All I hear Is Drilling, Drilling, Drilling

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August 25, 2010


In today’s examination of Harry Thierens, BP’s vice president for drilling and completion, Deepwater Investigation board chairman Captain Hung Nguyen uttered strong statements about safety and the culture of deepwater drilling. While he made a few critical mistakes, like suggesting that having a separate OIM and Captain is standard industry practice (it is not), other points where right on target like the express need for a MODU like the Deepwater Horizon to have a Fast Rescue Boat aboard. Then there where his comments that where simply…. how do we put it…. strong in nature. The following are some of the key comments that he made:

“Not a lot of things are well coordinated here. This operation is a three legged stool with an OIM, Master and Companyman. With Haliburton recommending one thing and BP going with another.”

In terms of Transocean segmenting duties between performance and asset managers, separate technical departments (subsea, drilling, etc) and marine authorities he commented; “There are a lot of stove pipes in terms of drilling, marine systems, maintenance, etc. But I don’t see how these segments are coordinated onshore.”

“There where a lot of lessons learned during the Piper Alpha incident that have not been followed thru to today. Does the industry just expect this sort of thing to happen every 25 years, is the industry ok with that?”

And, most strongly he stated… “It seems like everything I hear is Drilling, Drilling, Drilling A lot of things of importance when we go into an emergency phase, or even before that, are not being coordinated. Who is concentrating on Marine Firefighting?”

gCaptain has brought up marine firefighting issues since our inception and, more recently has supported individual ideas like stand-by emergency vessels, lessons to be learned from previous incidents and the importance of maintaining a continuity of information but the USCG’s comments today suggest the need for a major shift in the thinking of marine safety offshore, a paradigm shift.

If gCaptain was running an offshore drilling company we would immediately put a second E on HS&E to make sure these departments concentrate on Health. Safety, Environment and Emergencies. The USCG is sending strong signals on the direction in which it will push change, if the industry wishes to retain control of their own fate they need to step in front of this move and begin concentrating on major emergency management starting today.

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