Four days before the Deepwater Horizon explosion, a BP official sent an email in reference to the potential of a well malfunction with the comment: “Who cares? It’s done. End of story” and “Will probably be fine, and we’ll get a good cement job.”
He was responding to recommendations by Haliburton engineers that BP should install 21 centralizer mechanisms to ensure the casing ran straight into the well, but BP decided to use only six, according to ABC News.
This is one of several shards of information falling out of the Congressional investigation into the disaster and what BP officials really knew prior to the event. In another (now public) email, a BP engineer wrote, “We have flipped design parameters around to the point I got nervous,” in reference to the high-pressure design engineering he and other engineers had been saddled with to finish the job.
All of this seems to be indicating that BP was well aware of the dangers surrounding the Deepwater well, but pushed ahead anyway to avoid paying additional $500,000 per day overbooking fees for the rig.
I wonder to what extent this apparent foreknowledge influenced BP officials to hightail it to Washington so quickly after the event. If these emails and other documents surfaced internally at BP, I’m certain their their legal and risk management specialists went into overdrive to make sure the company appeared as dumbstruck about the event as anyone.
And then we have this story at Mother Jones that includes comments from a survivor of the explosion which call into question BP’s version of events. BP claims that after two failed pressure tests on the well were performed, a third test showing negative pressure was successfully completed. But Halliburton service supervisor Christopher Haire, who helped conduct the first two tests, indicated via his lawyer that the third test never happened. Given what else we now know, it’s hard to doubt him.