The Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster was caused by a faulty design of the blowout preventer and a piece of trapped pipe, says an official report published by the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Department of the Interior. According to the 551-page report, "The primary cause of failure was identified as the blind shear rams failing to fully close and seal due to a portion of drill pipe trapped between the pipes." The shear rams are a part of the blowout preventer that was designed by Cameron and maintained by Transocean Ltd.
A civil engineering professor from the University of Alabama responded to the report by saying, "[E]very set of blind shear rams out there may have this problem. We need to look at every set of blind shear rams out there and make sure they all don't have this problem." Well what are we waiting for?
The probe pulls some of the blame for the spill away from BP and towards Cameron and Transocean, but according to a Miami attorney, "[BP] should have known the equipment was insufficient to maintain well control. We shouldn't be finding this out now. They should have known this before."
Blame doesn't matter much in an environmental disaster like this. What matters is doing the best job of cleaning the mess up, determining what went wrong, and ensuring that it never happens again.
Photo: Oil covers the surface of the Gulf of Mexico on the vicinity of BP's Deepwater Horizon spill source on June 17, 2010. (Daniel Beltra/Reuters/Greenpeace)