Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Truth Will Out

When you want to know what twisted off to begin a multi-billion dollar disaster like the BP oil gusher spewing millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf, what you don’t do is listen to the CEOs. First, they don’t have a clue. Second, they are protecting the company and the stockholders. Third, they might just be liable for prosecution.

So the person or persons you want to be listening to is the guy who stood outside the door when the decisions went down. Not the guys in the room doing the arguing, they all have motives.

You want to listen to the fly on the wall.

That’s my experience, in dealing with oil and gas exploration companies. I have some personal experience in this, you see.

So I think the fly on the wall has started to speak, and I am all ears.

From AP via The Houston Chronicle:
“In a handwritten statement to the Coast Guard obtained by the AP, Transocean rig worker Truitt Crawford said: ‘I overheard upper management talking saying that BP was taking shortcuts by displacing the well with saltwater instead of mud without sealing the well with cement plugs, this is why it blew out.’”

“At a Coast Guard hearing in New Orleans, Doug Brown, chief rig mechanic aboard the platform, testified that the trouble began at a meeting hours before the blowout, with a ‘skirmish’ between a BP official and rig workers who did not want to replace heavy drilling fluid in the well with saltwater.”

“The switch presumably would have allowed the company to remove the fluid and use it for another project, but the seawater would have provided less weight to counteract the surging pressure from the ocean depths.”

“Brown said the BP official, whom he identified only as the ‘company man,’ overruled the drillers, declaring, ‘This is how it's going to be.’ Brown said the top Transocean official on the rig grumbled, ‘Well, I guess that's what we have those pinchers for,’ which he took to be a reference to devices on the blowout preventer, the five-story piece of equipment that can slam a well shut in an emergency.”
I knew it.

A top-down management decision to overrule the experienced drillers in an effort to save a buck, to move the mud to another location where it was needed, prematurely took the “lid” out of the drill string that was holding back overpressured crude oil and the well kicked, then blew out.

Somebody needs to start looking around for this “company man” now, and anyone who leaned on him from above causing him to issue these orders, including anyone who incentivized these guys to make these poor decisions.

Eleven lives were ended as a result of these deciders. Thousands stand to lose their livelihoods. The marshlands are being sterilized as I type this.

The truth will out, and there will be justice.

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