PROJECT 1: DEEPWATER HORIZON OIL SPILL

A project by Anonymous

GROUP PROJECT

(SEMESTER 1, SESSION 2010/2011)

CONTENTS
CONTENTS ............................................................................................................................................. I CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION......................................................................................................... - 1 1.1 1.2 Introduction.......................................................................................................................... - 1 Objective .............................................................................................................................. - 1 -

1.3 Ethical Concerns ........................................................................................................................ - 2 1.3.1 Universalizability (Reversibility) ......................................................................................... - 2 1.3.2 Act Utilitarianism ................................................................................................................ - 2 1.3.3 Rule Utilitarianism .............................................................................................................. - 2 1.3.4 Cost Benefit Analysis .......................................................................................................... - 2 1.3.5 Respect for Individuals ........................................................................................................ - 2 1.3.6 Engineering Code of Ethics ................................................................................................. - 3 1.4 Possible Conflicts of Interest ...................................................................................................... - 3 1.4.1 Public Interest ..................................................................................................................... - 3 1.4.2 Self Interest ......................................................................................................................... - 4 CHAPTER 2: COST & TIME vs. SAFETY ......................................................................................... - 6 2.1 Well Design ............................................................................................................................... - 6 2.2 Centralizers ................................................................................................................................ - 7 2.3 Cement Bond Log ...................................................................................................................... - 7 2.4 Blowout Preventer (BOP)........................................................................................................... - 8 -

2.4 Theory of Ethics......................................................................................................................... - 8 2.4.1 Reversibility ........................................................................................................................ - 8 2.4.2 Act Utilitarianism ................................................................................................................ - 9 2.4.3 Cost Benefit Analysis .......................................................................................................... - 9 2.4.4 Code of Ethics ..................................................................................................................... - 9 CHAPTER 3: THE 3Cs - Communication and Company Culture ....................................................... - 11 3.1 Whistle Blowing ...................................................................................................................... - 11 3.1.1 Universalizability .............................................................................................................. - 11 3.1.2 Act Utilitarianism .............................................................................................................. - 11 3.1.3 Rule Utilitarianism ............................................................................................................ - 11 3.1.4 Respect-For-Individual ...................................................................................................... - 12 3.1.5 Code of Ethics ................................................................................................................... - 12 3.2 Company Culture ..................................................................................................................... - 12 3.2.1 Reversibility ...................................................................................................................... - 13 3.2.2 Act Utilitarianism .............................................................................................................. - 13 3.2.3 Rule Utilitarianism ............................................................................................................ - 13 3.2.4 Respect for Individual ....................................................................................................... - 14 3.2.5 Code of Ethics ................................................................................................................... - 14 CHAPTER 4: INFORMATION MANIPULATION........................................................................... - 15 4.1 Background.............................................................................................................................. - 15 4.2 Theory of Ethics....................................................................................................................... - 15 4.2.1 Reversibility ...................................................................................................................... - 15 4.2.2 Utilitarianism .................................................................................................................... - 16 4.2.3 Violation of Code of Ethics ............................................................................................... - 16 CHAPTER 5: CASE STUDY ............................................................................................................ - 19 5.1 Background.............................................................................................................................. - 19 5.2 Comparison with BP case......................................................................................................... - 19 5.2.1 Violation of BP¶s own company polices and code of ethics ................................................ - 19 5.2.2 Trade-off between safety for lower costs and shorter time .................................................. - 20 5.2.3 ³Silent´ culture .................................................................................................................. - 20 5.2.4 Management and Employee¶s Differing Views on safety ................................................... - 20 5.3 BP fails to learn from past mistakes .......................................................................................... - 21 -

......................... ................................................5 Internal Task Force ........... .....3 External Whistle-Blowing Agencies .............22 6...........................................24 REFERENCES .................22 6............................................ ..................................... ....................1 Following Code of Ethics ...................................................................................................................22 6.........................22 6...............23 CHAPTER 7: CONCLUSION ..... ................CHAPTER 6: SOLUTIONS .....25 - ..........................................................2 Finding the Best Compromise .................4 Respecting the Hierarchy of the Company ........................................................22 6................................................................. .............................................. ...... ...........................................................................................................................................................

