歐巴馬特設小組總結:墨灣漏油人為疏失 原可避免 | 台灣環境資訊協會-環境資訊中心

歐巴馬特設小組總結:墨灣漏油人為疏失 原可避免

2011年01月12日
摘譯自2011年1月7日ENS美國,華盛頓特區報導;林可麗編譯;范仕穎審校

美國針對墨灣事件的專責小組發佈調查報告,指出至少三家公司,為了節省時間金錢所作的瑕疵決策,增加了油井爆炸風險,因此導致了災難性的漏油事件,三家公司分別是:英國石油公司(BP)、哈里伯頓石油服務公司(Halliburton)、泛洋公司(Transocean)。這份報告的結論指出英國石油的深水地平線(Deepwater Horizon)漏油事件是「可避免的」,並且,追根究柢而言,可以說是「管理疏失」。

這個跨黨派小組並譴責聯邦政府,發現聯邦法律並沒有辦法解決密西西比三角洲東南方60公里英國石油的馬康多(Macondo)油井爆炸事件的關鍵議題。

BP是一家英國石油公司,向泛洋公司承租了深水地平線鑽油機台,用以進行在海水深度1600公尺,海床底下5,500公尺深的石油。哈里伯頓則承包以水泥密封完成測試的油井工程項目。

在2010年4月20日的時候,油井爆炸導致11名勞工死亡,另外17名勞工嚴重受傷,並且在長達三個月的期間內以無法控制之勢噴洩了超過4百萬桶原油到墨西哥灣中,造成了美國水域中史無前例的大型漏油事件。原油污染了數百英哩的海岸線,並且導致墨西哥灣1/3的漁業被迫暫停。數以千計的聯邦與承包商員工耗費數月的時間進行清理,直至今日離復原的進度仍然遠遠落後。

歐巴馬總統在2010年5月22日建立了英國石油深水地平線漏油與海上鑽油國家理事會(National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling),以調查漏油事件的根本原因,並建議如何避免與疏解任何未來海上鑽油可能引起的漏油衝擊。

星期二的時候,理事會將會公布最後的報告,包含所有廣泛調查的細節,以及對總統、國會以及業界提出正式建議,以防止類似事件再度發生。

在報告全文正式公布前,理事會先行公佈的預告章節中,理事會警告除非工業界與政府大刀闊斧地改革,未來可能還會有其他類似的災難事件發生。

報告寫道,「油井爆炸並不是因為無賴的工業界或政府人員一系列脫軌的決策引起。事件的根本原因是系統性的,如果政府與產業界沒有重大改革,相同的事件可能會再度重演。」

理事會的共同主席雷里(William Reilly)對調查結果表示,「根據我對石油業界的觀察,有好幾家公司的安全及環境記錄都堪稱模範。所以這個悲劇的關鍵問題是,像英國石油這樣的公司,犯的錯到底是純粹因為錯誤行為導致致命的後果,或是因為全部的工業界都過於自滿才造成?根據泛洋與哈里伯頓這兩家幾乎服務遍佈全世界所有海洋的公司現有的失敗記錄,我必須不情願地做出這樣的結論,我們整個系統都出了問題。」

理事會的報告指出,「油井因為幾個獨立的風險因素爆炸,這幾個大辣辣的錯誤總合起來,讓原本設計用來避免意外事件的安全措施無力應付。但大部分在馬康多油井的錯誤以及監督機制可以追溯到一個單一的失敗原因,那就是管理的失敗。」

告指出,「英國石油、泛洋與哈里伯頓如果可以好好管理,那麼幾乎可以確定這起油井爆炸是可以避免的,這些公司可以藉由改善相關人員辨識風險,適當評估、溝通,與解決風險問題的能力來防止爆炸的發生。」

根據預先發佈的報告內容指出,這三家公司所作的瑕疵決策,讓它們節省了金錢與時間。內容寫道,「不管是否蓄意,許多由英國石油、泛洋,與哈里伯頓做出的決策,導致馬康多油井爆炸風險增加,這樣的情形明顯讓這些公司節省了可觀的時間(與金錢)。」

理事會舉了許多工程上與管理上錯誤導致爆炸的例子:

  • 工程後段的油井設計決策中不適宜的風險評估與管理
  • 封閉油井底部的水泥漿設計有缺陷,設計未經適當工程審視或是操作者監督
  • 一個用來評估水泥封閉油井底部效果的「負壓測試」(negative pressure test)雖找到問題,但是卻因為嚴格測試程序不足以及關鍵人員不當訓練之故,誤判水泥封井結果成功。
  • 錯誤的流程導致非必要地從油井套管移除鑽井泥。如果不將鑽井泥漿移除的話,泥漿將能夠幫助防止石油碳氫化合物進入井中,進而避免爆炸發生。
  • 對顯示油井即將爆炸的初始關鍵訊號明顯未多加注意
  • 油井爆炸一開始的緊急回應效果不彰,包括但不僅限於鑽油機具的防爆器封井功能失效

美國路易斯安那州民主黨參議員連德(Mary Landrieu)今日表示,「這些發現似乎支持了我們一直以來說的:油井爆炸大部份是人為因素引起,也就是這些管理並且操作那個特定鑽油機具的公司引起的錯誤,並不是由任何錯誤的機械系統或是機組失效引起。」

