The Comedy of Errors Leading to the BP Oil Spill

September 15th, 2010

BP LogoBP’s internal investigation into the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has uncovered eight unique problems that allowed the explosion and spill to occur. They run the gamut from poor practices/training to equipment failure and bad design.

It’s almost unbelievable how many things had to go wrong in order for the spill to occur, especially since many of them would not have happened if BP was on top of things. For example: “These tests indicated a problem … but were ‘incorrectly accepted as successful,’ in part because there were no standards in place for what constituted a negative test.” There’s also: “That returns us to the automated system that was attempting to shut the blowout preventer. Even though it kicked in, once the explosion happened at the surface, it lost power.” And then finally: “Redundant hardware on the sea floor was designed to operate independently. Unfortunately, it also failed; one of the devices had a fault in a critical piece of hardware, while the second had insufficient charge in its batteries to function.”


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