marine lives and the environment.which is rather controversial for itsethical problems.S. Nature of the accident and decisions taken by parties involved will be analyzed and discussed according to the relevant ethical principles. When confronted by engineering ethical problems. fishermen.2 Objective The aim of the report is to investigate what actions and how decisions are taken by BP management and engineers and Halliburton before and after the explosion of oil rig occurs. This report will cover a recent incident. Often these right and responsibilities overlap.1 Background Deepwater Horizon oil spill is a catastrophic oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico which is the largest of offshore spill in U. and a few related case studies.1 Introduction Ethical cases often go far beyond issues of public safety. Based on the Professional Code of Ethics. though there is a new leak emerging on the sea floor. The controversial actions that will be the focus of this report include compromise between safety and cost. Eleven platform workers died and 17 others were injured in the disaster. how should the engineers respond? Various ethical principles and codes of ethics are promulgated by professional societies. BP still failed to stem the oil spill six days after the explosion. Deepwater Horizon oil spill. These guidelines can help engineers in making decision about how to conduct themselves and how to resolve the ethical issues. 2010. whistle-blowing and conflicts of interest. Despite the mammoth clean-up operations.1. On July 15. There are many rights and responsibilities that engineers must exercise in their professional engineer careers. history. environmental damages. it is going to be discussed whether the actions taken by all the parties involved are appropriate.CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1. Many involve bribery. On the April 20th. spilling 42000 gallons of oil everyday straight to the ocean. 1. a BP drilling oil-rig suffered an explosion. -1- . honesty. The actions taken by BP and its engineers have raised questions and public outrage. Lawmakers also raised the ethical concerns about how decisions are made by BP and the health impact on those who live in the affected region. 1. communication problem regarding safety. BP said the leak had been stopped by capping the gushing oil wellhead.

4 Cost Benefit Analysis Cost Benefit Analysis is often used in engineering. 1.In subsequent chapters.2 Act Utilitarianism Act utilitarianism attempts to determine which cause of action produces maximum happiness orthe greatest benefits as consequences.3. its influences on all parties involved in this oil disaster will be further elaborated on. 1. The highest right of an individual is his/her own life. Someonewho holds the principle of reversibility will weighan action after considering what if he is at other party¶s shoe. Rules must be broken.3. several theories of ethics will be used to discuss the ethical concerns involved.3. This method reduces every factor andconsequence of an action into its monetary value and whether the action is acceptable or not isbased on the cost/benefit ratio.5 Respect for Individuals This approach holds the rights of individuals of groups paramount to any overall benefits thatwould be caused by an action.3 Rule Utilitarianism Rule Utilitarianism asks the following two questions:³What general rule would one be following?´ and ³Does itmaximize benefits by following this rule?´ 1. 1. BP. These discussions will be based on the relevant Code of Ethics for both the engineer and management side. This report also aims to learn more about the company.3.1 Universalizability (Reversibility) Universalisability is a general principal which demands consistency in human being¶s moral thinking. to achieve this. Lastly. 1. Reversibility is a special case of universalizability. 1. especially in large projects.Below are descriptions of the theories that will be used. if necessary. And. this report seeks to discuss several recommendations which might be useful in future cases. they will be applied to the issue of concern.3 Ethical Concerns In this project. itself and make comparisons with previous accidents that they had. -2- .and information manipulation undertaken by BP.3.

health and well-being of their communities. and the protection of the environment through the practice of sustainable development. Knowing these conflicts of interest will give better understanding why and how the parties involved make decisions.´ As mentioned in the aforementioned code of ethics. toxic and smothering oil waste instigates mass mortality and contamination of fish and other -3- . In the short-run.3.1 Environment Health Oil spills present high risk for enormous harm to marine life and ecosystem. Below are the codes of ethics which referred to later in the report: y y y y y ASME Fundamental Canons BP¶s own Code of Conduct IEEE Code of Ethics Instituto De Consejeros. have obligation to preserve the environment health and well-being of their community.Administradores (Spain). namely BP Engineers. 1. BP.4 Possible Conflicts of Interest Conflict of interest is a conflict between one's obligation to the public good and one's selfinterest.1 Public Interest 1.´ and ³Engineers should be committed to improving the environment by adherence to the principles of sustainable development so as to enhance the quality of life of the general public.d. 1.4. ³Engineers should seek opportunities to be of constructive service in civic affairs and work for the advancement of the safety. Relevant clauses will be extracted and applied to the ethical evaluation.1. BP management and Halliburton.4. It also helps to examine whether the parties involved are biased and are neglecting ethics at the expense of personal interest.6 Engineering Code of Ethics In this case study.1. Code of Ethics for Companies NSPE Code of Ethics 1.e. as well as Halliburton. which in this case refers to people living nearby and those whose business are affected. The purpose of this section is to highlight the possible conflicts of interest between the various parties involved. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers Code of Ethics Canon 1.several codes of ethics that are frequently used in engineering field will be used.

