Thursday, May 27, 2010

Management vs worker bee

I just heard a report on NPR titled: Oil Rig Mechanic: Managers Argued Before Blast.

The chief mechanic Douglas Brown on the oil rig had something to say about the day of the platform explosion and sinking, there was an argument at the morning rig managers meeting between a BP manager and oil rig management company they leased from, Transocean. BP was a month and a half behind schedule in moving the rig to another well and it was costing them more than a half million dollars a day in leasing fees.

They were arguing that perhaps how they were going to do something would release excess gas and could cause an explosion. BP was rushing to move on to another well. So, hey, its just an oil rig, lets cut corners. It had something to due with removing drilling mud from the drill pipe prior to shutting down the well and the impact that might have on allowing gas to seep out. In the end, the Transocean employees caved to the BP official's desired changes.

The mechanic told investigators that later that night he was down below in the engine room and heard the gas alarms sound off and the engines begin to accelerate. Then came the first of two large explosions and the rest is history.

Excuse me?

It would seem that once again, we have the lesser intelligence (due to monetary based regulatory corporate oversight) overbearing onto the direct greater intelligence. Does that negate the responsibility on the oil platform people? No. But if you've ever had management pressure you to go against what you knew to be best practice, you know what its like. After a while you can even cave when you don't want to. You get a feeling like, not again and oh fine, whatever, damn fools!

But in this case, it costs. Money. Environment. Lives.

Thanks BP. Keep up the good work. Save a buck where ever you can. Don't look long term. Nope, no sense considering any PR, fiscal, or corporate (corpse?) effectiveness.

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