2010 Annual Industry SAFE Awards Luncheon scheduled for May 3, 2010 at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas has been postponed.

The ongoing situation with the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling accident has caused the MMS to dedicate considerable resources to the successful resolution of this event, which will conflict with holding this ceremony next week.

The MMS will announce how the agency will proceed with the 2010 SAFE Award program during the next several weeks. The MMS apologizes for any inconvenience and thanks the organizers of the OTC for their understanding of our current situation.

Deepwater Horizon SitRep

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Apr 272010

NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image of the Gulf of Mexico on April 25, 2010 using its Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument. ocean. Under unique viewing conditions, oil slicks can become visible in photo-like images, but usually, radar imagery is needed to clearly see a spill from space.

Oil leaking from the site of the sunken Deepwater Horizon is expected to reach the US coast sometime during the coming weekend. Most appears to be little more than surface sheen with little depth.

Attempts by several remotely operated vehicles, ROVs, have so far failed to close the Blow Out Preventer and oil continues to leak at about 1,000 barrels a day. Additional options are still being developed to trigger the BOP.

Two drillships, Transocean’s Development Driller 3 and Discoverer Enterprise are moving into position to drill relief wells and stop the leaks. Continue reading »

Deepwater Horizon Update – Leaking Crude

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Apr 252010

image NOAA reports: “The situation remains highly dynamic with severe storms and high seas hampering response efforts. Winds have been 20-30 knots gusting higher, seas 7 1/2 feet, with a tornado watch for coastal waters. The Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU), or rig, has been located on the seafloor approximately 1300’ northwest of the well. The riser has also been located and traced by remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). Two leaks have been identified, preliminary estimates are that the well is leaking 1000 barrels (42,000 gallons) a day at a depth of 5000’. The estimates will be revised pending information from ROVs monitoring the seafloor and surface and overflight observations as weather conditions allow. A flotilla of response vessels and personnel are on-scene. The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for 11 missing crewmembers on Friday, April 23.  NOAA extends its deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the missing.

On April 24, aircraft observations indicated a 20-by-20-mile area of rainbow sheen and emulsified crude oil.  All available response assets are either mobilized to clean up existing oil or on standby in the event that the release worsens. Planning teams are considering potential response strategies to control the well and address the floating oil. These include application of dispersants, drilling of relief wells, shoreline protection and assessment, cleanup plans, and working with state and local governments.

The latest NOAA oil-spill trajectory analyses do not indicate oil reaching shore over the next 3 days; this assumes that the rate of oil release is steady and weather remains as forecast.