they did not whistleblow and continued doing the improper safety measures. Oil waste poisons the sensitive marine substrate.4. as suggested by the managers. which would drive tourists away from these places. scuba diving. The engineers¶ concern for protecting their job has outweighed the public safety and environmental damage.food species.4. 1.2 BP Management As managers. regional business activity declines. Oil waste invades and pollutes the coastal areas. for source of income will lose their means of living. swimming. This will interrupt the food chain of the marine ecosystem. and birds that live in or near the ocean.2 Self Interest 1. it triggers long-term ecological effects that may be even detrimental to the environment. they may fear of losing their job if they go head-on with the company or higher level management. compared to its short-run effect. because of self-interest in securing their jobs.1 BP Engineers The engineers have put forward their concern over the lack of safety design to the management. amphibians.2 Community Interest Oil spills can also have devastating short-term and long-term effects on the local economy and society. nature parks and preserves.1. As such.However. and is harmful to the existence of certain species in the marine life. They usually work under specific time constraints and budgeted expenses to achieve their target performance. on which fish and sea creatures feed on. As employees. other wildlife including mammals. 1. in the long-run. -4- . but the property values for housing will tend to decrease. they have responsibility to ensure the company is running at minimal cost and maximum profit. and other resident and tourist attractions. reptiles.2. When they reach the target. And.People who are depending on recreational attractions and related facilities that have been developed for fishing. Furthermore. beaches.2. These people will not only lose their source of income. This self-interest may motivate managers to opt for the less costly design at the expense of the safety.4. 1. will also be poisoned by oil waste and may lose their source of food. inhibiting future investment around the area. they can get bonuses/incentives or be promoted to higher level position.4. they still go for the riskier safety option.

2. has foregone their responsibility towards the public interest. for its self-interest.4. Moreover. BP might disagree with Halliburton and find another oil rig operator. Hence. If Halliburton insisted on BP to use the better oil well design. its reputation on customer satisfactory would be damaged and Halliburton may lose possible future contracts with other customers. Halliburton might then lose its valuable customer.1. -5- .3 Halliburton Halliburton tends to follow BP instructions for the oil well design to ensure the customer (BP) is satisfied although Halliburton knew that the failure probability was very high. Halliburton.

String option only provides two barriers for annular flow (BP. 2010). SAFETY 2. On the other hand. not only are four barriers for annular flow provided. it would violate MMS regulations of 500 feet of cement above the top Hydro Carbon zone. Moreover. It is easier to remedy the cement job even if it is required. long string casing. it is indicated by cement simulation that cement job will be likely unsuccessful because of formation breakdown. and it is required bond log to be verified. liner/tieback option has its drawbacks.1 Well Design Firstly. long string casing installation is less time consuming and less costly than liner/tieback which in turn influenced BP¶s decision to use the latter. One option involves two steel tubes. In addition. -6- . long string casing involves running only one string of steel tube from the seafloor all the way to the bottom of the well. In spite of the aforementioned risks. it has higher chance to succeed in cement lift. The liner tube is hanging from the liner hanger at the bottom of the casing already in. Halliburton proposed two primary options of well design to BP. 2010). but liner hanger also acts as second barrier for Hydro Carbon in annulus (BP. Furthermore. In this liner/tieback option. However. It takes more time and cost to build as compared to the second option. The tieback tube is inserted on top of the liner hanger.CHAPTER 2: COST & TIME vs. the liner and tieback.

Gagliano modelling. Liner/tieback option was rejected even though it will be safer option as recommended by Halliburton. 2.. Morel mentioned that long casing string will save at least 3 days (Watson. BP¶s Drilling Engineering Team Leader explained to Mr Guide. 2010). Mr Morel. even if there is any channel in the -7- . I am very concerned about using them..´ From these evidences.For economic reason. In the following week. it is too late to get any more product on the rig. in his email for Allison Crane. BP used an insufficient number of centralizers. To achieve only a minor gas flow problem. 2. 2010).. Materials Management Coordinator of BP. 6 centralizers that are attached around the casings to keep the casing in the centre of the well. It is important to keep the casing in the centre of the well because there is increased risk of gas flowing up the annular space around the casing due to formation of channels in the cement. he emailed BP Completion Engineer and Drilling Engineer that it is better not to choose the tieback as it saves a lot of money and time.3 Cement Bond Log Lastly. and "I do not like or want to disrupt your operations « I know the planning has been lagging behind the operations and I have to turn that around. I do not like this and . Mr.´(Watson. Gagliano has informed to BP engineer that modelling resulted in moderate gas flow problem with 10 centralizers (Watson. Mr Waltz. On March 25. However.. Mr. . BP engineer. emailed back that it is hoped that the pipe stays at the centre due to gravity as it is a vertical hole. 2010). BP¶s Well Team Leader that he wanted to make sure the centralizers were working well unlike their previous Atlantis job. it can be gatheredBPrather focus on getting the job done faster rather than solving the problem despite being fully aware of the risks involved. By performing the test. BP has skipped cement bond log test which determines whether the cement has bonded to the casing and surrounding formation. our only option is to arrange placement of these centralizers´ (Watson.2 Centralizers Secondly. 2010). BP decided to use the long string casing option despite its possible drawbacks. Guide responded that "it will take 10 hrs to install them. and ³as far as changes are concerned. 21 centralizers are required to install according to Mr.

