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Oil Spill Commission Releases Report on Deepwater Horizon Accident, P.1

America's national Oil Spill Commission released their official report last week on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster that occurred in the spring of last year. The commission's report finds the scope of actual damage was mitigated from initial speculation due to the assistance of multiple environmental factors, yet the industrial accident still demonstrated very little sympathy in its assault on the economic health of states bordering the gulf.

The commission details multiple factors that lead to the ultimate mishandling of the situation. These of course include the three private companies most directly involved which are owner of the rig British Petroleum and the two agencies contracted to work on the rig, Halliburton and Transocean. Though in an interesting twist, the commission's report also calls out a key US government agency's ineptitude as a significant contributing factor to the industrial accident.

The report specifically takes to task the governmental agency in charge of promoting the expansion of drilling in the gulf, claiming that agency had a duty to balance expansion goals with continued safety efforts. Officials in charge of the operation lacked both experience and training in dealing with such complex large-scale drilling operations. The commission found corners were often cut in the budget when it came to safety measures, including a lack of resources devoted to scenario planning in the case of such a large and continuous oil spill.

In our next post, we will discuss recommendations made in the Oil Spill Commission's report and how such recommendations are being received by a key player in the industry, the American Petroleum Institute.

Source: The Economist "Cleaning up a mess" 1/11/11

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