Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

BP 'ignored contractor's cementing concerns'

BP ignored the concerns of its contractor over the cementing of the Deepwater Horizon well shortly before it ruptured, a US hearing has been told.

Halliburton official Jesse Gagliano told US federal investigators in Houston, Texas, that he was at odds with the oil giant over the need for additional centralisers, devices used to help plug a well.

But BP’s lawyers pointed to emails written on the morning of the blow-out to Mr Gagliano that suggested that the contractor was happy with the procedure.

“We have completed the job and it went well,” a rig engineer wrote just hours before the rig exploded, the hearing was told.

Meeting yesterday, the investigating panel in Houston heard that BP rejected recommendations from Halliburton to use 21 centralisers during the cementing job.

It feared that without them there could be an increased risk that the casing would be off-centre – a problem that may have led to the explosion.

Instead, the oil giant opted for six centralisers. BP well team leader John Guide objected to the additional devices due in part to the additional time it would take to install, it is claimed.

“I do not like this,” he wrote to a colleague prior to the explosion in reference to the additional centralisers.

The April 20 blow-out in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in the deaths of 11 workers and the worst environmental disaster the region has ever seen.

Since the accident, BP has come under attack for prioritising speed and cost-cutting above safety.

Outgoing chief executive Tony Hayward was accused of presiding over “astonishing” corporate complacency during a Congressional hearing in Washington earlier this summer.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Apparently the well contained all the gas and oil pressures exerted from the surrounding ground below seabed level once an adequate cap had been placed on the well casing just above seabed level and no gas or oil leaks were then encountered within the seabed area around the well.

    To my knowledge nothing was done after the accident that could have affected or improved the integrity of the cement sealing around the well casing throughpout the whole well depth. This appears to indicate that the cement sealing around the casing was adequate and gas/oil leak proof and that any eccentricity of the casing had not created any such leakage problems. Am I missing something and if not why are such matters now being considered? Blame re-direction or a fishing trip or what?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • politics.... thats what you are missing.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Peter, my understanding of the technical situation is similar to yours. However in my humble opinion it appears what the investigators are looking for is evidence of the management culture and it's relationship to the accident. Citing other examples where safety may have been allegedly overuled shows this culture. This was accounted for by Bird and Loftus (1976) in thier model of accident causation and is an important point central to the cause of accidents, not simply a fishing trip.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.