BP Cut Corners on Well Casing

Went with riskier option because it was cheaper

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted May 27, 2010 6:55 AM CDT

(Newser) – First rule of business, kids: cut costs where you can. For example, if you can buy a cheaper cement for the casing pipe in your oil well, and the only risk is that it might fail to seal, let gas leak in, and lead to a massive explosion, you should definitely do it. Just ask BP. It deliberately selected the cheaper type of casing, fully aware that, in the event of a leak, it provided only a single seal as barrier, according to a document provided to Congress and the New York Times; the more expensive option would have provided two.

In the document, the company notes the risk, but refers to it as the “best economic case.” Another cost cutting measure apparently caused a fight aboard the rig shortly before the explosion. The chief Deepwater Horizon mechanic testified yesterday that he witnessed a “skirmish” between the BP site leader and TransOcean's crew members over BP's decision to replace the heavy drilling fluid in the pipe with seawater. “Well, this is how it's going to be,” the site leader declared.

A live video feed of the gulf oil spill is seen during a news conference held by Senators Barbara Boxer and Benjamin Cardin on Capitol Hill, May 26, 2010.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
A frame grab from video provided by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee shows oil gushing from the blown well in the Gulf of Mexico, where the Deepwater Horizon rig sank last month.   (AP Photo/Senate Environment and Public Works Committee)
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