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Well.... BP has already started - FIND THE EOB !!

Well.... BP has already started - FIND THE EOB !!

Well.... BP has already started - FIND THE EOB !!

EOB is an acronym for "Engineer of Blame"...

"The entire industry should not be blamed for the actions of one single individual," John Hofmeister, chief executive officer of Citizens for Affordable Energy and a former Royal Dutch Shell Plc executive, said in an interview with Peter Cook today on Bloomberg Television's "Inside Track."

"BP Said to Fault Own Engineers for Misinterpreting Well Data"


Common sense has to ask ... Does BP gamble billions of dollars on ONE INDIVIDUAL DOING HIS JOB PROPERLY !!!??

Who, then, is still at fault.... the EOB or the company ?

Quick....Get the pitchforks and the torches....storm the castle.....find that ONE INDIVIDUAL !!!

It can never be the fault of an MBA.......


RE: Well.... BP has already started - FIND THE EOB !!

I can see how the conversation went now...........

Engineer: Sir this data shows the well is problematic, we should shut down and perform more tests.

Manager: Will it fail?

Engineer: I don't know and I can't give you an answer to that until we perform more tests.

Manager: In a perfect world we would shut down and do more test, but this rig is costing us 10 million a day to operate and that will take a week. I'm going to put on my manager hat now and tell you carry on with the operation as the cost is high and you have not clearly defined the risk.

Engineer: I protest

Manager: Your opinion is noted and ignored. Carry on.

before the enginner has a chance to resign and or get in touch with someone higher in management the rig explodes making the argument moot.

Theres never any reward for an accident prevented, but there is alwasy plenty of sorrow and blame when something goes wrong.

Just my two cents worth

A question properly stated is a problem half solved.

Always remember, free advice is worth exactly what you pay for it!  


RE: Well.... BP has already started - FIND THE EOB !!

with the sincerest respect for those who were at the receiving end of the decision ... i think a similar discussion happened at NASA with the Challenger foam "incident".

unfortunately it seems these days that there are very few "decision makers" with the technical savvy to make these decisions.

RE: Well.... BP has already started - FIND THE EOB !!

Ironic that BP is taking this approach now.  After Tx City they did every thing they could to make it appear that no one was responsible for anything.  Even the ones that eventually "took the fall" received generous packages for accepting responsibility.

RE: Well.... BP has already started - FIND THE EOB !!

As I heard, the BP Manager who reduced maintenance on the Alaska Pipeline to save money (over the guidelines of the technical people) that then leaked and caused a spill was promoted to elsewhere.


RE: Well.... BP has already started - FIND THE EOB !!


Does everyone agree that there seems to be a pattern here ?

Perhaps, this is not just a BP issue....but a generic issue between management and engineering ?

What are your thoughts ???


RE: Well.... BP has already started - FIND THE EOB !!

Taking risks is a basic function of management.

You're thinking there's a difference between everyday monetary risk to the business, and risk to someone else's life and property.

Hubris causes managers to lose sight of the distinction, even if they once knew it.  

Granted, the risks are really only different in magnitude.  Courts occasionally recalibrate the conversion factor.


Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Well.... BP has already started - FIND THE EOB !!

This is why they introduced corporate manslaughter laws in the UK. a few directors have been prosecuted for allowing health and safety breeches that have caused lives.

It means that the blame can legally be taken all the way to the top stopping at key figures along the way!

I cant see this law being introduced in the US, too much owed by politicians to big business lobbyists.

RE: Well.... BP has already started - FIND THE EOB !!

Also consider that PERHAPS the engineer WAS to blame.  We are not perfect, technical savants who are incapable of error.

The real test of a companies mettle comes from what they actually change in their process in response to this event.  More training?  More on-site oversight?  Better specifications?  Changing the physical process to prevent this error(i.e. poka-yoke)?  Making rig managers immune from firing for shutting down a rig for whatever reason they deem important?

If all they do is fire the person to "blame" then they have done nothing but delay the same thing happening again when another person of similar ability makes a mistake.  I think it is ok to place blame where appropriate but it doesn't exempt management from making changes.


RE: Well.... BP has already started - FIND THE EOB !!

"More training"?

Funny.  If anything, engineers need to be trained how to sell risk and reality to beancounters.