said that the cement evaluation should be performed as a part of comprehensive system integrity test if the cement is to be relied upon as an effective barrier (Watson. BP has contracted Schlumberger for the cement bond log test if BP has requested those services (Watson. Moreover. there was a failure in blowout preventer as the oil had leaked from the well and the reason for the failure remains unknown (Russell. repairing the cementing job can be done by injecting additional cement to block any channel for the gas flow. Halliburton Vice President of Cementing. more centralizers installation as it concerns for their lives according to -8- . Mr. On April 20. 2. cancelling it will cost only $10. BP engineers would choose line/tie back casing. 2010).4 Theory of Ethics In this chapter. we will attempt to use several theories of ethics to discern whether or not the company was doing the right thing ethically. The cement bond log test will cost over $128. Roth. 2010). Gagliano¶s simulation result showed that cementing job on Macondo well is inadequate cement job. Mr. Hence. Moreover. it would take additional 9 to 12 hours to perform the test.4 Blowout Preventer (BOP) Blowout preventer is a device that automatically cuts the pipe and seals the well to prevent the oil leaking from the well if any failure in system is occurred. it is indicated in documents discussed during congressional hearings June17.4.1 Reversibility If BP engineers are required to operate on the oil rig platform.000 to complete.2010 that there were modifications made to BOP for the Macondo site which increased the risk of BOP failure.000. On April 18. On the other hand. it is very important to have blowout preventer in a very risky operation like drilling of deep water oil welland to ensure the integrity of blowout preventer. the Schlumberger crew was told that cement bond log test is not required to perform.cement for the gas flow. 2. 2. Furthermore. Although blowout preventer had been fitted to BP wellhead. a cement bond log test was required if there is an inadequate cementing job according to Minerals Management Service (MMS) regulations. It would take more time if cement repairing job was required. 2010).

BP has violated the codes of ethic because it has neglected the safety of public and environment. 2. they were fined. Moreover. According to National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) code of ethics. Moreover. If there were no explosion of oil rig. 2. choosing long string casing was good in act utilitarianism approach. due to BP negligence. operation with just 6 centralizers and failure to perform cement bond log test should not be done. they have under estimated the amount of money needed to pay if there is any accident occurred. BP has done the right things in terms of cost benefit analysis. However. If BP had chosen safer options rather than cheaper options.4. ³engineer shall accept responsibility in making decision consistent with the safety health and welfare of the public´. BP was unethical to choose the cheaper and less time consuming option according to the above approaches. However. BP has to pay out more than the amount they should spend on well design. due to explosion and oil leakage. However.´ Engineers are encouraged to adhere to the principles of sustainable development in order to protect the environment for future generations´ Hence.4 Code of Ethics According to IEEE¶s code of ethic. this tragic accident could have been prevented. Hence. Hence.reversibility.2 Act Utilitarianism By choosing long string casing. 2. cost benefit analysis should not be used here because it concerned lives of the workers on the oil rig platform and the marine lives. -9- .4.4. choosing the long string casing. health. cement bond log test is going to be performed to make sure it is safe to operate. there was explosion and oil leakage affects the marine lives and public¶s livelihood. Hence. and welfare of the public. according to Act Utilitarianism. ³Engineer shall hold paramount the safety. Moreover. centralizers and cement bond log.3 Cost Benefit Analysis BP has chosen the cheaper and less time consuming option. the operating cost and time will be reduced which could result in reducing the price that the public are required to pay.

10 - ..

Whistle blowing on safety issue promotes greater good of the society. Daniel Barron III.CHAPTER 3: THE 3Cs . no action would be taken by the company to rectify the problem. these concerns had not been voiced out properly and heeded. mentioned that on the morning of the explosion.Communication and Company Culture 3. While running the oil rig in the manner it was run saved cost. The workers have fulfilled their duty to whistle blow safety issues that might have led to the accident.2 Act Utilitarianism Again. while the cost is irreversible and is spread among people across countries.1. After the argument.1. workers should have whistle blew against the safety issue. 3. Baron mentioned that chief driller Dewey Revette expressed concern and opposition regarding the decision made (Bloxham.1. which is used to keep the well¶s pressure down. Similar to Dewey Revette. the benefit is not distributed equally and it may not even be comparable to the long term effects it caused. sadly. 3.3 Rule Utilitarianism As to follow what the BP Code of Conduct dictates. with lighter seawater.11 - .1 Whistle Blowing When interviewed by CNN. whistle blowing should have been done.1 Universalizability Workers should have whistle blew. could have averted the tragedy. a survivor from the BP¶s Deepwater Horizon. there are many other Deepwater Horizon rig personnels who had concerns regarding the safety of the rig. which had they been heard and heeded. However. 2010). BP¶s management decided to proceed with seawater to speed up the process. there was an argument regarding the decision to replace the heavy mud. Only few BP officials get most of the monetary benefit. . 3. If everyone abandoned their responsibility to whistle blow.

