• Mike with all due respect to 60 Minutes, I wouldn't put much stock in some of the things that "Mike Williams" said in this interview. As an oilfield worker with nearly 20 years experience and half of them in deepwater, I can tell you that some of the things that were said in this interview were overdramatacized for tv. For one thing this Williams guy was an Electronics Technician and I'm sure he could probably fix every computer on that rig, but as far as drilling knowledge in general he probably didn't have a clue. All the electronic technicians I ever worked with could barely find the drill floor, much less knew anything about drilling. Unfortunately the men that could shed some light on how and why this happened all perished, god rest their souls, in this terrible incident. The toolpusher, driller, assistant drillers, derrickman, and floorhands are the guys that are actually involved in the drilling of the wells. And unfortunately they are usually the ones in the line of fire when something goes wrong such as this incident. There are a lot of other individuals on the rig that play supporting roles to the drill crew for example mechanics, engineers, bargemasters, ballast control operators, electricians and so on. And as far as the annular preventer is concerned, it is designed to allow pipe to be pulled or pushed through it with very minimal damage to the rubber. This is a process that is known as "stripping" in industry terms. I've seen annular rubbers missing so much rubber you would never think they would test and they test just fine. Also something that was not mentioned in this interview was the redundancy of the BOP. I can not state this for a fact how this rigs BOP was set up, but the deepwater rigs I worked had two annular preventers on the BOP stack with an arrangement of pipe rams (steel blocks with sealing rubbers that are able to isolate the wellbore by closing on the drill pip) from 3 to 5 individual rams depending on the layout of the BOP stack. But I will agree that from some of the articles I've read on this incident it appears that BP was trying to cut corners which is not uncommon in our industry because yes time is money. And I would imagine this rig and all the supporting cast that went with it were costing BP in the range of 1 million a day to operate. But that is still no excuse to sacrifice safety for production of work. The biggest thing that disgusts me the most about this whole incident is the way these three companies are trying to cast blame on each other. As a former employee of Transocean that doesn't surprise me a bit about them, but I would have figured BP would have stepped up to the plate and took responsibility for this incident but I'm sure they never will. This incident, sad but true, sounds like there were a multitude of human & mechanical errors but I'm also sure we will never ever find out the truth of what really happened to cause this incident. Just my 2 cents worth.

    May 19, 2010 at 10:01 a.m.

  • RE:legion357

    Naysayer?... Quite the contrary, I'm rooting for BP to come up with this solution to stop the spill and I pray the spill will have a minimal effect.

    I spoke too soon because Senator Barbara Boxer is heading up a committee to pursue criminal liability charges on BP because they lied when they said they were equipped to handle any type of disaster. I see where a congressman is proposing legislation to bar BP from receiving a permits to drill offshore, in our waters. Congress is also considering legislation to get the coast guard involved in approving deep shore drilling permits. Finally, after all the years of mismanagement and corruption; the administration is considering splitting the office of Minerals Management Service into two different divisions. They will separate the office that collects the royalties from the office that should be doing the oversight and approving the permits. This should've been done a long time ago; especially after the 2008 scandals; where the auditors were literally in bed with the oil companies......BP, is at the center of three major disasters; all those proposals in legislation might not see the light of day but it will be on the record.

    Spotted owl in the northwest?

    May 19, 2010 at 9 a.m.

  • True dat RS, true dat

    May 19, 2010 at 8:45 a.m.

  • Uh....Code don't you mean Parliament in this case?

    May 19, 2010 at 8:36 a.m.

  • Rollinstone said: "This kind of sloppy operation would stop in the blink of an eye by making the management criminally liable for safety infractions."

    I agree completely, then they'd be fully qualified to run for congress

    May 18, 2010 at 10:23 p.m.

  • This kind of sloppy operation would stop in the blink of an eye by making the management criminally liable for safety infractions.

    I know pollution laws in the 70's and 80's were given, how shall I say low priority, that is until they made management criminally liable. After that you couldn't spit on the side walk.

    May 18, 2010 at 8:04 p.m.

  • "eventual environmental devastation this will cause should not be marginalized."

    That was not exactly what I said, that was your interpretation of what I said Mike.