- Steve

RE: Well.... BP has already started - FIND THE EOB !!

Judging from the disciplines that most of the guys above have after their usernames, I think I can claim to be the only person here who has ever been a Company Man, in charge of drilling operations.  In the GoM especially, there's still the 'cult' of the Company Man: there's the Company Man and then there is God....

Looking at the mudlog data that BP released, it was clear (in hindsight at least!) that the Macondo well was flowing at least an hour before the explosion... and yet the wellsite team did not recognise this and shut the well in.  Also it was clear that the inflow test was not as it should have been (too much fluid was returned after the test).

But the way these things are done, with the Toolpusher, Company Man, Driller and Cementer all looking at the results is that it is possible for people to convince themsleves that things are OK: additional flow from the well after a test is fluid compressibility/ gas in the mud/ thermal effects.  If the Company Man is a forcefull personality (and most of them are!) it is easy to o along with himthat "that's a good test" and on to the next step.
Similarly the flow out of the well after the pumps have stopped is assumed to be U tubing rather than the well flowing as the well is cased and cemented isn't it?

From the mud log data I've seen, I see several people with some culpability:

1. Cementer, toolpusher and (most of all) Company Man for accepting the inflow test results

2. Driller, derrickman and mud logger for not picking up the well was flowing (flow out > flow in and flow out continuing after pumps off really really should have got the driller's attention)

3. Driller for not shutting in the well even though he phones the drilling office 4 times in the last 15 minutes before the explosion (assuming the calls were to do with the well and not about say, the dinner menu!)

4. Multiple failures on multiple separate systems on the BOP stack and BOP operating systems  (the BOP should be recovered soon and will almost certainly be impounded by the US Coastguard, and then a few questions should be answered).

RE: Well.... BP has already started - FIND THE EOB !!

And CSD72... in my opinion the UK's corporate manslaughter laws were simply bad laws passed to calm the media down.  The 1974 Health & Safety at Work act has plenty of powers to prosecute senior people including company directors for HSE breaches, and the ability to fine corporate bodies large sums of money for HSE failings.  The HSE have powers of arrest (I've been interviewed under caution by an HSE Inspector after a reportable incident on an oil platform, which was a sobering experience).

The problem is the difference between "Responsible" and "Accountable" (which we should all know from our RACI charts!) and proving a direct line of responsibility between, say the board of Jarvis and the Jarvis maintenance crew that couldn't be bothered to bolt the points up correctly at Potters Bar gets very very difficult.  I can't see anyone ever being succesfully prosecuted under the new corporate mansaulter laws that couldn't have been sucessfully prosecuted under the H&SAW act.

RE: Well.... BP has already started - FIND THE EOB !!

This is going to be a grand game of CYA (cover your ...)for the next few years.   

RE: Well.... BP has already started - FIND THE EOB !!

Would the responsibility/accountability have changed any if all the people in all those roles were "company men" instead of subcontractors?  Or has this work been subcontracted under company direction since time immemorial?  It seems that BP's on the hook for the (tangible) clean-up costs regardless.  


RE: Well.... BP has already started - FIND THE EOB !!

Almost every Company Man and Night Company Man across the world is a dayrater (ie a self employed sub contractor).  It suits the Company Man (massive tax advantages; able to move on to another job easily when this drilling programme finishes) and it suits the oil complany (no holiday or sickness pay etc; no requirement to have a roughty toughty non-PC wellside type in the office not doing much other than frighten people in between campaigns).  

He will have a lot of liability insurance, and BP will have to proove that they checked he was competent when they took him on (Competency Assurance is a big topic in the oilfield right now). In terms of liabilites, BP will only be able to go after the guy on the Deepwater Horizon if they can proove he deliberately or maliciuosly ignored the signs... probalyl difficult to do!

The real arguments and blame games will start when the BOP is recovered and the tear down complete.....

RE: Well.... BP has already started - FIND THE EOB !!

Right - Competency Assurance - for the Engineer.

But when will companies have Comentency Assurance testing - for the managers?

RE: Well.... BP has already started - FIND THE EOB !!

The Peter Principle applies, and ensures that management have usually risen to at least their 1st level of incompetence.  Competency testing would be a waste of time!

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