Last month the presidential panel investigating the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico issued its final report on the catastrophe that killed 11 and produced the largest oil spill in U.S. history.
On Thursday, the panel’s chief counsel, Fred Bartlit, released his own final report. It provides additional detail on the lapses, shortcuts and mismanagement by BP and the other two main companies in the project — Halliburton, a contractor, and Transocean, the rig’s owner — that investigators say led to the April explosion.
As the Washington Post reports, Bartlit’s assessment follows the path set by previous reports, reserving its harshest judgment for BP, the operator of the well.
BP was deemed to have failed to address problems with Halliburton, which was in charge of the cement job that was supposed to contain the well’s oil and gas, despite warnings dating back to 2007 about the company’s work. In addition, investigators found that a reorganization of BP’s engineering department caused distractions among personnel on the rig that later exploded.
BP also was blamed for failing to explore the implications of a failed pressure test at the well, a clue that could have helped prevent the disaster.
Another key finding: BP managers on shore were kept in the dark about problems that the drilling crew was facing. Bartlit’s report concludes that if anyone had consulted Pat O’Bryan, BP’s vice president responsible for drilling and well completions, “or any other shore-based engineer, the blowout might never have happened,” The New York Times notes.
In a response to the report, a BP spokesman largely accepted its conclusions, saying, “The findings of the presidential commission – particularly that the accident was the result of multiple causes, involving multiple parties – are largely consistent with those contained in the BP internal investigation report.”