Deepwater companies to face sanctions

Sept. 15, 2011 at 12:25 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. government is set to levy sanctions against the three companies involved in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, an agency chief said Thursday.

Director Michael Bromwich of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement said the process could begin as early as next week when his bureau would initial notices of non-compliance to BP, Halliburton and Transocean, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The notices would cite seven offshore drilling violations in connection with the disaster.

Violation fees now are capped at $40,000 per day per incident, the Chronicle said, but if the violations covered the full 87 days of the oil spill the total would reach $3.48 million.

A joint investigation by the bureau and the Coast Guard identified the seven alleged violations:

-- BP failed to protect health, safety, property, and the environment when BP and Transocean did not perform all operations in a safe and workmanlike manner; or maintain all equipment and work areas in a safe condition.

-- BP, Transocean, and Halliburton (through subsidiary Sperry Sun) did not prevent conditions that posed unreasonable risk.

-- BP, Transocean, and Halliburton (Sperry Sun) failed to take necessary precautions to keep the well under control.

-- BP and Transocean failed to maintain the BOP (blowout preventer) system as per regulation.

-- BP and Halliburton did not cement the well in a way to properly control formation pressures and fluids; and prevent the direct or indirect release of fluids from any stratum through the wellbore into offshore waters.

-- BP failed to use pressure a integrity test and behavior observations to adjust the drilling fluid program and the setting depth of the next casing string.

-- BP failed to conduct the negative test on April 20 in accordance with the test procedure. A negative test looks to see if a determining condition is absent.

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