RE: [hreg] Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
According to today’s WSJ, in sworn testimony, witnesses to the 11AM planning meeting the morning of the disaster, there was a serious disagreement about removing the mud prior to cementing.
Transocean claims they were told by BP corporate management to remove the mud before cementing and replace it with much lighter sea water, but the ranking BP official on the rig strenuously objected, pointing out that it was not the correct procedure. Apparently he lost the argument, but to his credit, he tried to do the right thing.
If true, BP will be in much worse trouble if corporate decision makers overruled the BP official on the rig, and violated standard procedures put in place to prevent such an accident.
Unfortunately, as we all know, the only ones that will benefit from this disaster will be lawyers…….
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From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Robert Johnston
Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2010 8:37 AM
Subject: RE: [hreg] Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
I think Ahmad makes an excellent point: Is the owner responsible or is it the contractor(s) ? William didn’t really tackle the legal question. Congressional testimony and presidential posturing aside (these are political events), this will be settled in court as a legal matter. Meanwhile, BP has shown leadership in seeking resolution; they haven’t walked away. I expect that BP will end up with a large part of the responsibility, as deep pockets usually do in these matters, but in the end, while it will hurt BP shareholders today, it will ultimately be a cost passed on to consumers, so we all pay for this and other incidents as a cost of using oil.
BP didn’t do themselves any favors by having citations for poor safety in Houston refinery operations leading to many deaths. Their reputation has been tarnished—certainly in the Houston area—by that. That was another operation where contractors played a role. Can one legally subcontract out the risk? I suspect that is possible only to the extent the subcontractor is able to pay the damages. Otherwise, the liability will probably roll up to the deep pockets anyway. Thus, returning to Ahmad’s analogy, if as a homeowner someone slips on an oil patch in your driveway and is injured, it is true that the liability would seem to fall on the contractor who spilled the oil, but we all know that in a lawsuit, the liability usually gets shared and the homeowner would indeed have liability. That’s why we all pay so much for homeowner’s insurance to protect ourselves from these kinds of things. We’ve all heard crazy stories about people who have trespassed property even with criminal intent and been injured and then successfully sued the property owner. It doesn’t seem fair, but it is the way the law works, and I can only assume this is because maybe it tries to achieve justice not just from the owner’s perspective but also from the perspective of the injured party. So, even if BP did have all the contractors responsible and signed off, I suspect BP will also be assigned liability, and that is partly why they’ve stepped up and taken on as much ownership of this problem as they have.
It would be interesting to hear someone in our group with legal training comment on this instead of us laymen speculating.
On another point—that of using crises as opportunities to reshape law—that is politics. It is at times of crisis that the political will to change law is strong enough to overcome inertia or vested interests. But I’m not sure that making laws in the context of crises instead of with a longer-term, more balanced perspective, leads to the best laws.
To try to be as polite as possile your analogy is lame. I see your profession and years of experience and I honor that. What about the fact that as we reach for energy that may be beyond our technology (from a safety standpoint) and then cause extreme harm there does need to be a point to regroup. To insure that this won't happen again next week, or the week after that. You see (or do not see) the one that holds the most marbles will be the one to change the most. Are you telling us that BP should not be held responsible with Transocean and Halliburton for the incineration of eleven human beings, operating without a permit, using a BOP that was modified and ineffective? I also understand the giant burden of cost involved, well there is a huge cost that no one wants to look at now. In order to move on to the 21 st century we need to pay this toll, learn from it, make the changes and move on.
In your analogy instead of burning down a house they would be more likely to have burned down a small city, ruined the livlihoods of thousands and spilled enough chemicals during the fire to last decades of food chain impairment and soil destruction. That, would be a more accurate description I believe. I am not knocking your high esteem or your industry. I know we need the oil, have been drilling in even deeper water than this, with even larger rigs. The point is, what have we learned from this? How do we proceed? By not taking any responsiblity is ludicrous. If this had been NASA and the rig was the shuttle and eleven astronauts got blasted would you think that no one is to be responsible? I think not.
The time is now to put pressure on OUR government to provide an energy bill for the next century. Your scientific reasoning should well be able to measure our "space capsule" (the earth), we have no "escape pod" to jump to. Our capsule is finite, measurable. Our atmosphere has changed, our oceans acidifying and our resources even for growing food are waning. What pray tell, should we do? Business as normal? Don't worry someone else will fix it?
Everything on this planet is in a system, cyclic, why do we think we can use a linear system and still survive as a specie? Besides the oil that we can't figure out how to vacuum and the release of huge amount of Nat.gas into the atmosphere we are spraying an "out of sight out of mind" dispersant on the mess. Corexit 9527 look it up. Making oil molecules ":bite-size" for marine life for the next twenty years, yum.
This is insane.
In my feeble science-fiction mind I see retro-fitted tankers/ freighters with combine-like large lawn mowers doing grid patterns on the Gulf to scoop the crude. I see vertical oil booms to drop to the bottom & surround a loose gusher and keep the oil patterned for easy pick up. What I don't see, can't see is the lame excuse that we never envisioned a accident like this, or, it's not my fault. It is ALL our faults and I for one am not going to sit still for it.
- Same problem - a disagreement on the rig about the better course of action. The "company man" I'm not sure which one vetoed the driller's recommendation (on IXTOC) to cut the string above the drill collars and let the collars fall to the bottom for recovery after the well was brought under control. At least that is what a driller told me on a rig one night in Montana.The BOP shear rams wouldn't then and won't now cut through drill collars.Human error (Major Screw-up) seems to be common to a lot of major disasters. I believe that the problems on Horizon extends through many years of government regulations, "industry recommended practices", well design, events on the rig leading up to the fatal night.There are several interviews on youtube in anyone can stand to watch.As sad as it may be - this will happen again if we don't learn from this.Ed Sarlls, Jr.----- Original Message -----From: William & Cynthia StangeSent: Saturday, June 05, 2010 2:09 PMSubject: Re: [hreg] Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill - Great BP VideoAll,I am being careful not to encite a debate but this is too good not to share. Let me know your thoughts, let your politcians know your thoughts too. Deja Vu?