This morning, BP released the results of an investigation (led by BP's own head of safety), that found, not surprisingly, that there was plenty of blame to go around in the creation of the world's largest oil and gas industry disaster. The investigation points to the failed cement job, the inaccurate read on the negative pressure test, the failure of the blow-out preventer, and a few so-far less-discussed mistakes.
While it will be helpful to understand how this exact blow-out occurred, all you need to do is look at the past few weeks, months, and years of oil industry screw ups to understand this is an inherently dirty, dangerous business, and fighting the last war won't necessarily prepare us for the next, inevitable mess.
While any investigation headed up by BP has as much credibility as my 3 year-old daughter's nightly assertions that it's not bed-time yet, BP cops to much, but not all here. Ultimately, the report is going to be used to bolster BP's case against the other potentially responsible parties, such as Transocean and Halliburton.
Frankly, I have fewer concerns about three enormous energy companies duking it out over who pays how much of the billions in liability then I do about the issues not covered in the report. Specifically, we need to make sure BP, the federal government, and the entire oil & gas industry have far better plans and practices in place to respond to their mistakes. When I flew over BP's disaster three days after the rig sank, they still didn't have skimmers on the scene that were capable of dealing with real-world conditions of the Gulf, like 2 or 3 foot seas. Additionally, we need to start moving to a new energy future that leaves us less reliant on hydrocarbons, and dials back the pressure on oil companies to deliver 'elephant' oil and gas fields with eye-popping flow rates.
Aaron Viles is GRN's campaign director. Follow him on twitter @GulfAaron.