Preliminary technical conclusions of the BP Oil Spill Commission

Editor's note:  This is a verbatim reproduction of matetrial posted by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling during Meeting 5, November 8-9, 2010, Washington D.C. The Commission's purpose is to examine the facts and circumstances to determine the cause of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster.

Prelimary Conclusions-Technical

  • Flow path was exclusively through shoe track and up through casing.
  • Cement (potentially contaminated or displaced by other materials) in shoe track and in some portion of annular space failed to isolate hydrocarbons.
  • Pre-job laboratory data should have prompted redesign of cement slurry.
  • Cement evaluation tools might have identified cementing failure, but most operators would not have run tools at that time. They would have relied on the negative pressure test.
  • Negative pressure test repeatedly showed that primary cement job had not isolated hydrocarbons.
  • Despite those results, BP and TO personnel treated negative pressure test as a complete success.
  • BP’s temporary abandonment procedures introduced additional risk.
  • Number of simultaneous activities and nature of flow monitoring equipment made kick detection more difficult during riser displacement.
  • Nevertheless, kick indications were clear enough that if observed would have allowed the rig crew to have responded earlier.
  • Once the rig crew recognized the influx, there were several options that might have prevented or delayed the explosion and/or shut in the well.
  • Diverting overboard might have prevented or delayed the explosion. Triggering the EDS prior to the explosion might have shut in the well and limited the impact of any explosion and/or the blowout.
  • Technical conclusions regarding BOP should await results of forensic BOP examination and testing.
  • No evidence at this time to suggest that there was a conscious decision to sacrifice safety concerns to save money.


(2011). Preliminary technical conclusions of the BP Oil Spill Commission. Retrieved from


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