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resent a written (in report format as per lecture one guidelines) case study report focusing on a major workplace safety incident that occurred (anywhere in the world) that occurred because of a failure in safety systems (i.e. not due to a natural disaster etc.). The emphasis and purpose of the report is to; conduct research, describe and discuss the incident primarily in relation to the Safety Systems related to the event.

? Describe the incident/event and possible causes of the event (including causes related to the management/operation of safety systems)
? Discuss the incident/event in relation to any failures in safety systems (including managerial) that were present
? Discuss what preventative measures were/should have been taken and recommend changes that you suggest should be implemented to limit the possibility of a repeat event occurring?
? How would you review the effectiveness of your proposed changes?
? Use correct report format with an executive summary, title page, introduction and conclusion etc.

Word Limit: This Report should be approximately 2500-3500 words in length (not including the title page,summary, table of contents, references or appendices). Writing concise yet informative reports is an important part of being a Professional Engineer. The ability to accurately convey information in a concise, relevant and effective manner is a key skill that you should endeavour to develop. Reports containing more than 3500 or fewer than 2500 words will result in mark penalties of 20% of the possible mark for every 500 words or part thereof under/ over the limit. 

Overview of Macondo Prospect

The Macondo prospect was situated at 52 miles south of the Venice Port in Gulf of Mexico. The site nearly about 5000 feet underneath the ocean level and having a great potential for extraction petroleum, but at some level the site was at very hazardous place. The level of natural gas was very high which made the work of drilling very challenging. The drilling in ultra-deep water and deep water has arrived as a most economical, profitable and technologically feasible in mid 2000s, due to high price of crude oil in the international market (Mason, 2014). In 2009 on 19 March, BP has taken the privileges of operating Macondo Prospect from the U.S Minerals Management services.

The Minerals Management services as an oil regulatory body issued permit to BP to drill on U.S waters and in return, the BP will give then a royalty revenue. BP was the principle developer of the prospect and held 65% shares of the project (Sammarco, 2013). Everything is going well but on 20 April 2010 world’s biggest oil explosion taken place at the Macondo Prospect that is well known as the Deepwater Horizon.  The explosion is the result of a failure in the operation of the BP. This report is developed to understand the full incident and the cause behind the explosion, the description of the failure and in addition, some prevention and recommendations were provided.  

Description of incident and cause of event

The oil-drilling rig Deepwater Horizon is an incident that was taken place in the Macondo Prospect at Gulf of Mexico. Sank and exploded was taken place on 20 April 2010 that was result in the death of 11 labours of Deepwater Horizon. The cap of oil remains opened for over 87 days and the oil spill continues during the period around 4.9 million barrels of oil streamed from the damaged Macondo well and lastly on 15 July 2010 the well was capped (Gutierrez, 2013).

The incident is considered to be the major spill of oil in the history of nautical oil drilling operation and in the history of petroleum was estimated that the spill of oil is 8-31% more than the last spill of oil in the sea. The government of U.S provide an estimated of discharge of oil which was 4.9 million barrels. The United State filled a complaint against BP Exploration and Production and against some other defendants on 15 December 2010 in District court (Kimes, 2013). After the several efforts made to stop the leakage from the well but authorities was failed to stop the leakage finally on 19 September 2012 the well site was declared sealed. One report pubised which states that indicates that in 2012 the well site was still leaking.

The Explosion and Oil Spill


On 20 April 2010 at around 9.45 pm, the great compression methane gas leaked from the well prolonged into the drilling riser and went into the drilling rig where it kindled and blasted immersing the platform. At that particular time of explosion around 126 crewmembers was present their on the site among which 79 are Transocean, 7 was BP employees and remaining was belong to various other companies. Among them 11 crew member are missing and were certainly not found, although U.S coast guards continued their search operation for 3 days to find those 11 employees but was not found and later they were declared died in the explosion (Dubinsky, 2013).   Rest 94 crew members were rescued by helicopters and lifeboats among them 17 was injured. On 22 April 2010, in morning the Deepwater Horizon sank. 

