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Surprise! BP's Internal Deepwater Horizon Investigation Is Flawed

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 fatigue.

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.