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Posts Tagged ‘Deep Water Horizon’

The Marshall Islands, Not the U.S., Had the Main Responsibility For The Safety Inspections on the Deepwater Horizon

June 15, 2010

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico was built in South Korea. It was operated by a Swiss company under contract to a British oil firm. Primary responsibility for safety and other inspections rested not with the U.S. government but with the Republic of the Marshall Islands — a tiny, impoverished nation in the Pacific Ocean.

Now, as the government tries to figure out what went wrong in the worst environmental catastrophe in U.S. history, this international patchwork of divided authority and sometimes conflicting priorities is emerging as a crucial underlying factor in the explosion of the rig.

Under International law, offshore oil rigs like the Deepwater Horizon are treated as ships, and companies are allowed to “register” them in unlikely places such as the Marshall Islands, Panama and Liberia — reducing the U.S. government’s role in inspecting and enforcing safety and other standards.
 The Marshall Islands licensed the Deepwater Horizon in a way that allowed rig operator Transocean Ltd. to place an oil drilling expert — the so-called offshore installation manager — ahead of a licensed sea captain in making decisions on the day of the explosion.

The Federal Minerals Management Service, which also has a role in overseeing offshore oil operations, deals only with issues “below the waterline” of the floating rig. It was not responsible for rig staffing, command structure or other above-water operations.

Lets review, a semi-submersible drilling boat built in Korea, operated by the Swiss, contracted to a British Company, with safety permitted by the Marshal Islands, with both a ships captain and drilling manager overseeing operations ,with MMS responsible for operations only below the waterline, for a well spewing oil on the gulf states.

It is still clear who is responsible….

 

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Rushing A Health Care Bill Can Be A Man Made Disaster, Ask BP

June 7, 2010

NEW ORLEANS — Over six days in May, far from the familiar choreography of Washington hearings, federal investigators grilled workers involved in the Deepwater Horizon disaster in a chilly, sterile conference room at a hotel near the airport here.

 In testimony to government investigators, rig workers repeatedly described a “natural conflict” between BP, which can make more money by completing drilling jobs quickly, and Transocean, which receives a leasing fee from BP every day that it continues drilling.
 
Also the Minerals Management Service, which regulates offshore drilling, went along with  requests for regulation exceptions partly, because the agency has for years had a dual role of both fostering and policing the industry — collecting royalty payments from the drilling companies while also levying fines on them for violations of law.
 
Amid this tangle of overlapping authority and competing interests, no one was solely responsible for ensuring the rig’s safety, and communication was a constant challenge.

BP had fallen behind schedule and over budget, paying roughly $500,000 a day to lease the rig from Transocean. The rig was 43 days late for starting a new drilling job for BP by the day of the explosion, a delay that had already cost the company more than $21 million.

With the clock ticking, bad decisions went unchecked, warning signs went unheeded and small lapses compounded. 

After the spill,under intense media scrutiny, at least a dozen federal agencies have taken part in the spill response, making decision-making slow, conflicted and confused, as they sought to apply numerous federal statutes.
 
Lets review…conflict in parties of interest,  federal government granting exceptions, overlapping authority, clock ticking..  bad decision making, numerous federal statutes. eventual catastrophy..
 
Where have we seen this…….oh yea health care bill