Perhaps the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster was the result of repeated safety lapses, rather than a fluke.
The owner of the rig, Transocean (RIG), has been held in high regard by regulators for its safety record, but it isn’t so simple according to a Wall Street Journal investigation.
Nearly three of every four incidents that triggered federal investigations into safety and other problems on deepwater drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico since 2008 have been on rigs operated by Transocean, according to an analysis of federal data. Transocean defended its safety record but didn’t dispute the Journal’s analysis.
Moreover, safety lapses may have increased since Transocean acquired GlobalSantaFe in 2007.
Since the merger, Transocean has accounted for 24 of the 33 incidents investigated by the MMS, or 73%, despite during that time owning fewer than half the Gulf of Mexico rigs operating in more than 3,000 feet of water.
Some of Transocean’s clients have cited the merger as a reason they believe the company’s performance has dropped.
Transocean says it is committed to safety and has a strong overall safety record. Larry McMahan, Transocean’s vice president for performance, said the company investigates all incidents and adjusts its procedures accordingly. He said he believes the 2007 merger went smoothly.
“We are a learning company. We do not make the same mistakes again,” Mr. McMahan said.