Group Report

Group Report


Based on your reading and research from the online resources, continue in your role as the Chief Technology & Risk Manager of an oil company such as BP that just experienced the worst explosion, loss of life and materials in oil drilling history. You should prepare for a press conference with a group of bloggers. Complete the outline notes below. Add more, if you like, to help you prepare the most complete responses.

Keep in mind that the government report investigating BP’s Deepwater Horizon tragedy concluded in January 2011:

“The well blew out because a number of separate risk factors, oversights, and outright mistakes combined to overwhelm the safeguards meant to prevent just such an event from happening. But most of the mistakes and oversights at Macando can be traced back to a single overarching failure—a failure of management. Better management by BP, Halliburton, and Transocean would almost certainly have prevented the blowout by improving the ability of individuals involved to identify the risks they faced, and to properly evaluate, communicate, and address them…. the root causes are systemic and, absent significant reform in both industry practices and government policies, might well recur.”  (Source: National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling)

Outline Notes

1. Key issues of potential technological failure in this explosion


2. The main areas of human error


3. Engineering design objectives include preventing system failures. In this case, several technological safety features were designed in to protect life and property. They include:


4. What is your response to this quote that sums up the situation: “William Reilly, the other co-chairman of the commission, concluded that at heart it wasn't a technical problem, it was a human failing—an assumption that the problems involved in sinking this well through a mile of water and two-and-a-half miles of rock were all routine and manageable.” (Source: Oil Spill Panel Tells a Complicated Tale)



5. Performance testing is a standard operating procedure of quality assurance and quality control. In this case, questions about the adequacy of performance testing are raised in the case of cement use. Briefly describe why cement is an issue.



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