White Whales and Black Swans: the Revised BSEE Drilling Rules

Rollback of BSEE regulations

This article from the online journal The Hill makes some pointed criticisms to do with BSEE’s rolling back of regulations that were introduced following the Deepwater Horizon/Macondo explosion and fire. It states,

The Deepwater Horizon disaster laid bare the unfortunate reality of decades of insufficient oversight. Multiple investigations pointed to a deficient safety culture and an atmosphere where the need to get to the big plays and produce under-budget prevailed. Far from being a rare, “white whale” event, the disaster was just about the least surprising event that could have occurred in the Gulf.

Use of the term “white whale” is interesting, with its implicit contrast to “black swan”. Those who followed the Deepwater Horizon/Macondo event may recall that the managing director of BP at the time referred to the event as a Black Swan. He was not correct, as discussed in Safety Moment #11: Black Swans and Bow Ties. (And it is useful to reflect on the ultimate fate of Moby Dick.)

The draft proposed rule is available here. Part of their justification for the revisions is to do with improvements in  Blowout Preventer (BOP) technology.

Copyright © Ian Sutton. 2018. All Rights Reserved.