連德批評歐巴馬當局自五月起因漏油事件暫停墨灣6個月的海上鑽油活動為「極端、反應過度、不必要」。

理事會的報告全文預計於1月11日發佈,將會包含一個章節,描述爆炸前與爆炸後的歷史事件,以及企業與政府安全規則及緊急應變實務的改善需求。

報告也將詳細敘述復原以及保護墨灣的環境將面臨的挑戰以及理事會對避免類似事件再度發生的建議。另一份關於爆炸的獨立報告也將由理事會的首席律師發佈。

Presidential Panel Blames Companies for 'Avoidable' Gulf Oil Spill
WASHINGTON, DC, January 7, 2011 (ENS)

Errors and misjudgments by at least three companies - BP, Halliburton and Transocean - contributed to last year's disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a U.S. presidential panel said Thursday in an advance chapter of its final report. The report concludes that the BP/Deepwater Horizon spill was "preventable" and could be traced to "a failure of management."

The bipartisan panel also laid blame on the federal government, finding that federal regulations did not address many of the key issues that led to the blowout of BP's Macondo well 40 miles southeast of the Mississippi Delta.

BP, a British company, leased the Deepwater Horizon oil rig from Transocean to drill for oil to a depth of 18,000 feet beneath the seafloor in water nearly a mile deep. Halliburton was contracted to seal the completed test well with cement.

On April 20, 2010, the blowout killed 11 workers, seriously injured 17 others, and spewed uncontrolled over four million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico for three months, creating the largest oil spill ever in American waters. The oil fouled hundreds of miles of shoreline and forced closure of about one-third of the gulf to fishing. Thousands of federal and contract employees worked for months on cleanup, and today restoration is far from complete.

President Barack Obama established the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling on May 22, 2010 to investigate the root causes of the spill and provide recommendations on how to prevent and mitigate the impact of any future spills that result from offshore drilling.

On Tuesday, the commission will release its final report with all the details of its extensive investigation and official recommendations to President Obama, Congress and the industry for avoiding a similar episode.

In this advance chapter, the commission warns that unless industry and government make major changes, another similar disaster could happen.

"The blowout was not the product of a series of aberrational decisions made by rogue industry or government officials that could not have been anticipated or expected to occur again," the report states. "Rather, the root causes are systemic and, absent significant reform in both industry practices and government policies, might well recur."

Commission Co-Chair William Reilly said of the findings, "My observation of the oil industry indicates that there are several companies with exemplary safety and environment records. So a key question posed from the outset by this tragedy is, do we have a single company, BP, that blundered with fatal consequences, or a more pervasive problem of a complacent industry? Given the documented failings of both Transocean and Halliburton, both of which serve the offshore industry in virtually every ocean, I reluctantly conclude we have a system-wide problem."

The commission's report states, "The well blew out because a number of separate risk factors, oversights, and outright mistakes combined to overwhelm the safeguards meant to prevent just such an event from happening. But most of the mistakes and oversights at Macondo can be traced back to a single overarching failure - a failure of management."

"Better management by BP, Halliburton, and Transocean would almost certainly have prevented the blowout by improving the ability of individuals involved to identify the risks they faced, and to properly evaluate, communicate, and address them," the report states.

Time and money were saved as a result of the flawed decisions the three companies made, according to the advance chapter, which states, "Whether purposeful or not, many of the decisions that BP, Halliburton, and Transocean made that increased the risk of the Macondo blowout clearly saved those companies significant time (and money)."

The commission provides many instances of engineering mistakes and management failures that resulted in the blowout:

  • Inadequate risk evaluation and management of late-stage well design decisions
  • A flawed design for the cement slurry used to seal the bottom of the well, which was developed without adequate engineering review or operator supervision
  • A "negative pressure test," conducted to evaluate the cement seal at the bottom of the well, identified problems but was incorrectly judged a success because of insufficiently rigorous test procedures and inadequate training of key personnel
  • Flawed procedures for securing the well that called for unnecessarily removing drilling mud from the wellbore. If left in place, that drilling mud would have helped prevent hydrocarbons from entering the well and causing the blowout
  • Apparent inattention to key initial signals of the impending blowout
  • An ineffective response to the blowout once it began, including but not limited to a failure of the rig's blowout preventer to close off the well

United States Senator Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat said today, "These findings seem to support what we`ve said all along: that the blowout was caused mainly by human error among the companies managing and servicing that particular rig, not by any faulty mechanical system or equipment failure."

Landrieu criticized the Obama administration's six month moratorium on offshore drilling in the gulf, imposed in May as a result of the oil spill, calling it "excessive, over-reactive and uncalled for."

The commission's full report, to be released January 11, will contain chapters on a history of events before and after the blowout and the need for both improved corporate and government safety rules and response practices.

It will detail challenges for restoring and protecting the Gulf of Mexico's environment and the commission's recommendations for avoiding another such episode. A separate report on the blowout from the commission's chief counsel also will be released.

全文及圖片詳見:ENS報導