3. and the protections to ensure that retaliation against those who do speak up will not be tolerated. Sneed.5 Code of Ethics According to BP¶s own Code of Conduct. 3.3.. pressured or harassed employees not to report problems.1. and cut short or delayed inspections in order to reduce production costs (Lustgarten.. was fired for attempting to stop work . However. The code explains the mechanisms to do this . the latter outweigh the respect for the company..1. 2010). According to NPSE¶s Code of Conduct. Thus workers took the wrong decision under this rule. a Deepwater Horizon¶s rig survivor interviewed by CNN mentioned that it was understood that the act of raising safety concerns that might delay drilling schedule could cause them losing their job (Bloxham. They should not try to promote their own self-interest of keeping their job at the expense of their colleagues¶ lives. some workers were even fired.Always. Employees and ex-BP-employees described how the management overlooked safety by neglecting aging equipment. . one of BP oil field.12 - .4 Respect-For-Individual Workers have to balance his respect for company and his respect for their colleagues¶ lives and public¶s health and survival." Workers should have reported the safety issues and if necessary stopped all works on the site. Stop any work that becomes unsafe. 2010).2 Company Culture It is true that some workers are partly to blame for not reporting what they know is wrong.´ Workers should have persisted in advising BP management that if they continue their practice. ³Engineers shall be guided in all their relations by the highest standards of honesty and integrity.. Beyond harassment. looking back at the very essence why they dare not to speak up. a former technician at Purdhoe Bay. Obviously.. . accident is bound to happen. Engineers shall advise their clients or employers when they believe a project will not be successful. In June 2010. "If you are unsure of what to do in particular circumstances or concerned that the code is being broken. you have a responsibility to speak up.. it would be due to BP¶s culture. Engineers shall not promote their own interest at the expense of the dignity and integrity of the profession. and marine lives. public lives.

However. In his email. such as director or shareholders.1 Reversibility The company would not have fired whistle blowers if they are ones of higher rank.2.2. BP can enjoy longer period of large profit and good reputation by hiding their safety inadequacies. BP¶s action is not justified. it is evident that BP is not willing to comply with the safety standards as they have fired both the workers and subcontractors. Hence. Not only workers lost their lives. Abbott notified and/or warned a BP manager about the incomplete design specifications given to platform operators which violated federal laws and BP's own safety regulations.13 - .2 Act Utilitarianism By firing these workers. on the other hand. the cost if this information is finally uncovered will be larger than the benefit it reaped. However. in 2008. the act of firing employees cannot be justified. workers may be discouragedfrom speaking out because they know the consequence of getting fired if they talked about the company¶s wrongdoings even if it involves human lives. Kenneth Abbott noticed that Atlantis was operating with incomplete and inaccurate engineering documents. 2010). 3. For instance. Halliburton may fear that they face the same fate as BP¶s subcontractor. Not only the workers. . subcontractors have also faced similar problem of not being able to force their concern regarding safety due to BP¶s company culture that prioritizes speed and profits on top of safety.in this case whistle blowing workers. 2010). BP eliminated threat of internal information leaking by setting these cases as example. Therefore. Abbot was then fired when he tried to reveal these information regarding safety concerns to BP officials (Blizzard.3 Rule Utilitarianism BP has to follow their own rules to protect those who speak up in matters regarding safety . enormous number of marine lives perished and billions of dollars are pumped into cleaning up the oil spill and compensating affected civilians. Hence. Hence. their action of firing workers cannot be justified. 3.upon discovery of a crack in the steel skin of an oil transit line that may ignite stray gases (Lustgarten.2. 3. Moreover.

BP managers should do things in an ethical and responsible way.4 Respect for Individual The company has to balance between the respect for the workers and the respect for the whole company. BP had not been acting in accordance to the aforementioned code of ethics. ³Carry out their activities in a professional. The company might have fired these workers to protect the company¶s image and respect the company.3. Hence. Code of Ethics for Companies. . In this case. they have neglected respect for individual worker¶s honesty and dignity.2.2. they fired these people for raising the issue. 3. However. Although the management was being informed by workers about the possible harm of the compromises on safety done on the rig. they should not have fired these workers.Administradores (Spain).14 - . ethical and responsible manner.´ According to this code.5 Code of Ethics According to Instituto De Consejeros. they did not take proper action to investigate and rectify the problems. Furthermore.

also alleged that BP was refusing to hand over information it needs about the explosion (BP rejects claims. scientists can further check the gas-to-oil ratio emanating from the well to produce more accurate estimate. The authority and environmentalists also need to know the actual data so they can take the appropriate measures to solve the oil spill.1 Reversibility If BP managers were public (i.e. Google and Yahoo to keep people from the real news. BP should not underestimate the spill rate.CHAPTER 4: INFORMATION MANIPULATION BP has been accused of withholding vital information/manipulating information before releasing them to public. Moreover.2 Theory of Ethics 4. they may want to know the actual oil spill amount so they can know how the oil spill will affect their livelihood and health.000 barrels a day (Raloff. Nevertheless. reporting oil on the beach and signing up to volunteer´ (Torbin. Transocean. Associate Professor Wereley of Purdue University.15 - . Thus. . 4. And the oil giant also has not been sharing much video. 4. the opponents argue that BP was manipulating search results on Google to keep their company image safe. This raises the question: µIf BP was not trying to influence information on the Gulf oil spill. shortly after the oil rig exploded.000 barrels a day.1 Background On 19 May 2010. BP America president Lamar McKay reconfirmed that the damaged well¶s maximum release rate hovered around 5. fishermen and people who use or live by the coast).2. why would they buy sponsored links?¶ BP spokesman Toby Odone told ABC News. 2010). ³We have bought search terms on search engines to make it easier for people to find out more about our efforts in the Gulf and make it easier for people to find key links to information on filing claims. 2010). BP purchased sponsored links at the top of internet search engines. the company that owned the oil rig. 95. Purdue¶s Wereley mentions that if longer streams of video were made available. Lastly. an established professor in his field. However. estimated the damaged well's oil-release rate at a much higher figure. BP management has those numbers but has not shared them yet. 2010).On 19 August 2010.

