Oil Rig Disaster Enabled By Lack Of Regulation
For all the anti-government spewing taking place, it appears as though regulation of oil rigs could have prevented the Gulf disaster. A series of equipment failures underscores how little regulation there is at off-shore drilling sites.
Wednesday’s hearings by congressional and administration panels – in Washington and in Louisiana – laid out a checklist of unseen breakdowns on largely unregulated aspects of well safety that appear to have contributed to the April 20 blowout: a leaky cement job, a loose hydraulic fitting, a dead battery.
The sequence of events indicates how lack of oversight might have prevented the leakage.
Shortly after midnight, nearly 22 hours before the explosion, contractor Halliburton finished pumping cement into the well. Heavy cement is used to fill gaps around the drill piping and block any surge of natural gas or oil.
Also Wednesday, a group of Louisiana crab fishermen claimed in a lawsuit that Halliburton – with permission from BP and rig owner Transocean – used a new quick-curing cement mix with nitrogen. It supposedly generates more heat than other recipes and could allow dangerous bursts of methane gas to escape up the well.
…industry officials acknowledged a fistful of regulatory and operational gaps: There is no government standard for design or installation of blowout preventers. The federal government doesn’t routinely inspect them before they are installed. Their emergency systems usually go untested once they are set on the seafloor at the mouth of the well. The federal government doesn’t require a backup.
But then the government is too big and we have to get rid of it to give people more “freedom,” right?Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2010 Liberaland