World Oilfield Forum
The Joint Industry Task Forces (JITFs) that were established soon after the Macondo blowout were intended to convince regulators and the public that Industry was serious about improving safety and environmental standards.
Then a curious thing happened on the way to the bank . . . all the real and imagined lawsuits in the air meant that it would be unwise to speak about the CAUSES of the accident.
The stakeholders were cynically advised by their lawyers (or so one imagines) to make whatsoever recommendations about safety that occurred to them, but only on the condition that no single recommendation could be interpreted to have arisen from mistakes or mishaps at DHW or in the design and construction of Macondo-1.
Hence, the JITFs insert a cynical disclaimer (see link) that, in effect, says that “any connection between the industry’s recommendations and the causes of the Macondo accident are coincidental.”
Said differently, the upstream stakeholders in the Gulf of Mexico believe that they can draw lessons from Macondo but on the condition of not knowing the details and by not by talking about it explicitly.
A second premise is that the lessons of Macondo are all about engineering, permits, plans and communication. The sociological dimension that we identify in Market Note 170 is missing entirely.
The closest thing you get to sociology is the new requirement that a “Stop Work Authority” (SWA) program be implemented. The idea is that anyone, employee or contractor, can order work suspended if he or she feels that something unsafe is going on. On Deepwater Horizon, plenty of people thought something unsafe was going on, but none invoked SWA.
So, if you want to know if there have been advances in offshore safety since the Macondo accident of April 2010, then don’t look for any table in the JITF reports that would show a BEFORE and AFTER comparison. You won’t find one.
And don't even look for (or even inquire about) specific improvements in safety that have been implemented since April 20, 2010. Better yet, forget you even heard the term "Macondo" (Should someone ask you, tell them it's the name of a village in the famous novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez).
Should you occasionally hear the word “Macondo” you'll realized that is now a term used to refer to a statistical inflection point, but not as a baseline for the improvement of offshore safety.