Extent and Volume of oil Spill

After the explosion on 22 April 2010, the oil leak was discovered in afternoon, when huge oil glassy arose to spread at the former rig site. The oil leaked for 87 days and flow rate estimated by BP was 1000 to 5000 barrels every day and the flow rate technical group estimated the initial flow rate around 62000 barrels per day (Dubansky, 2013). According to the images which was taken by the satellite shows that the oil spill directly affect the 68000 square miles of ocean. When on July 2010 satellite taken the image again the oil has covered the area of ocean around 125 miles.  

 Impacts of incident

Environmental Impact

In between May and June 2010, the water of ocean has contained 40 times more polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that is very harmful human as well as marine life. The area were the explosion has taken place hosted around 8332 species, including more than 604 polychaetes, 1270 fish, 218 birds, 1456 mollusks, 29 marine mammals, 4 sea turtles and 1503 crustaceans (Liu & Liu, 2013). The leakage covers the surface of ocean and due to that the oxygen level in the water got reduced which cause a death of many marine species.

Heath Consequences

In June 2010 there were 108 workers are involved in clean-up process among which 35 were local residents. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospital predict that the chemicals that were released from the oil can harm the health of the worker. In 2012 the survey is conducted which shows that the workers who are involve in the clean-up they are suffering from various health problems like hypertension, central and nervous system damage, liver and kidney damage, short-term memory loss and confusion, lesion and burning, skin irritation, seizures, vomit and rectal bleeding, blood in urine, respiratory problems, nose, eyes and throat irritation and miscarriages (Mulabagal, Yin, Hayworth & Clement, 2013).    

Extent and Volume of Oil Spill

Description of incident in relation to failures in safety system

BP admits that they are responsible for the disaster but with its acceptance they have also point out that its two contractors. The incident is taken place on 20 April, the day earlier the incident the crew of the company had impelled the cement to the foot of the well, they have followed the standard process envisioned to prevent oil leakage. On the day of incident the crewmembers were accompanying a check to govern that the well was got sealed appropriately. 

According to the various reports generated by the various authorities there were eight main catastrophic failures were recorded.  Due to these eight failures, the explosion was taken place and 11 employees lose their lives (Zhou, 2013).  The failures that have led to the blast that has devastated the Deepwater Horizon Drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, lead to the biggest oil leakage in the history and kill 11 employees are:  

While sealing the borehole of the well the crew member did not used a good quality cement they have used dodgy cement to seal the bottom of borehole and due to that the borehole did not make a lid, and the gas and oil instigated to leak through the pip to the surface. BP indicated in their report that the cement formulation used by the crew members did not seems to be up to the mark.  

To seal the bottom of the well pipe there are two ways, first it was to be sealed with the cement and in addition, the pipe was has two motorised valves, which are intended to stop the movement of gas and oil. Both cement and valves were failed and allowed gas and oil to transport up throw pipelines to the surface (Rivers, 2013).

The report of BP clarified the picture that to check weather well got sealed or not the crew has conducted various pressure tests and the result of tests was misinterpreted, so they considered that the well was sealed properly.

By looking at the increased pressure on the valve of the well the crew members present at the surface of the well not capable to sense a drift of gas and oil that whether the is under control or not. The pressure of on the valve was increased around 1 hour before the rig blasted but was not considered as a leak. 

Environmental and Health Impacts

Before eight minutes of the blast, a combination of mud and gas instigated torrential onto the floor of the rig. The crewmembers proximately taken an action to close the regulator in an expedient which called the blowout preventer, which sits on the sea floor over the top of the well borehole. The valve did not work appropriately.  

There was an option available for the crewmembers to avert the mud and dirt away from the rig and emitting it securely through tubing over the side. However, they have distracted the flow of expedient on panel the rig that was intended to distinct minor amount of gas from a drift of mud. The mud extractor was speedily got overawed and combustible gas initiated to immerse the rig (King, Kostka, Hazen & Sobecky, 2015).    

At the time of installing the plant, company has planned to installed gas alarmed. The rig had an on-board gas discovery system that is made-up to make a sound at the time of leakage or at the time of closing of airing fans to avoid the gas, attainment latent causes of explosion such as the rig engines but the alarm system was got failed.

The blast has devastated the control lines the crewmembers has tried to close the security valve in the blowout preventer. The blowout preventer has its individual security apparatus. The mechanism has two distinct systems which got shut mechanically when it lost interaction with the surface (Schwacke, 2013). The one system of blowout preventer had the flat battery, the other had a defective switch, and due to which they could not able to close the blowout preventer.  

