Where the blame lies

The Gulf oil disaster is not only a failure of BP’s planning – it is also a failure of American drilling procedures and Federal regulation. Attention should focus on the Halliburton’s dodgy cementing and on the failure of Cameron International’s blowout preventer to fully engage. In addition, just hours before the explosion, a decision was taken to displace the protective drilling mud with seawater. The BP and Transocean engineers involved in that highly controversial move have refused to testify on the Fifth Amendment grounds of self-incrimination. Yet it is also clear that the US government, driven by our over-arching need for energy, failed to assess and manage the risks of drilling for oil a mile down on the ocean floor.


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