Category: Gulf oil spill

Spill hearings: Just one witness *update*

Sperry Sun mud logger and Transocean manager scheduled to testify won’t show today. (Photo: Nick de la Torre/Houston Chronicle)  More »

How safe is offshore drilling?

The industry still believes that the Deepwater Horizon was a singular event that deviated from standard procedures. But Loren Steffy wonders, is the industry ignoring broader warning signs that its safety record may be slipping? (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)  More »

Spill hearings: Last day for second-to-last run

The final day of Coast Guard/BOEMRE hearings includes a Halliburton mud logger and two Transocean managers. The next set of hearings, likely in February, will concern the failed blowout preventer, seen here being recovered from the well site. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)  More »

Environmental rule expected to delay offshore drilling

The Obama administration will require environmental studies before approving any deep-water wells – a new regulatory hurdle that virtually assures the government will not green-light any of those projects soon. (AP Photo)  More »

Spill hearings: Deadly smoke break or more to the story?

Joseph Keith, a senior mud logger for Sperry Sun, told a government panel Tuesday he was on break when data may have shown signs of trouble at the Macondo well. Previously he told BP officials he never left his workstation. (Photo: Nick de la Torre/Houston Chronicle)  More »

BP has a history of ‘flying close to the wind’

The following is an excerpt from Drowning in Oil: BP and the Reckless Pursuit of Profit by Houston Chronicle business columnist Loren Steffy, published this month by McGraw-Hill.  More »

Response by rig crew was late, BP executive says

Steve Robinson, a BP vice president, told government investigators that the company has not reached a definitive conclusion about the delayed response, but it may have been because of distractions to effective well monitoring.  More »

Spill hearings: BP manager pushed on safety and cost-cutting

Investigators question whether a corporate push to lower costs by 7 percent led to a decreased emphasis on managing risk and safety. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)  More »

At issue at spill hearings: If ship- to-shore call covered pressure test

BP has wanted to depict the final hours on the rig leading up to the blowout as happening without the knowledge of onshore company officials. But notes taken by Steve Robinson, an executive from BP’s Alaska operations who helped lead the company’s internal investigation, may indicate such a discussion happened, according to lawyers.  More »

Spill commission leader wants radical overhaul of industry

William Reilly, the co-chairman of the presidential oil spill commission, issued a challenge to the oil and gas industry today: Make safety your top priority, or risk another catastrophe and the prospect that it could shut down offshore drilling for good. (Photo: AP/J. Scott Applewhite)  More »

Spill hearings: Signs of trouble at 8:58 p.m.

There was a 43 minute lag between the first sign of trouble in the well data and when the crew first acted, according to one of BP’s in-house investigators. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)  More »

Spill hearings: Day 2, BP engineers on tap

Yesterday’s hearings were notable for admissions from a Sperry Sun worker that he was on a break when monitors he was supposed to watch showed signs that could have been a clue to the pending blowout. Today two BP employees are set to testify. (Photo: Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle)  More »

Rig worker was on coffee break when possible signs of blowout occurred

Mud logger Joseph Keith told investigators he took the 10-minute break on the evening of April 20 while the crew of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig displaced a portion of the well’s drilling mud with seawater. (Photo: Nick de la Torre/Houston Chronicle )  More »

After the drilling ban, a drilling ban remains

The Obama administration’s response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster has been reduced to a bad joke, Loren Steffy writes, but no one in the oil industry is laughing. (AP Photo)  More »

Spill hearings: 8 months later, the data’s still inconclusive

Testimony reveals that a great deal of data was collected right up until the rig blast, but with many variables in play getting an accurate picture of the well was difficult. (Photo: Nick de la Torre/Houston Chronicle)  More »