The latest (Volume 4) in a series of reports from the US Chemical Safety Board’s investigation into the Macondo blowout includes lessons for the regulator. Previously, legal considerations limited the flow of information from BP and Transocean.
In 2016, testimony from rig personnel who had previously invoked the 5th amendment has brought new insights. The final phase of BOP testing revealed latent failures in the BOP, even before it was deployed to the wellhead. Other records have shed light on the interplay between BP, Transocean and the regulator. The CSB found ‘vaguely-established safety roles and responsibilities that affected human performance and major accident risk management.’
In its 130 page report, the CSB judges that while the April 2015 BSEE* well control regulations and pilot risk-based inspection program are ‘positive efforts,’ they do not constitute an adequate framework for major accident prevention. An improved approach is needed to avoid another Macondo-like event and to reduce risks to ‘as low as reasonably practicable.’ The CSB found that ‘a culture of minimal regulatory compliance continues to exist in the Gulf of Mexico and risk reduction continues to prove elusive.’
* Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
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