4. said House Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment chairman Ed Markey.2. As EPA oil spill fines are well known throughout the industry. she commented that ³BP had a great deal of . BP can focus on their cleaning-up measures. Wereley further assured that all of these estimates from outside the industry are considerably higher than BP¶s. the penalty may rise to $4.7 billion dollars.2.3. At the estimated spill rate of 25. She mentioned that if BP is found guilty of gross negligence due to reported failure to repair the damaged blow out preventer on the Deepwater Horizon.4.´ Responding to the public outrage and accusation. Rachel Maddow (2010) disagreed with BP. Weighing both effects.´ More than five independent engineers have pegged the spill rate at between 30. However. ³To be honest and realistic in stating claims or estimates based on the available data. According to ASME Fundamental Canons.1 Underestimation of Spill Rate According to IEEE Code of Ethics. With less panic. BP was neither honest nor realistic in stating estimates. ³I don¶t see any possibility ± any scenario ± under which their number is accurate.000 and 100. 2010). Thus.3 Violation of Code of Ethics 4. it is most likely thatBP hid the information for hidden agenda: to evade penalty that they have to pay to affected countries¶ government and take less clean up measures.´ he said.16 - .300 per barrel. the fines from the EPA alone would be 10. ³Engineers shall admit their own errors when proven wrong and refrain from distorting or altering facts to justify their mistakes.000 barrels a day (Raloff. public¶s welfare will be compromised.000 barrels a day beginning on April 20 until the completion of relief wells in August. BP management defended themselves and said that estimates were hard to make since there was no way to attach a flow meter to the top of the gashes in the damaged pipe. avoiding unnecessary chaos. BP should not have underestimated the spill rate. This would suggest BP¶s number is an outlier. Consequently. However. Thus BP hid information to bring maximum benefit to the public and themselves with the assumption that BP quickly and diligently cleans up the oil spill.2.2 Utilitarianism BP may think hiding the oil spill damage can help to mitigate the public panic.

an online news site. both in light of BP's frequently stated public commitment to openness and a fair investigation and because it appears that BP is withholding evidence in an attempt to prevent any other entity other than BP from investigating. a writer on the Fiscal Times. either directly or indirectly. 4." He comments that BP is trying to salvage its battered image after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. . "This is troubling. 2010).. to deliver even the most basic information to Transocean. Therefore. underestimating figures for their own benefits. it is likely that BP has tried to omit relevant material facts from the public.3 Buying online search engines and scientists According to NSPE Code of Ethics. ³Engineers shall avoid the use of statements containing a material misrepresentation of fact or omitting a material fact. With Utilitarian Theory." he wrote (BP rejects claims. ³Engineers shall not offer or give.2 Withholding crucial information According to NSPE Code of Ethics. BP does not bring the maximum benefit to the public as they will pay fewer penalties for the environmental damage.´ When subcommittee Markey formally requested BP to make live streaming video from its wellhead available to the public. Roberts. Steven L.. 4. and (BP are) paying big money for that.17 - . writes that BP has continued to demonstrate its unwillingness.3. He emphasized that original unadulterated footage is required for highquality flow analysis. any contribution or gift to influence pubic authority or to secure work.´ Critics have described BP's move as unethical. said: "What it effectively does is that it bumps down other legitimate news and opinion pieces that are addressing the spill. the video was compressed so that much of the fine detail was missing (Raloff. This substantiates that BP has not released even the basic information to the related companies and authorities.3. Maureen Mackey.This shows that BP may ³buy´ the mass media to manipulate information to rescue the company image.motivation to underestimate their original figures on the amount of oil being spilled.´ BP has breached the ASME Fundamental Canons. 2010).2. if not outright refusal.2. lawyer for Transocean.