Preventive measures taken and Recommendations

The incident of Deepwater Horizon has provided a very bad impact on the environment as well as on the health of the employees and the workers who are working in cleaning. To reduce the chances of these types of incidents the company need to follow some safety measures which are been decided by the Government, petroleum ministry and other related organisation (Chanton, 2014). After the incident taken place in 2010, the company as well as other companies who are involve in the business actives related to petroleum extraction need to follow some standards.

Averting Chemical Hazards release

Petrol is a mixture of various composite liquid organic compounds and hydrocarbons molecular weights. Chemical which petroleum contain has the capacity of react when exposed to other chemicals. To reduce the effect of chemicals the company has to install safe release plants, which are well intended, carefully functioned, appropriately inspected and maintained (Gray, 2014).

Failures in Safety System

Environmental pollution prevention

The activities such as exploitation and exploration of petroleum industry cause environmental degradation that leaves their major impact on the quality of human health, soil, water, and air. To prevent the environment from the pollution arrive due to the petroleum related procedures the company should provide environment awareness as a part of work task. There are various, guidelines and rules are made regarding emission, discharge, and disposal of petroleum the company has to make sure that the employees should follow them all (Beyer, Trannum, Bakke, Hodson, & Collier, 2016).

Pipeline and Valve safety

Pipeline is the furthermost reasonable way to transport large amount of oil and can be found at every part of globe. Closely half a million kilometres pipelines are carrying natural gas (Paul, 2013). The Deepwater Horizon also the explosion is taken place due to the leakage in the pipeline. The petroleum industry has recommended that the companies should maintain, expand and develop the machine-driven reliability of upstream pipelines.   

Personal protective equipment’s for workers

Danger is related with every activity of the petroleum exploitation and exploration. The activities include building well foundation, erecting lease tanks hydraulically fracturing wells and chemical treating. At each activity, various workers are employed. It is a well-known fact the workers who work in petroleum industry are always surrounded by the danger. It is the responsibility of the company to provide them required equipment which include eyes, extremities, head and face, respiratory devices and barriers, protective clothing and protective shields,  (Jafarinejad, 2016).       

Hazardous waste disposal

In the process of oil extraction the various hazardous waste is disposed in the air and water due to which the huge impact was shown on the environment and human health. The company need to adopt an effective ways to dispose the waste material and hazardous gases. The all waste material must be in a separate containers so it can not react with rest waste (Olajire, 2014).  

Equipment for emergency response onsite

The workers who work on site has the chances to caught into some sought of emergency situation. To fight those emergency situation it is important that company should provide emergency equipment’s at work stations and at areas nearby. The equipment’s such as fixed and portable fire extinguishers and these are to be in working condition.

Install alert system in case of fire

In the case of fire, it is important that workers should get warning or alert so they can leave the building and work area before catch into some danger. The companies need to installed emergency alarm and mass notified system which will alert the employees in case of danger. The companies can use the new and updated method of provided alert of danger on the employee’s mobile phone (Olajire, 2014).

Preventive Measures Taken and Recommendations

Provide training to employees to use the equipment’s and what to be done at time of emergency

Installing the safety equipment is not enough or worth full, if employees is unknown about the usage. It is important for the companies to provide proper training of equipment’s to the employees and in addition they will provided a training of what steps need to be taken at the time of emergency (Ambituuni, Amezaga & Emeseh, 2014).


It is important for the company to adopt the new changes which were mention above because in previous the company has face a big issue which has provided a big impact on many countries economy, on the environment, on health of employees and other people and animals. In past due to Deepwater Horizon incident various problem arrived in the company they have to face law suits they has to pay huge compensation amount to the various countries, people and many more. After the incident, a huge cost was invested in the cleaning of ocean and surrounding. If the company want to be safe from the various issues and problems it become important for them to adopt the recommendations and in addition they need to follow the additional standards which are decided by the government and other authorities.    


To conclude, the incident of Deepwater Horizon is taken place in 2010 it was a result of a complete failure of the operation of the company due to the system or operation failure the 11 employees has lost their lives. It is important for the companies to adopt well-defined process for operation the operations of the company. In addition, it is important that have to follow the security and safety standards which are mentioned by the country government, other country government in which they are doing business and by the various international organisation.

