Discussion: Gulf Oil Spill PHA Peers Review 1

Provide a classmate review on their discussion topic :

For this module discussion activity, provide your response to the following:

Continuing on the gulf oil spill, now that you have constructed the report for your boss on the hazards associated with the oil platform, detail what you found to be the highest risk along with why you think so. What did you recommend should be done to eliminate/mitigate it?

Classmate post that you need to post comment/ review on :

During my Preliminary Hazard Analysis (PHA) I found the highest risk was the failure of the Blowout Preventer (BOP).

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was catastrophic in many ways, but it is historic because of the oil spill size, a direct result of the Blowout Preventer failure. Had the BOP worked as designed, the Deepwater Horizon disaster would have been limited to a rig explosion, the tragic loss of life, but not 87 days of oil spewing into the Gulf Coast.

The investigation report by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) stated that efforts by the rig crew to close the BOP pipe at the wellhead “established a large pressure differential that buckled the steel drill pipe inside the BOP, bending it outside the effective reach of the BOP’s last-resort safety device, the blind shear ram” (WorkBoat Staff, 2014). With the pipe bent, there was no way to seal the well. In fact, the bending of the pipe is not the only reason the blind shear ram (BSR) failed to seal the well. The CSB report found that the BSR, even on an unbent pipe, was under-designed to properly cut and seal the 6-5/8” pipe.

While the BSR was able to be operated during the Deepwater Horizon event, it was discovered that two miswirings existed in the system. The primary activation system did not function due to its miswiring, but the secondary fortunately had two issues that canceled each other out allowing the BSR to activate. Though activated as stated above, the BSR did not fully seal the well.

During the time of Deepwater Horizon, there was no oversight and regulation to offshore critical safety systems, such as the BOP and BSR. BP did not rigorously test their BOP emergency systems in extremist conditions and would have been unaware of the bent pipe issues with the BSR. Tests onshore, had they been conducted, would have discovered the miswirings.

To mitigate the risk of BOP failure in the future, regulation, and oversight of critical safety systems are required. With oil rigs operating in varying capacities, depths of waters, and different companies, there needs to be a larger safety presence to ensure systems meet performance requirements, complete functional tests of key safety features, and follow standardized procedures. Had some oversight and safety tests been conducted on Deepwater Horizon BOP, the well may have been fully sealed.

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