2010). who was approached by BP ((Raines. this amounts to $104. More than one scientist interviewed by the Press-Register described being offered $250 an hour through BP lawyers. according to scientists involved in discussions with the company's lawyers (Raines. The university declined the offer because of ³confidentiality restrictions´ that the company sought on any research and ³obligations to take orders´ from their attorneys.18 - . BP¶s unethical acts are also evident as BP has been offering signing bonuses and lucrative pay to prominent scientists from public universities around the Gulf Coast to aid its defence against spill lawsuit. .In fact. This shows that BP has done unethical acts as they offer gifts and bonuses to buy scientists¶ voice. BP attempted to hire the entire marine sciences department at Alabama University. "It makes me feel like they were more interested in making sure we couldn't testify against them than in having us testify for them." said George Crozier. For eight working hours a week. head of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. 2010).000 a year.

but it certainly seems that the money is not too much of deterrence to them. a massive explosion ripped through a tower at BP¶s refinery in Texas City. but they decided to ignore the warning. BP proves not to have a good track record in terms of oil spills.000 gallons of crude oil) had seeped into the Alaskan snow through a small hole in BP¶s pipeline in Prudhoe Bay. BP pleaded guilty to federal felony charges and was fined more than $50 million by the US EPA. Yet. BP has paid more than $550 million in fines. at 5000km away in Alaska. we¶ll draw some comparisons between several of BP¶s previous oil and gas related accidents. 5. In addition.2. BP violated its own policies and internal BP documents have shown that 16 plus hour shifts were routine.2 Comparison with BP case In this section. BP is willing to risk allowing workers who are already tired to work more in a potentially very dangerous environment dealing with flammable items and heavy . Then. In addition. about a year later. technicians discovered that about 4. BP was actually warned in 2002 to check the pipeline. They are no stranger to the world in several of the nation¶s worst oil and gas related disasters. causing large disruptions to US oil supplies. In March 2005.1 Violation of BP s own company polices and code of ethics For the Texas City accident. To meet targets established for external commitments and performance. and finally it happened again in the Deepwater Horizon accident. the company actually ignored its own safety protocols on operating the tower which was filled with gasoline.1Background Judging from its past records.800 barrels of oil (~200. 5. with 75% representing 18 hour work shifts. they were fined $12 million. and disabled a warning system.CHAPTER 5: CASE STUDY 5. For the Alaska Oil Spill incident a year later. BP¶s own internal studies have also revealed that employees who work more than 16 hours during a 24 hours period can lack the mental capacity to make sound and timely decisions. Texas. BP had no choice but to temporarily shut down its operations. bringing the death toll to 15 workers and injuries to 170. More spills were discovered in subsequent years. According to Public Citizen.19 - .

He mentions specifically that ³the management of our maintenance simply is not working to maintain a safe . risking their jobs. making the Prudhoe Bay oilfield a potential for another great disaster. 5. In our current case. 5. instead of spending money to install freeze protection.´ A lot of employees share the same sentiment. a similar incident happened. This is clearly a very unethical approach BP is taking. This is similar to how in the current BPcase. and BP told the State of Alaska it would rectify the problem.2. rather than spend more time and money to train and hire more people. The bottom-line was.4 Management and Employee s Differing Views on safety An act of whistle blowing was achieved by an employee who worked at the Lisburne Production Centre. However.3 Silent culture Just last November (2009). several employees had noticed that there were certain things that were not right/not in place which might lead to serious safety percussions.volume equipment. but they never did. avoiding spending money on maintenance and letting equipments to operate until they break down and then replacing them. when he emailed Alaskan BP officials more than a dozen pieces of crucial production equipment that he claims were not working or were out of service during the spill. another serious oil spill occurred. but they¶re afraid to speak out.2. An employee who has worked there for 30 decades mentions that they still have ³hundreds of miles of rotting pipe ready to break that needs to be replaced. for one reason or another.20 - . similarly. they did not voice it out to their superiors. which would have prevented the rupture of the pipeline. where oil was pouring out from a two foot long hole at the bottom of a 25-year-old pipeline.2 Trade-off between safety for lower costs and shorter time Similarly. This is exactly how our current stands ± in an effort to cut costs and save time. BP Alaska is literally following an ³operate to failure´ attitude.2. an oil spill was discovered in BP¶s Lisburne facility. BP left it to the operators to respond if anything happened to the pipeline. BP chose to ignore certain critical designs of the well which eventually contributed to the disaster. and BP employees made a long list of safety issues that have not been addressed properly. in an effort to cut costs. In the same context in 2001. BP chooses to overlook its own code of ethics 5.

) seriously enough to warrant them to do something significant to address the safety issues properly.g.3 BP fails to learn from past mistakes We have seen from the previous section that a comparison between our current case and previous history of BP¶s oil and gas related accidents has revealed the following similarities: y y Violating its own policies and code of ethics Creating a huge trade-off in safety for lower cost in terms of design. we discover the same reasons over and over again as we compare them with previous accidents from BP.´ This email is now in the hands of criminal investigators. . upgrading of equipment. This gap in maintenance management causes problems that increase the overall risk of plant integrity and personnel safety. oceans. and with the findings from the study in the previous chapters.2. There isn¶t a specific point in our current case that pinpoints that the management and employee had differing views on safety. where we described that the company even fired a worker who stopped work upon discovering a safety breach.operation. 5. installation of safety equipments and training more workers instead of overworking current ones. apparently. does not take the consequences of their actions and the disasters (e. damage to eco environment. BP. loss of lives. disruption to economy. it can be then perceived that the management does really have a different standpoint from the employees regarding safety. y y ³Silent´ company culture Management does not share the same safety view as their employees What does this entail? It then becomes very clear that BP has not learnt its mistakes at all.21 - . heavy fines from government agencies etc. but from the way that the management took certain decisions on the well design and that in Chapter 3.

