Blowout Prevention

Analysis of the Deepwater Horizon
Explosion, Fire, and Oil Spill

Blowout Prevention
National Academy of Sciences| National Academy of Engineering| Institute of Medicine| National Research Council


Analysis of Causes of the Deepwater Horizon Explosion, Fire, and Oil Spill to Identify Measures to Prevent Similar Accidents in the Future

The NAE/NRC study committee's review will focus on an assessment of technologies and practices and include the following tasks:

1. Examine the performance of the technologies and practices involved in the probable causes of the explosion, including the performance of the blowout preventer and related technology features, which ultimately led to an uncontrolled release of oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico;

2. Identify and recommend available technology, industry best practices, best available standards, and other measures in the United States and around the world related to oil and gas deepwater exploratory drilling and well completion to avoid future occurrence of such events.

The NAE/NRC committee will issue two reports:

1. An interim letter report that addresses the probable causes of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, fire, and oil spill and identifies potential measures to avoid such events. This report will be issued no later than October 31, 2010, with the intent that the committee's preliminary findings and/or recommendations will be considered in the joint investigation by MMS and the Coast Guard, the Presidential Commission, and any other formal review or investigation of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, fire, and oil spill.

2. A final report that presents the committee's final analysis, including findings and/or recommendations, called for in tasks (1) and (2) above by June 1, 2011 (pre-publication version of report), with relevant dissemination activities and a final published version to follow by December 30, 2011.

If at any time in the course of the NAE/NRC committee information-gathering activities information is acquired indicating a public health or safety risk, the NRC will notify DOI of the availability of such information.

Note: The final report, initially due in June 2011, will not be completed until later in the summer.