Did Government & BP learn anything
oil industry and government officials can be caught flat-footed again for another burst of deep water in the coming months because they still have not incorporated many of the lessons learned during the BP disaster, experts inside and outside the company tells The Associated Press.
On the one hand, it could be another year before a bigger, better containment system and siphon cap has been developed to stifle leaks thousands of feet below the surface. In addition, existing skimmers do not yet have the ability to quickly suck millions of gallons of oil flowing at a time.
In interviews with The AP, environmentalists, industry veterans and government officials also said the industry needs better technology and more thorough testing and analysis to avoid burning from occurring in the first place.
And despite a review of the federal agency that regulates the industry, there are doubts about whether the government can effectively police the oil majors, while the industry is based on income.
“It will take five years before all these lessons are developed and can be applied,” said Louisiana State University environmental science professor Ed Overton.
Obama administration moratorium on drilling in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico is due November 30 and could be lifted even before amid pressure from the industry and its allies.
BP said last week that he realizes that there is still much work to do, the firing of a senior official responsible for deepwater wells. He also welcomed a new chief executive on Friday, the first American in history to lead the British company.
Erik Milito, director of upstream operations and industry for the industry group American Petroleum Institute, acknowledged room for improvement. But he insisted that the industry learned from the PR disaster, which began with the explosion of a platform April 20 that killed 11 workers. Fade out and threw more than 200 million gallons of crude oil before it finally crowned in mid-July.
“If it happens again, the difference will be that will stop a heck of a lot faster,” said Milito. “It will take 90 days again.”
Exxon Mobil Corp. is leading a coalition of oil companies building a unique system of its kind to contain an oil leak in water up to 10,000 feet – twice the depth of the explosion of the PA. BP recently joined the project of $ 1 billion and agreed to submit the equipment they use to kill time and galloping.
But it could be 16 months before the system is completed, tested and ready for use. Drawings of the proposed system show a cap and a series of underwater devices – including cables, an elevator, a collector and a piece of equipment that dispersing pump. The lines connecting the vessels on the surface.
Cleaning oil once it reaches the surface also remains problematic. Even with a large fleet of skimmers used during the crisis of BP, the process was slow going at times. Industry experts and others are pushing for the development of more efficient technology skimmer.
“We must do everything possible to get the most out of these technologies,” said Milito.
Industry and government are also facing try to prevent a disaster in the first place.
In its own report on the explosion, BP acknowledged among other things, that misconstrued a key pressure test of his long before the explosion. BP, which was the rental of drilling rig Transocean, also blamed the employees of both companies for not responding to other warning signs that the well was in danger of blowing.
Testimony before a federal investigative panel found that real-time data from the platform was available for BP managers on the coast, but not to Transocean. And two men were key to the smooth operation of the platform – one for the PA and one to Transocean – rarely had contact with each other, according to testimony.
Elgie Holstein, a former Energy Department official who now works for an environmental group, said it is a problem that real-time data on the ability of a well to withstand the pressure is usually only transmitted from the platform to headquarters of the company in charge of the case. He said the data should be available more widely to industry experts, a consortium of security or government security officers so they can determine if the readings are interpreted correctly.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu recently cited the need for more effective sensors in key components such as blowout preventers, which can quickly detect if the devices work properly. In the episode of the PA, the blowout preventer is not to stifle the flow of oil. Researchers are trying to figure out why.
Preventing another disaster as it will require a change in the safety culture of the industry, some experts say.
Last week, new CEO of BP announced the creation of a special police unit security practices across the enterprise.
“Our response to the incident must go beyond deepwater drilling,” said Bob Dudley. “There are lessons for us in relation to the way it operates, the way we organize our company and our way of managing risk.”
Haut Rica, an engineering expert who previously worked as manager of Exxon’s technology and deep water as technical director of Halliburton, said it is important that all oil and gas companies develop a culture of safety and “ensure that all in the executive suite to the rig floor to understand that. ”
Due to the moratorium on exploratory drilling in 33 deep-water platforms in the Gulf was suspended.
By law, BP had an important role in cleaning up the spill. But retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, who was in charge of the government’s response to the crisis, recently proposed that in the event of another disaster such as a third of the oil and gas industry that has no participation in the polluter benefits coordinate the cleanup.
Allen did not elaborate, except to say that may require a change in federal law. In Congress, there has been no movement on the idea.
The government’s relationship with the same companies they are supposed to regulate has also raised questions.
Following the BP oil spill, the Obama administration has reviewed the Minerals Management Service, renaming it the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the separation of conflicting responsibilities, both for monitoring the oil and gas and collecting billions in royalties from it.
However, the commission appointed by President Barack Obama to investigate the spill has questioned whether the government really has eliminated the conflict. It was noted that the reorganization would be the office responsible for managing leases along the Outer Continental Shelf and the office responsible for enforcing safety and environmental report to the same person.
“Do not be satisfied until the government demonstrates a continued willingness not only a desire for synthesis, to be a tough cop on the streets, and the industry keeps its promises of something like the collapse of the PA will not happen again” said Holstein, former Energy Department official.
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