Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

BP Failed Long Before the BOP* Failed

*BOP = Blow out Preventor

I do not often recommend that folks head over to the WSJ for anything, but today I make an exception. As BP continues to spin this disaster as a failure of technology – the BOP’s failure. Someone from the oil and gas industry has finally come along and declared Bull Shit!

Terry Barr, the writer of this letter to the editor in response to Hayward’s WSJ Op Ed on June 4th, is President of Samson Oil and Gas Limited  which is a Australian based oil & gas company holding extensive development and exploration acreage in the USA. So I think the man knows of which he speaks.  He clearly lays the blame on BP and the failure of it’s people to follow standard industry practices that could have prevented this disaster BOP failure or not.

image courtesy the Young Turks

Just one of the money quotes:


Mr. Hayward and BP have taken the position that this tragedy is all about a fail-safe blow-out preventer (BOP) failing, but in reality the BOP is really the backup system, and yes we expect that it will work. However, all of the industry practice and construction systems are aimed at ensuring that one never has to use that device. Thus the industry has for decades relied on a dense mud system to keep the hydrocarbons in the reservoir and everything that is done to maintain wellbore integrity is tested, and where a wellbore integrity test fails, remedial action is taken.

   This well failed its casing integrity test and nothing was done. The data collected during a critical operation to monitor hydrocarbon inflow was ignored and nothing was done. This spill is about human failure and it is time BP put its hand up and admitted that.

I strongly suggest every one head over to WSJ and read the whole play by play as laid out by Mr. Barr. It’s clear, concise and lays the blame squarely where it must be put. BP!


  1. HappyinVT

    First let me say that I have only half a clue what Terry Barr is talking about ~ my fault much more than his.

    What he does say, though, tracks with what I’ve read and heard elsewhere, namely that there were, or should have been, warning signs early on that there were problems.  The explosion occurred during a transition time (frankly, I don’t remember what they were transitioning to or from) is highly unusual because this is supposed to be a fairly stable time.  I also find it hard to beleive that any responsible well owner would rely on one piece of equipment to control what anyone would guess could be a major catastrophe should something go wrong.

    It would seem that BP is trying to shift the blame from either shoddy workmanship and/or materials and/or a serious lack of supervision to a piece of equipment largely to avoid even more expensive wrongful death suits.

  2. jsfox

    the image and for Young Turks for supplying it.

    Adding images is the one thing I have yet to figure out. Then again I haven’t really tried all that hard to figure it out either 🙂

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