Time for a professional assessment

The real issues of what caused the Gulf oil spill, the failure of technology to staunch it, and where the responsibility lies are being obscured by American xenophobism.

This was a BP operation, but other companies were involved, and we need a cool look at the accident, its planning and oversight, and the over-arching issue of our need for oil.

Transocean owned and operated the rig while other American firms provided the mud engineering (Swaco), sea bed cementing (Halliburton), and blowout preventer valves (Cameron).

It is clear the well design was disastrous, the cementing poor with no bond logs, and the decision to displace drilling mud with sea water 8,000ft below the drill deck was insane.

Yet it is also clear that the Department of Interior’s Minerals Management Service failed to properly assess and manage the natural hazards.

Risk assessment is essential when drilling for oil a mile down on the ocean floor and whatever the regulations, if anything went wrong, there was no immediate remedy.

This is not only a failure of BP’s planning – it is a failure of American drilling procedures and Federal regulation.

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