Surprise! BP’s Internal Deepwater Horizon Investigation Is Flawed

A panel from the National Academy of Engineering is publicly questioning BP’s findings.

BP logo duck covered in oil


Earlier this month, BP released a nearly 200-page report that attempts to parse out the series of events that led to the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The report is, of course, biased in BP’s favor–the investigation deflects much of the blame away from BP and onto Halliburton and Transocean. And now a panel from the National Academy of Engineering is publicly questioning BP’s findings.

The Associated Press reports:

The National Academy of Engineering panel noted that the study
avoided organizational flaws that could have contributed to the blast.
BP has focused much of its work on decisions made on the rig, not with
the managers on shore.
Najmedin Meshkati, a professor at the Viterbi School of Engineering
at the University of Southern California, said he wondered why BP named
its report an accident investigation when it left critical elements
out. He asked BP to turn over information on shift duration and worker

BP’s report didn’t just leave out information about rig workers. It also failed to investigate the well’s blowout preventer (a safety device that should have prevented the accident). The NAE panel also questioned BP’s claim that the well blowout occurred at the center of the pipe and not outside of BP’s shoddy well casing. And while BP claims that the cement provided by Halliburton to seal the well was unstable, the company never actually tested samples of the stuff.


As we mentioned before, BP’s report will most likely play only a tiny part in the Department of Justice’s possible civil and criminal charges against the company. The National Academy of Engineering’s preliminary findings, set to be released by the end of October, will be much more relevant.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.


About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more