Post-Macondo? Not so fast!

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.

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Mexico Energy Intelligence

Baker & Associates offers niche-market business and policy intelligence related to Mexico's oil and gas, power and chemical industries. Over 1,000 reports have been issued in the last 20 years. Subject matter expert and publisher George Baker, who directs the firm, has carried out consulting assignments starting in the late 1970s at the height of the Oil Boom in Mexico. He brings bilingual and bicultural skill-sets to understanding and responding to challenges of business and public policy, coupled with a deep familiarity with the history and idiosyncrasies of the Mexican operating environment.