All the recent news reports are chattering excitedly about the Deepwater Horizon rig’s having missed 16 inspections since January of 2005. Source after source gives pretty much the following info in the lead paragraphs:
“Newly released government inspection reports show BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig was only inspected six times in 2008 even though government regulations say drilling rigs should be inspected every month. In total, the rig missed 16 inspections since January 2005, according to the documents.”
I have a few questions, however.
First, where are these “newly released” reports? Not a single news article or blog post has linked to these reports–they all simply parrot the main CBS News article, up to and including the screaming headline, “ZOMG!! RIG MISSED 16 INSPECTIONS BEFORE EXPLOSION!!1!”. (Among the other damning items mentioned in the piece is the fact that the last person to inspect the Deepwater Horizon was a trainee who was sent to inspect the rig by himself. Clearly this was also BP’s fault.)
But here’s my real question: how does a rig like that “miss” an inspection? Was it out to lunch the day the inspectors showed up? Did it call in sick to work that day? It seems to me that the responsibility for scheduling inspections and then, you know, actually doing the inspections, falls under the responsibility of the MMS. If, for example, bad weather prevented an inspection from being done, shouldn’t the inspector and his team be the ones to re-schedule?
From January 2005 through April 2010, 16 inspections were reportedly missed. On a hypothetical monthly inspections schedule, that’s about a 25% miss rate. I don’t know if that’s good or bad in the oil industry, or for that matter, if it’s even par for the course for the MMS.
BP and TransOcean are taking a lot of kicks these days, and deservedly so. This, however, is not a blow they deserve. CBS should be putting the blame for missed inspections squarely on the shoulders of the MMS and the Obama administration. But since part of the mainstream media’s agenda is to cover Obama’s ass (rather than kicking it), you won’t see it reported that way.
Oh, and that “newly released” document? Here’s the PDF of the Inspection Report, and by my count, 17 inspections were missed, not 16.
CBS can’t even count. But what did you expect?
UPDATE: Sorry, the link above to the Inspection Report goes to a general download page. Here’s the actual PDF report. It can also be found using the link above, and selecting the very last item: “Unredacted copies of all reports from Minerals Management Service (MMS) inspections that took place on facilities located in Mississippi Canyon Block 252 since January 1, 2009.“