The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) and the U.S. Coast Guard Joint Investigation Team (JIT) recently released its final report on the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and resulting oil spill.
The report (pdf) concluded that it was BP’s continued violation of federal regulations, refusal to heed crucial warnings and an inattention to safety measures that was ultimately responsible for the explosion that killed 11 rig workers and allowed some 200 million gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico.
Although Transocean, Haliburton and other companies were also named as responsible parties in the report, the panel concluded that as the designated operator of the Macondo well, “BP was ultimately responsible.”
BP, as the designated operator under BOEMRE regulations, was ultimately responsible for conducting operations at Macondo in a way that ensured the safety and protection of personnel, equipment, natural resources,and the environment. Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon, was responsible for conducting safe operations and for protecting personnel onboard. Halliburton, as a contractor to BP, was responsible for conducting the cement job,and, through its subsidiary (Sperry Sun), had certain responsibilities for monitoring the well. Cameron was responsible for the design of the DeepwaterHorizon blowout preventer (“BOP”) stack.
The Panel found evidence that Transocean’s configuration of the Deepwater Horizon general alarm system and the actions of rig crew members on the bridge of the rig contributed to a delay in notifying the entire crew of the presence of very high gas levels on the rig — a decision that caused death and injury to those on board.
“It is only a question of time before BP — along with Transocean and Halliburton — will face criminal charges for their roles in the Gulf oil spill,” David Uhlmann, a University of Michigan law professor who formerly led the Justice Department’s environmental crimes section told the AP.
Although the Presidential Report on the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill also found BP to be at fault, the BOEMRE/JIT report is far more damning, and multiple news outlets report it could force BP to pay up to $30 billion in settlements.
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