Halliburton today blamed BP’s well design for the Macondo well blowout, sinking of the Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible, and the oil spill in the US Gulf of Mexico and defended its role in the run-up to the fatal disaster.
Halliburton, which was responsible for the cementing work in the well, to which BP attributed the blowout, said today that BP’s report on the event was a questionable account of the events leading up to the blowout and that it reached erroneous conclusions.
Thomas Roth, vice president of cementing for Halliburton, challenged BP’s contention that his company’s cement job was faulty and allowed oil and gas to flow up to the drilling rig causing the blowout. He told the US Interior Department panel of experts yesterday that is drawing up a report on the disaster’s causes, “BP’s well design and operational decisions compromised well integrity.” He said that BP employees ignored “multiple red flags” indicating the well wasn’t properly sealed and that hydrocarbons could escape.
Roth said, “Notwithstanding all the red flags, BP did not change its decision tree.” He added that BP did not take further safety precautions when potential problems with the well arose and said the design of the well was the cause of the blowout, that it did not include additional barriers despite the unusual challenges the well presented. “The well design limited the ability to run a full cement bond log test,” he said.
Kent Corser, BP’s drilling engineering manager who participated in the company’s own investigation into the disaster, said, “We think it was a robust design.”
Halliburton also pointed to BP’s decision to use six devices to center the drillpipe within the well instead of 21, the number that Roth said his company recommended. Using fewer of these centralizers made it more difficult for the cement to seal the pipe, he said.