Liner/Tieback or Long String Casing. 6. If there is any cementing problem. In this case. and cement bond log are to be chosen.4 Respecting the Hierarchy of the Company Employees could have averted risk of being fired by being more aware of the situation in the company. remedial cementing can be done.2 Finding the Best Compromise The full string casing option would reduce the cost and time compared to the liner/tieback option. they could be more objective in viewing the problem. cement bond log should be performed. it can be sure that the cementing is done properly or not. it will provide very high safety option and it would sure prevent the tragedy. By performing cement bond log. Moreover. number of centralizers usage. It is thought that Engineering is a compromise between cost and safety as no products can be completely safe and affordable.1 Following Code of Ethics According to code of ethics. it is thought that liner/tieback option is not really essential to choose.CHAPTER 6: SOLUTIONS 6. 6.3 External Whistle-Blowing Agencies Following trend that is undertaken by Singapore companies recently. Cement bond log would also be performed. the liner/tieback option and 21 centralizers would be chosen in operation. This would allow employees to be more vocal about their concerns without having to worry about their employment. Although it would be less safe to operate. this option is a compromise between safety and cost or time. Hence. choosing the second option is a compromise option between cost and safety and a good middle way. it is important to have as many centralizers as possible. he should have . Since he had known that he is risking his job by stopping his work. it would be a good option if the choice is done properly. The first option would cost a lot of money and time. Hence. 6. BP could have engaged on external auditing company to have a whistle-blowing hotline where employees can file allegations against their own company anonymously. However. Moreover. Hence. In this case. choosing 21 centralizers is essential. However.22 - . since an external auditing company is filtering the complaints. Centralizers are very important for drilling oil wall in the sea.

such as ³the delay [of the improvements] is a conscious readjustment that we undertook as we learned more about the scale and complexities [of the maintenance projects]´. a more feasible solution is to ensure critical equipments are always in good condition. BP has failed to learn from their mistakes in many past accidents. and chose to make decisions that were unethical. To help in the implementation. In this way.5 Internal Task Force As discussed earlier. attitude is not something that can be worked on easily since it is rather intangible. whose sole role is to take corrective actions in improving BP¶s safety culture. BP should consider setting up an internal task force. 1 Report prepared by Kovac and several other BP employees and management officials in 2001to identify safety and maintenance issues the company needed to address to protect the welfare of its workers. and yet they have time and time again ignored such alarms with excuses. However. 6. Another possible solution would be to approach the management by sending anonymous email to the company¶s internal audit department with full detailed report of the problem faced. Hence.consulted his colleagues and supervisor regarding the problem. which identified safety and maintenance issues the company needed to address to protect the welfare of its workers. One plausible solution to carry this out is to improve enforcement of the Operation Integrity Review1documentthat BP came up with in 2001. Our group believes that what can be done to rectify this problem is to improve the company¶s safety culture. it can be seen that the root of the accident is the poor safety culture in the company. in their own interests. BP would no longer be able to give any other excuses not to perform any improvement in the condition of its safety equipments. obsolete and old equipments to be eradicated or upgraded by stricter monitoring. . instead of stopping his work right away.23 - . BP always had a structure of monitoring systems in place.

an engineer should consider all possible solution and make decision based on the most universally agreed approach. . However. they would never know. BP and Halliburton may argue that they did so believing that nothing major would have happened. The line between right and wrong in any ethical problem is usually rather ambiguous. Hence. not in the future as well. Had they known that such a consequence would occur. A convenient gauge would be to satisfy all or most of the code of universally agreed engineering ethics. not in the past.24 - . while BP engineers and Halliburton had put their self-interest. should still be considered when all other alternatives fail. they surely would have done otherwise. there is no substitute for good judgment. BP and Halliburton had still neglected to follow the least that they should have done. Whistle-blowing should be placed as the last resort in any case. It is generally agreed that human lives should never be compromised even though sometimes that means sacrificing the engineer¶s personal interest. jobsecurity. while dealing with ethical cases. before public interest. Hence. to follow the rig maintenance safety guideline. BP management had failed to respect this principle by compromising condition of the rig¶s safety gadgets. professional ethical codes cannot cover all the possible situations that an employee might encounter. however. However. in each case. resulting in the unfortunate disaster. an engineer would find conflict between their interest and public interest.CHAPTER 7: CONCLUSION In summary. A solution that can be accepted by one party may be disadvantageous and disagreed by another party. As aforementioned. not now.

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