Chief Counsel’s Report on Macondo well blowout

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Technical Findings

The root technical cause of the blowout is now clear: The cement that BP and Halliburton pumped to the bottom of the well did not seal off hydrocarbons in the formation. While we may never know for certain the exact reason why the cement failed, several factors increased the risk of cement failure at Macondo.

Management Findings

The Chief Counsel‘s team concluded that all of the technical failures at Macondo can be traced back to management errors by the companies involved in the incident. BP did not fully appreciate all of the risks that Macondo presented. It did not adequately supervise the work of its contractors, who in turn did not deliver to BP all of the benefits of their expertise. BP personnel on the rig were not properly trained and supported, and all three companies failed to communicate key information to people who could have made a difference.

Regulatory Findings

The Commission‘s full report examines in depth the history of Minerals Management Service (MMS) regulatory programs and makes specific recommendations for regulatory reform of what is now the Bureau of Offshore Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE). The Chief Counsel‘s team found that the MMS regulatory structure in place in April 2010 was inadequate to address the risks of deepwater drilling projects like Macondo. Then-existing regulations had little relevance to the technical and management problems that contributed to the blowout. Regulatory personnel did not have the training or experience to adequately evaluate the overall safety or risk of the project.

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