Analysis of the Causes of the Deepwater Disaster: Interim Report

News Date: November 17, 2010

The National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council have released the interim report of the Committee on the Analysis of Causes of the Deepwater Horizon Explosion, Fire, and Oil Spill to Identify Measures to Prevent Similar Accidents in the Future. The interim report includes the committee’s preliminary findings and observations on various actions and decisions including well design, cementing operations, well monitoring, and well control actions. The interim report also considers management, oversight, and regulation of offshore operations.

At the request of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Academy of Engineering/National Research Council (NAE/NRC) committee is examining the probable causes of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, fire, and oil spill in order to identify measures for preventing similar harm in the future. The study is organized under the auspices of the NAE and the NRC’s Transportation Research Board, through its Marine Board, and the Division on Earth and Life Studies, with assistance from the Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences.

The study will address the performance of technologies and practices involved in the probable causes of the Macondo well blowout and explosion on the Deepwater Horizon. It will also identify and recommend available technology, industry best practices, best available standards, and other measures in use around the world in deepwater exploratory drilling and well completion to avoid future occurrence of such events. The full scope and schedule for this project are available on our Current Projects Web site.

The study does not address any issues associated with the subsequent fire and release of oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico, such as the rescue and fire response, plans for the spill response, spill response and clean up, or the related consequences of the oil spill on the environment or human health.

An NAE website provides information about this study and links to information about committee meetings and the composition of the committee. After meetings are held, information presented to the committee is posted on the site. The site also provides an opportunity for public comment on the topics of the study.