Halliburton, Transocean Strike Back At BP Oil Spill Report

Halliburton and Transocean have struck back at their partner in the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that exploded and caused the massive Gulf oil spill, criticizing the findings of a BP investigation report released Sept. 8 that found them equally to blame for the catastrophe.


"This is a self-serving report that attempts to conceal the critical factor that set the stage for the Macondo incident: BP's fatally flawed well design," Transocean said in a statement.  "In both its design and construction, BP made a series of cost-saving decisions that increased risk - in some cases, severely." 


Transocean said those decisions, "made exclusively by BP," included:  


  • Using a long production string rather than a casing tie back, decreasing the number of barriers to gas flow.
  • Neglecting to run a cement bond log to test the integrity of the cement.
  • Installing fewer than one-third of the recommended number of centralizers, dramatically increasing the risk of cement channeling and gas flow.
  • Failing to conduct a complete "bottoms up" circulation of the well to insure the quality of the cement seal.
  • Not running a lockdown sleeve to secure the production string to the well head, eliminating yet another barrier to a blowout.  

"Transocean's investigation is ongoing, and will be concluded when all of the evidence is in, including the critical information the company has requested of BP but has yet to receive," Transocean said.  


Halliburton's response was subtler, but critical:  


"As we continue to review BP's internal report, we have noticed a number of substantial omissions and inaccuracies in the document," Halliburton said in a statement.  "Halliburton remains confident that all the work it performed with respect to the Macondo well was completed in accordance with BP's specifications for its well construction plan and instructions, and that it is fully indemnified under its contract for any of the allegations contained in the report. 


"Deepwater operations are inherently complex and a number of contractors are involved which routinely make recommendations to a single point of contact, the well owner," it added. " The well owner is responsible for designing the well program and any testing related to the well.  Contractors do not specify well design or make decisions regarding testing procedures as that responsibility lies with the well owner." 


The company said it will provide additional comments regarding the report as appropriate. 


On its Web site (, BP says:  


"No single factor caused the Macondo well tragedy. Rather, a sequence of failures involving a number of different parties led to the explosion and fire which killed 11 people and caused widespread pollution in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year."

BP's Sept. 8 report concludes that decisions made by "multiple companies and work teams" contributed to the accident which it says arose from "a complex and interlinked series of mechanical failures, human judgments, engineering design, operational implementation and team interfaces."