A few minutes ago, BP released the results of its internal investigation into the Macondo well disaster. The report full report complete with a 29 minute video can be found here and the summary press release can be found here.
In a nutshell, the four month long investigation found that, and I quote:
- The cement and shoe track barriers – and in particular the cement slurry that was used – at the bottom of the Macondo well failed to contain hydrocarbons within the reservoir, as they were designed to do, and allowed gas and liquids to flow up the production casing;
- The results of the negative pressure test were incorrectly accepted by BP and Transocean, although well integrity had not been established;
- Over a 40-minute period, the Transocean rig crew failed to recognise and act on the influx of hydrocarbons into the well until the hydrocarbons were in the riser and rapidly flowing to the surface;
- After the well-flow reached the rig it was routed to a mud-gas separator, causing gas to be vented directly on to the rig rather than being diverted overboard;
- The flow of gas into the engine rooms through the ventilation system created a potential for ignition which the rig’s fire and gas system did not prevent;
- Even after explosion and fire had disabled its crew-operated controls, the rig’s blow-out preventer on the sea-bed should have activated automatically to seal the well. But it failed to operate, probably because critical components were not working.
Basically, there was a bad cement job between the production casing and the wellbore; this allowed hydrocarbons to leak into the production casing and ultimately flow to the surface. The blowout preventer failed and the rig's fire and gas systems did not prevent ignition of the natural gas/oil mixture once it reached the surface.
Basically, BP is scattering blame among Halliburton, Transocean and, I gather, themselves to some degree. Nice to see that everyone gets a share.