Download e-book Disaster on the Horizon: High Stakes, High Risks, and the Story Behind the Deepwater Well Blowout

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His is the perspective of someone who understands the cultural and political elements of offshore drilling, but he also delivers the criticism it deserves. He is also able to maintain realism about both the problems of oil dependence and the logistical challenge of getting off petroleum any time soon.

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Cavnar offers a thorough examination on the regulatory system that allowed this disaster to take place, and of the revolving door and close relationship between industry and the government that developed over the years. The portion of the book devoted to where we should go from here left me wanting a bit. Given that nothing has really changed in terms of policy and politics on the issue in the past year, A more detailed look at what should and can be changed would have added to the conversation.

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Oil and Gas Development and the Environment

Worksite Wellness. Bob Cavnar is a plus year veteran of the oil and gas industry with deep experience in business start-ups, turn-arounds, and management of oil and gas companies, following a personal commitment to corporate responsibility, environmental leadership, and safe operations. What may seem like a dodge turns out to be a brave choice, avoiding easy answers, adding subtlety and humanity to a story told largely from the deck of the rig.

Deepwater Horizon Blowout Animation

Konrad and Shroder ultimately let the facts speak for themselves. In fact, BP and Transocean were freakishly obsessed with safety. Their definition of safety, though, was too narrow, a slip-and-fall mentality that gave short shrift to the multiple accident pathways endemic to complex technology. Konrad, who skippered a rig similar to the Deepwater Horizon, left Transocean in a dispute over safety, so it comes as no surprise that the book pulls no punches on the topic.

Some of the obsession for occupational safety would be comic if not for the known end of this tale. BP was infamous for penalizing such activities as walking a stairway with a hot cup of coffee at its home office. There was a strict no-knives rule on the rig, which makes sense until the survivors of the wreck struggle to disengage their lifeboat from a rope that kept them tethered to the burning wreck.

It would be interesting to know the color of stickers on the people who made major decisions such as how to interpret pressure tests, what kind of cement to use and how to finish off the final track of the well, with precious little review, and if some testimony is to be believed, a bit of chest bumping.

But the real payoff of having a fine journalist such as Shroder working alongside a graduate of the SUNY Maritime College comes when they explain the physics of drilling and how it went wrong at the Macondo well last April Their vivid and clear explanations of cementing, casing design and the process of drilling could have helped many a reporter in the four months of covering the spill.

This is the McPhee side of the book.

Disaster on the horizon : high stakes, high risks, and the

Imagine standing on the observation deck of the Empire State Building and attempting to lower a soda bottle at the end of a 1,foot-long string into a garbage can on the sidewalk, " the authors write of the task of connecting a blowout preventer to a well bore. Imagine an observer with a cell phone at the bottom giving directions as the bottle descended. Every motion made by the person on the observation deck would take time to translate down the long string, and the effect on the bottle of his movements interacting with the swirling winds would be virtually unpredictable.

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But all of that would be easy compared with what the crew of the Horizon was attempting to accomplish…. The authors mince no words on actions that were taken to save time and money — something BP denies to this day. Managers such as Morel were graded annually on how much money they saved the company, and the managers regularly detailed their money-saving activities.

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In compiling the internal report, investigators never explored whether those pressures might have trumped safety concerns. Under oath, witnesses admitted that they skimmed documents. They did not recognize that engineering anomalies were shouts of warning. They rushed. They behaved as if past results were an accurate prediction of future events.