Thursday, November 18, 2010

National Academy of Engineering Preliminary Report on the loss of the Deepwater Horizon

NAE Report (PDF)

Excellent report. I don't have as much time as I'd like to go through it in detail, unfortunately.

A couple quick notes:
* I like how it emphasizes the importance of the delicate fracture gradient to the cementing operation. Any idiot could throw cement down a hole, but with this setup, too much cement (too heavy) would fracture the formation, lose the cement, and not seal the hole. Too little cement, no seal in the hole, boom (what happened). Hitting it right on the nose was what a well engineered cementing plan was supposed to do.
* Personnel shifting around so much is a sign that a company doesn't take something seriously. I watched the engineers testify on CSPAN back in August and I'll say that there was at least 1 engineer who looked like he knew what he was doing (also, the only one who had a P.E.). Unfortunately, he was only on the job for about 2 weeks before the well blew. Whoops.
* Training. OTJ isn't going to cut it anymore for personnel running half-billion dollar assets, drilling $100 million wells, with tens of billions of dollars in consequences for mistakes.
Containment Boom

Update: Gullfaks C Report Finished by Statoil. Blowout averted by "sheer luck". After overbalanced drilling caused a poorly-constructed casing to crack, the well lost mud, losing control. Cuttings plugging the production screen was the only thing that stopped another blowout.

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