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BSEE Issues 2nd Set of Deepwater Horizon Violations

2011-12-07 NEW ORLEANS

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) today issued a second set of regulatory violations arising from operations conducted in connection with the Macondo well. The violations were issued as Incidents of Non-Compliance (INC). A total of five INCs were issued by faxed letter to BP; four of the INCs were violations of one regulation in different sections of the well.

“Our federal regulations exist to ensure safe and environmentally-responsible activities.  We will continue to be vigilant in enforcing those regulations,” said BSEE Director James Watson. “Further review of the evidence demonstrated additional regulatory violations by BP in its drilling and abandonment operations at the Macondo well.”

The following is a listing of the federal regulations and INCs issued today to BP:

One violation of 30 CFR 250.427 – BP failed to conduct an accurate pressure integrity test at the 13-5/8” liner shoe.
Four violations of 30 CFR 250.427(b) – BP failed to suspend drilling operations at the Macondo well when the safe drilling margin identified in the approved application for permit to drill was not maintained.

BSEE’s regulations governing the issuance of regulatory violations provides for a 60-day appeal period.  Once the appeal period has ended, BSEE will consider the imposition of civil penalties.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE)/U.S. Coast Guard Joint Investigation Team released its final investigative report on the April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon explosion, loss of life, and resulting oil spill on September 14, 2011. Volume II, covering the areas of the investigation under BOEMRE (now BSEE) jurisdiction, includes findings on the direct and contributing causes of the Macondo blowout and the resulting explosion and fire aboard the Deepwater Horizon. The JIT found evidence that BP, Transocean and Halliburton’s conduct in connection with the operations at the Macondo well violated a number of federal offshore safety regulations under BOEMRE’s jurisdiction. The report is available at: http://www.boemre.gov/ooc/press/2011/press0914.htm.

In its letter to BP of October 12, 2011, issuing the original INCs, BSEE advised BP that the regulatory violations might be supplemented as additional evidence was reviewed.  The additional INCs issued today are the result of that further review during which BSEE personnel who were not members of the JIT investigation conducted their own detailed examination of the underlying data and evidence related to the Deepwater Horizon drilling operations.  More information regarding the initial INCs issued to BP, Transocean and Halliburton can be found at: http://www.bsee.gov/BSEE-Newsroom/Press-Releases/2011/press10122011.aspx.

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