    You always call out the doom Sayers on other topics, now you are doing it yourself.

    Believe it or not, oil is a natural occurring substance.

    30 years ago 10k to 30k barrels of oil a day washed up on the beaches of Mexico and Texas for almost 6 months.

    The wildlife has recovered, the shrimping industry recovered all without one dollar of damages paid by the Mexican government

    In fact, there was no disruption in gulf shrimping.

    Almost 400% more turtles are nesting on Texas beaches since 1979. True they had some help from us humans.

    My point is, is that mother nature has a great way of healing herself, no matter what us humans do to her.

    This is more a crying wolf, boo hoo, pay me, poor birds and fishes, disaster than it really is.

    What ever happened to those spotted owls in the pacific northwest anyway?

    May 18, 2010 at 7:26 p.m.

  • Based on the merits of your argument, yes eleven people died and it should have not happen, but it was not doubt a human error. You can say the same thing about jetliner crashing and killing all on board. Did it have to happen no it did not? In 98% of airplane crashes it is human error that made the fatal mistake. Do we stop flying because of the crashes that occur, no of course not, it is still proven to be the safest way to travel? So profits over safety who knows, and we will probably never no the answer to that question.

    May 18, 2010 at 7:21 p.m.

  • Legion357

    This incident did not have to happen; 11 men being killed and the eventual environmental devastation this will cause should not be marginalized....IMO.. That's all we seem to do these days; the people of Prince William Sound, Alaska are still seeing the results of Exxon Valdez. It took about 20 years for some to even see a settlement; many died before hand. I saw a clip of that region about two weeks ago; not a pretty picture.

    The rules in place don't have to be changed; they just have to be followed because we can see what happens when they are not. We just had a mining incident of a mine that had some serious violations in the past; we swept it under the rug. You don't sacrifice safety for profits; I can't make it any clearer.....

    I always say “money is never a motivator; it's just a pacifier." Like I said a couple weeks ago; a disaster like this every 40 years is OK, if you're willing to lose a state every 40 years.

    May 18, 2010 at 6:08 p.m.

  • On June 3, 1979, the 2 mile deep exploratory well, IXTOC I, blew out in the Bahia de Campeche, 600 miles south of Texas in the Gulf of Mexico.

    The IXTOC I was being drilled by the SEDCO 135, a semi-submersible platform on lease to Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX). A loss of drilling mud circulation caused the blowout to occur.

    The IXTOC I well continued to spill oil at a rate of 10,000 - 30,000 barrels per day until it was finally capped on March 23, 1980.

    May 18, 2010 at 6:06 p.m.

  • Ixtoc I

    The 2-mile-deep exploratory well, Ixtoc I, blew out on June 3, 1979 in the Bay of Campeche off Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico. By the time the well was brought under control in March, 1980, an estimated 140 million gallons of oil had spilled into the bay. The Ixtoc I spill is currently #2 on the all-time list of largest oil spills of all time.

    May 18, 2010 at 5:50 p.m.

  • This oil spill is bad indeed, and a rare occurrence.

    Who is going to pay? That is a question for the courts, but I don't know if that now that a accident has occurred, that the rules can be changed retroactively.

    Back in the 70's when I use to visit Port A. at least once a month, for years we had to watch where we stepped on the beach because of the Mexican offshore rig accident. A rig in the Bay of Campeche, if I remember right.

    Now the media reports 60 tar balls like a major disaster, on the one little stretch of beach I visited, ( from the pier to the Av. G beach access) , there was about way more than 1000 tar balls washed up a day for years.

    The state would run a maintainer down the beach every day, pile the tar, and seaweed, up, and a front end loader would go dump them in the dunes.

    60 tar balls? No problem at all.

    And now Mustang Island and Padre Island have recovered very well.

    May 18, 2010 at 5:48 p.m.

  • If you would like to see what is happen at 5,000 feet below the water the line go to

    May 18, 2010 at 5:34 p.m.

  • Mike with all due respect, instead of complaining about the possible cause of this man made disaster. The fact of the matter it has happen. This is an isolated accident which does not occur on a daily bases. It is time to solve the problem, so if you have a solution you can e-mail it to

    May 18, 2010 at 5:08 p.m.