An internal report (by BP, for BP) from the oil company has said that the failures that led to the five-million-barrel spill in the Gulf can actually be attributed to a number of others besides the oil company themselves.
From the horse’s mouth:
The investigation found that no single factor caused the Macondo well tragedy. Rather, a sequence of failures involving a number of different parties led to the explosion and fire which killed 11 people and caused widespread pollution in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year.
Who’s to blame, specifically? Or, generally?
• Machines that failed mechanically
• Humans that failed judgmentally
• Engineers that failed at engineering
• Operations that just plain failed
• Team interfaces that failed to interface
Who’s not to blame, specifically?
• Tony Hayward. Who 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.”
BP does admit to misreading pressure data that indicated an impending blowout.
The report was conducted by BP’s safety chief Mark Bly and a team of 50-some “mostly BP” employees, which means that the DOJ will probably take it with several grains of salt, or as many drops of oil that remain in the ocean.
Overall, diffusing blame in many directions reflects an attempt by BP to deflect charges of gross negligence. Whether or not that happens, we can only hope that all of the finger pointing gets to the truth (or many semi-truths) of the matter and prevents this sort of thing from happening again — or again — regardless of who, exactly, or partially, is at fault.
[via New York Times]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 8, 2010