Report faults industry, regulators for Deepwater Horizon oil spill

January 4, 2012
Washington – A new report identifies a lack of safety management, ineffective regulatory oversight and poor safety culture as factors in the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The report, released Dec. 14 by the nonprofit National Academy of Engineering, claims the companies involved with the drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico failed to plan for safety challenges and made a series of “questionable” decisions leading up to the explosion that killed 11 workers.

The offshore drilling industry and regulators relied on blowout preventer systems despite past warnings of the equipment’s potential to fail in an emergency, and management and crew also missed signs of the impending well blowout, the report stated.

The report advises companies to take a “system safety” approach to managing hazards and said  regulators should combine strong industry safety goals with mandatory oversight during drilling operations. Other recommendations address fostering safety culture, improving reporting for safety-related incidents, and expanding safety research and development.