Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Risk Analysis

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Risk assessment of Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Explosion and Oil Spill and Current Layout
Shishir Tripathi

Abstract—The explosion and the consequent sinking of Deepwater Horizon oil rig resulted in one of the worst accidental oil spill disaster in the history of petroleum industry. The investigation reports conclude several causes leading to the disaster. The primary cause for the incident, however, is attributed to the negligence and absence of disaster management procedures and protocols. The objective of the paper is to understand the root causes that lead to the disaster and present a risk assessment analysis which were in place at the day of incident. Some of the key equipment which were intended to serve as barriers to the explosion and the subsequent oil spill failed to operate on the day of incident. This led to some major organizational changes in the regulatory bodies of USA and the global oil and petroleum industry. These changes and proposed modifications to the pre-existing safety equipment which were put in place after the incident are also
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The Macondo well was exploratory in nature implying the uncertainties in evaluating the characteristics that determine the well easy or difficult to drill. On the day of the tragedy, effective safeguards were not in place to eliminate or minimize the consequences of a safety incident. The safeguards (or barriers) intended to prevent such a disaster were not properly constructed, tested, or maintained, or surprisingly, they had been removed. The management systems intended to ensure the required functionality and reliability of these safety critical barriers were inadequate. Moreover, the barriers meant to prevent and control a blowout failed to operate on the day of the

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