It is very essential for the company to run their operation by deciding some standards and by following rules and regulations. It is a responsibility of companies to make sure that their safety system should work properly to avoid risks. In addition, it is the responsibility of the government to check that all the companies who are involve in the hazardous business are following the all safety instructions and standards. If government find any fault in following the standards and instruction, they can cancel their licence after providing warning. 


Ambituuni, A., Amezaga, J., & Emeseh, E. (2014). Analysis of safety and environmental regulations for downstream petroleum industry operations in Nigeria: Problems and prospects. Journal of Environmental Development, 9, 43-60.

Beyer, J., Trannum, H. C., Bakke, T., Hodson, P. V., & Collier, T. K. (2016). Environmental effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill: a review. Journal of Marine Pollution Bulletin, 110(1), 28-51.

Chanton, J., Zhao, T., Rosenheim, B. E., Joye, S., Bosman, S., Brunner, C., & Hollander, D. (2014). Using natural abundance radiocarbon to trace the flux of petrocarbon to the seafloor following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Journal of Environmental science & technology, 49(2), 847-854.

Dubansky, B., Whitehead, A., Miller, J. T., Rice, C. D., & Galvez, F. (2013). Multitissue molecular, genomic, and developmental effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on resident Gulf killifish (Fundulus grandis). Journal of Environmental Science & Technology, 47(10), 5074-5082.

Dubinsky, E. A., Conrad, M. E., Chakraborty, R., Bill, M., Borglin, S. E., Hollibaugh, J. T., & Tom, L. M. (2013). Succession of hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Environmental science & technology, 47(19), 10860-10867.

Fairley, P. (2014). How to prevent Deepwater Spills.

Gray, J. L., Kanagy, L. K., Furlong, E. T., Kanagy, C. J., McCoy, J. W., Mason, A., & Lauenstein, G. (2014). Presence of the Corexit component dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate in Gulf of Mexico waters after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Journal of Chemosphere, 95, 124-130.

Gutierrez, T., Singleton, D. R., Berry, D., Yang, T., Aitken, M. D., & Teske, A. (2013). Hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria enriched by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill identified by cultivation and DNA-SIP. The ISME journal, 7(11), 2091.

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Kimes, N. E., Callaghan, A. V., Aktas, D. F., Smith, W. L., Sunner, J., Golding, B. T., & Morris, P. J. (2013). Metagenomic analysis and metabolite profiling of deep–sea sediments from the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Journal of Frontiers in Microbiology, 4, 50.

King, G. M., Kostka, J. E., Hazen, T. C., & Sobecky, P. A. (2015). Microbial responses to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill: from coastal wetlands to the deep sea. Annual review of marine science, 7, 377-401.

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Liu, Z., & Liu, J. (2013). Evaluating bacterial community structures in oil collected from the sea surface and sediment in the northern Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Journal of MicrobiologyOpen, 2(3), 492-504.

Mason, O. U., Scott, N. M., Gonzalez, A., Robbins-Pianka, A., Bælum, J., Kimbrel, J., & Fortney, J. L. (2014). Metagenomics reveals sediment microbial community response to Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The ISME journal, 8(7), 1464.

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Paul, J. H., Hollander, D., Coble, P., Daly, K. L., Murasko, S., English, D., ... & Kovach, C. W. (2013). Toxicity and mutagenicity of Gulf of Mexico waters during and after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Journal of Environmental science & technology, 47(17), 9651-9659.

Rivers, A. R., Sharma, S., Tringe, S. G., Martin, J., Joye, S. B., & Moran, M. A. (2013). Transcriptional response of bathypelagic marine bacterioplankton to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The ISME journal, 7(12), 2315.

Sammarco, P. W., Kolian, S. R., Warby, R. A., Bouldin, J. L., Subra, W. A., & Porter, S. A. (2013). Distribution and concentrations of petroleum hydrocarbons associated with the BP/Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Gulf of Mexico. Marine pollution bulletin, 73(1), 129-143.

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Zhou, Z., Guo, L., Shiller, A. M., Lohrenz, S. E., Asper, V. L., & Osburn, C. L. (2013). Characterization of oil components from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico using fluorescence EEM and PARAFAC techniques. Journal of Marine Chemistry, 148, 10-21.

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