Deepwater and risk creep

Saving this great Slate article about Deepwater Horizon (and the recently released movie) for later …

“The blowout of BP’s Macondo Prospect well was a case study in how a series of small mistakes and misjudgments, when not caught in time, can snowball into catastrophe.”

“The reality is that both BP and Transocean had grown dangerously overconfident and were pushing too close to the edge. Perhaps overly impressed by the team’s good safety record, federal regulators routinely rubber-stamped the BP/Transocean proposals. Moreover, despite claims to the contrary, none of the drilling companies in the Gulf had a workable scheme to cope with a massive oil spill. The entire industry had succumbed to risk creep: Over the decades, drillers gradually moved into deeper waters and sunk wells that involved much greater internal pressures and hazards. The technologies and regulations originally developed for shallow waters were updated in response, but not to a degree commensurate with the growing risks. So, even as drillers were getting more proficient, disaster was becoming more, not less, likely.”

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