Causes of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster


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One cause of the deepwater horizon disaster was equipment failure. There were numerous tests performed that showed ineffective sealing of the oil rig. There was also the riser and well that were impacted by chemicals flowing into them. Chemicals flowing into the equipment is a key way to contaminate the machinery and create an explosion of the magnitude of deepwater horizon. The blowout prevent (BOP) was also defective, but BP rushed its workers to complete the task as fast as possible. Although tests determined these problems were present, they were overlooked and work on the project continued as usual.

Human negligence is also to blame for the oil spill of 2010. “Repeated negative pressure tests” were overlooked and this was the result of humans not contemplating the risks that could result from such oversight. Knowledge of machines and chemical processes also contributes to the explosion. While it is true that those in charge of the work did overlook the oil rig problems, it may be that they were negligent due to ignorance. Perhaps they really did not know the problems going on with the oil rig; their ignorance of mechanical defect and chemical processes is what prevented them from doing something to investigate the problems. The ignorance of the deepwater horizon oil rig personnel can be seen in the following mishaps:

  • Attempting to handle hydrocarbon and brine zones at the same time the oil rig personnel forgot that these zones had different fluid pressures and could not use the same sealant to ensure the safety of the zones. The zone fluid pressures also indicates that too little sealant would cause chemicals to make their way into the well, causing an explosion.
  • Choosing to use strings to seal up the well instead of cement in the uncased portion
  • Using six centralisers to cement the casing and formation rock; studies suggest that many more than six were needed
  • Not placing more mud into the well before cementing, allowing the cement to contaminate the well
  • Not checking the cement after loading it into the well; pressure tests continued to affirm that the cement had become contaminated
  • A float shoe was not added to the casing as a way to further offset the flow of chemicals into the well
  • The blowout preventer had an emergency disconnect system and shaft that did not operate as designed
  • Other alarms and safety systems malfunctioned at the time of the work, which prevented crewmen and other workers from evacuating the ship safely.

There are a host of other reasons, but these reasons (as provided in the preliminary report on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill) indicate that there was both machine malfunction and human neglect responsible for the tragedy. As a result, victims of the oil spill are to be financially compensated from the BP settlement fund. To file a BP claim and receive your benefits, contact a BP oil spill lawyer as soon as possible. You did not create your pain and suffering, so you should not have to live with it.