Gulf oil spill

BP oil disaster due to 'mechanical failures and human judgements'

A "complex and interlinked" series of events involving mechanical failures and human judgments led to the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, a report by oil giant BP said today.

The internal inquiry, led by the company's head of safety and operations, Mark Bly, found BP was responsible in part for the tragedy, but also placed some blame on rig owner Transocean and cement contractor Halliburton.

The explosion on April 20 killed 11 workers and caused an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil to gush into the Gulf - the largest offshore spill in history.











Commenting on today's findings, outgoing chief executive Tony Hayward, who was forced to stand down in the wake of the disaster, said: "The investigation report provides critical new information on the causes of this terrible accident.

"It is evident that a series of complex events, rather than a single mistake or failure, led to the tragedy. Multiple parties, including BP, Halliburton and Transocean, were involved."



The four-month investigation found shoddy cement work at the bottom of the Deepwater Horizon well failed to hold gas and oil in its reservoir, which leaked into the casing.



BP and Transocean employees then incorrectly accepted negative pressure readings in the crucial minutes before the explosion - meaning they did not spot the gas leak, the inquiry found.



Further mechanical failures then allowed gas to be vented directly on to the rig rather than being diverted overboard - where it ignited.



The rig's blow-out preventer, a protective valve, should have sealed the well but failed to operate.



Based on its key findings, the investigation team has proposed a total of 25 recommendations designed to prevent such an incident.



The recommendations are directed at strengthening blow-out preventers, well control, pressure-testing for wells, emergency systems, cement testing, rig audit and verification, and personnel competence.

















Accepting full responsibility for the disaster could lead to BP being found guilty of gross negligence and fined up to 20 billion US dollars (£13 billion) so it was always likely to maintain its stance that other parties were involved.

It is not the first time that blame has been shared, with BP, Transocean and Halliburton all pointing the finger at each other at a US Congress meeting in May.



But this report is not the final word on the causes of the explosion, as several divisions of the US government, including the Justice Department, Coast Guard and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement are also investigating.



In addition, the failed blow-out preventer highlighted in today's findings was only raised from the water on Saturday, and awaits further analysis.



BP has already spent 8 billion US dollars (£5.2 billion) trying to contain the disaster, and has forecast that it will eventually cost the group more than 32 billion US dollars (£20.9 billion), after clean-up costs and compensation are taken into account.



The crisis cost former chief executive Mr Hayward his job after a series of PR blunders and he will make way in October for fellow board member Bob Dudley, who becomes BP's first overseas boss.



Following publication of today's findings, Mr Dudley said: "We deeply regret this event. We have sought throughout to step up to our responsibilities.



"We are determined to learn the lessons for the future and we will be undertaking a broad-scale review to further improve the safety of our operations."



Before the publication of today's report, ratings agency Fitch upgraded BP's debt from its lowest investment grade, BBB, to A.



Fitch said the upgrade "primarily reflects an end to the threat of further leaks from the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?