CSB to Hold Public Meeting to Vote on Report into the Blowout of Macondo Well

US Chemical Safety Board, June 2, 2014

The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) will convene a public meeting on June 5, 2014, starting at4:00 p.m. CDT, at the Hilton Americas Hotel, Grand Ballroom, Houston, Texas 77010.

At the public meeting, the Board will consider and vote on the executive summary and two volumes of the CSB's report into the April 20, 2010 blowout of the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico. The Macondo incident had a catastrophic impact. Eleven workers died, 17 others were seriously injured, and millions of barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, making it one of the largest environmental disasters in U.S. history. The CSB, at the request of Congress, launched an independent investigation with a broad mandate to examine not only the technical factors surrounding the incident, but also certain organizational issues and opportunities for improvement to regulatory standards and industry best practices offshore.

Going beyond other previously released reports on the accident, the CSB explores issues not fully covered elsewhere, including:

  • The publication of new findings concerning the failures of a key piece of safety equipment—the blowout preventer—that was, and continues to be, relied upon as a final barrier to loss of well control.
  • A comprehensive examination and comparison of the attributes of regulatory regimes in other parts of the world to that of the existing framework and the safety regulations established in the US offshore since Macondo. 
  • In-depth analysis and discussion of needed safety improvements on a number of organizational factors, such as the industry’s approach to risk management and  corporate governance of safety management for major accident prevention, and  workforce involvement through the lifecycle of hazardous operations.

Volume 1 will recount a summary of events leading up to the Macondo explosions and fire on the rig, providing descriptive information on drilling and well completion activities.

Volume 2 will present several new critical technical findings, with an emphasis on the functioning of the blowout preventer (BOP), a complex subsea system that was intended to help mitigate and prevent a loss of well control. This volume examines the failures of the BOP as a safety-critical piece of equipment and explores deficiencies in the management systems meant to ensure that the BOP was reliable and available as a barrier on April 20, 2010.

Following a presentation by CSB investigators, the Board will hear public comments related to the report. The staff presentations are preliminary and are intended solely to allow the Board to publicly consider the findings and potential recommendations for this case. No factual analyses, conclusions, or findings presented by staff should be considered final. The Board may vote to adopt the final investigation report and recommendations after hearing staff presentations and public comments.

Members of the public are invited to make brief statements to the Board at the conclusion of the staff presentations. The time provided for public statements will depend upon the number of people who wish to speak. Speakers should assume that their presentations will be limited to five minutes or less, but commenters may submit written statements for the record.

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating accidents and hazards that result, or may result, in the catastrophic release of extremely hazardous substances. The agency's Board Members are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents and hazards, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems. General information about the CSB can be found on the agency Web site at:

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