BP Cuts Corners and Defective Well Causes Blast

New Jersey Attorneys - Defective Products

BP's defective well on the Transocean rig, Deepwater Horizon, causes an explosion that kills 11 people and causes the worst oil spill in US history.

Defective products are dangerous and potentially life threatening products that have either been designed, manufactured, or tested poorly or inadequately. Many deaths have resulted from defective products; products like cribs, toys, cars, and even clothing. Manufacturers of defective products that cause injury or death must be held accountable, which is why BP finds themselves in even hotter water. It’s been reported that BP’s negligence and desire to save money at the expense of thoroughness and safety directly resulted in the explosion on the Transocean rig “Deepwater Horizon,” which killed 11 workers and caused the biggest oil spill in United States history. They cut corners in 5 essential areas of preparation to save time and money.
However their shortcuts ended up proving more costly, time consuming, and above all, deadly. Lawmakers have faulted BP’s design of the oil well, the process they used to prepare a hole that was to be capped, their decision to skip testing the integrity of a very important cement sealer, the use of mud to clear gas from the well, and elimination of a final step to seal the well.

5 Areas of Defectiveness

Well Design

Five days prior to the blast, there was about 1200 feet of well that needed to be secured. The correct method for securing the remainder of the well would have been a tieback liner. This method would provide multiple barriers that would block the flow of gas that could trigger an explosion. BP decided that this method would be too costly and time consuming. Instead they used a “long string casing” (a single steel liner) that saved them at least 3 days and 7-10 million dollars. The casing was sealed in only two places, and did not provide the same protection against explosions that the proper method would have.

Centering the Casing

Centering the well casing reduces the risk of channel formation that could allow gas to flow up the well. On April 15th, BP informed Halliburton that they would use 6 “centralizers” on the well, when Halliburtons records showed that 21 “centralizers” were actually necessary. Objections were raised, but BP acted on none of them. On April 18th, a Halliburton account representative by the name of Jesse Gagliano reported that “the well is considered to have a severe gas flow problem.

Cement Bond

The cement bond log is a test to assess the integrity of the seal. BP skipped this test prior to the explosion. Lawmakers said that skipping the test “may have been driven by concerns about expense and time,”. Conducting the test would have cost $128,000, while canceling the work was about $10,000, the lawmakers said.

Gordon Aaker, a failure analysis consultant with Engineering Services LLP in Houston, said it was “unheard of” not to conduct the test and called BP’s decision “horribly negligent.”

Mud Circulation

A widely used and recommended practice is to fill a well with weighted mud during the drilling process before cementing. This process takes about 12 hours and allows workers to check for gas leaks and eliminates debris. BP also decided to eliminate this step.

Lockdown Sleeve

A Lockdown Sleeve is a piece of equipment that holds the well’s casing in place. It works to prevent the casing from floating above the head of the well and letting gases build up. Both Transocean and Halliburton have stated that eliminating this step was a key procedural mistake on BP’s part.

Have You Been Affected by a Defective Product?

These five major errors have caused great loss to our gulf coast and to the families of the 11 workers that died in the blast. All of it so that BP could save some money. If you or a loved one have been injured by a defective product, don’t let the manufacturer get away with their negligence. Contact us for a free case evaluation, or call us for a free consultation, at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.

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