1) Industry wants to forget the word “Macondo.” Where you find the term used, it is typically preceded by “post,” as in “post-Macondo developments.”
2) The new buzz word for post-Macondo consciousness is “integrity,” which appears repeatedly in oil industry conferences.
3) Industry believes (mistakenly, we say) that better safety will come principally, if not exclusively, from better engineering.
4) But you can learn nothing essential about the Macondo accident unless you address the central, historical question: Why was the negative pressure test (which showed the lack of well “integrity”) misread? (This is the explanation given on the BP website.) This was the test that was to indicate, definitively, that the cement bond was solid—or not.
5) One can imagine a panel discussion of this matter at an industry conference, each panelist taking up a different perspective:
a) Deficient data collection
b) Deficient data displays (dashboards)
c) Deficient data algorithms
d) Deficient training
e) Ineffective supervision
f) Ineffective shore-based monitoring
g) And so on.
But our guess is that no such panel could be organized, as no willing speakers could be found.
1) Contractors seeking future business with BP, Halliburton or Schlumberger would be unlikely to participate.
2) Operators from Shell, Chevron, Statoil and other deepwater operators would be unlikely to speak, so as not to set a precedent should, in the future, a similar accident were to happen on their watch.
3) The API, and its Houston-based Center for Offshore Safety, is concerned about the future, not the past.
4) The IADC, the drilling trade association, would be reluctant to speak, as its own training programs and metrics would likely come into question.
To download a title list of our reports on the Macondo accident, click here.