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Investigative Report: How the BP Oil Rig Blowout Happened–Popular Mechanics

17 Sep

Deepwater Horizon burned for a day and a half before sinking in the Gulf of Mexico on April 22.

”…the Horizon disaster resulted from many human and technical failings in a risk-taking corporation that operated in an industry with ineffective regulatory oversight. By the time the blowout came, it was almost inevitable. ‘It’s clear that the problem is not technology, but people,’ says Robert Bea, an engineering professor at the University of California–Berkeley. ‘It was a chain of important errors made by people in critical situations involving complex technological and organization systems.’”

”Oil and gas leases are the federal government’s second largest source of revenue, after income taxes…”

”What unfolded over the next few hours could almost have been written as a treatise in the science of industrial accidents.”

”The offshore rush was on, and nothing was going to stop it. ‘when you think you’ve got a robust system,’ says Henry Petroski, a professor of civil engineering at Duke university, ‘you tend to relax.’”

“How can a device that has 260 failure modes be considered fail-safe?”

“The argument revealed the inherent conflict on the rig. BP, which was paying Transocean $500,000 daily to lease the Horizon, wanted to move as quickly as possible. With its costs covered, Transocean could afford to focus more on safety and well control.”

”In the end, 11 men died…But worst of all, says Ford Brett, president of Oil and Gas Consultants International, the blowout ‘wasn’t an accident in the traditional sense, like when someone just hits your car. It was an accident that was totally preventable.’”

Investigative Report: How the BP Oil Rig Blowout Happened

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