Spill commission: BP long aware of contractor woes

More broadly, the report traces the spill to management errors by all the companies involved in the Deepwater Horizon disaster. “The sad fact is that this was an entirely preventable disaster,” said Bartlit, the chief counsel for the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, in a statement.

The report finds: “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.”

Other findings, according to a commission summary, note that “A BP engineering reorganization in early 2010 resulted in delays and distractions for the team drilling the Macondo well,” and that Deepwater Horizon rig owner Transocean did not adequately train its employees in emergency procedures and so-called kick detection.

The report also criticizes BP on its interpretation of tests of the well.

It states: “BP missed a key opportunity to recognize the cement failure during the negative pressure test that its well site leaders and Transocean personnel conducted on April 20. The test clearly showed that hydrocarbons were leaking into the well, but BP‘s well site leaders misinterpreted the result. It appears they did so in part because they accepted a facially implausible theory suggested by certain experienced members of the Transocean rig crew.”

The spill commission issued a sweeping report last month that called for a suite of industry and federal reforms — some that require congressional action and some that don’t. Oil-spill response legislation stalled in Congress last year amid disputes over industry liability limits and other issues, and its prospects are uncertain in the current Congress.


—This post was updated at 2:43 p.m.