British Petroleum and Transocean have been cautious about commenting on the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

In what is likely to be one of the offshore oil and gas industry’s darkest moments, Offshore Technology uncovers the comments – from President Obama’s address to analyst comments and other international news – that cast a light on the rapidly unfolding events in the Gulf of Mexico following the rig’s explosion.

21 April 2010

Disaster strikes as a fire breaks out on the Deepwater Horizon rig.

“Transocean today reported a fire onboard its semisubmersible drilling rig Deepwater Horizon. The incident occurred April 20, 2010 at approximately 10:00pm central time in the United States Gulf of Mexico. The rig was located approximately 41 miles offshore Louisiana on Mississippi Canyon block 252.”
BP press release

“Transocean’s Emergency and Family Response Teams are working with the US Coast Guard and lease operator BP Exploration & Production to care for all rig personnel and search for missing rig personnel. A substantial majority of the 126 member crew is safe but some crew members remain unaccounted for at this time. Injured personnel are receiving medical treatment as necessary. The names and hometowns of injured persons are being withheld until family members can be notified.”
BP, later that day

“Our concern and thoughts are with the rig personnel and their families. We are also very focused on providing every possible assistance in the effort to deal with the consequences of the incident.”
BP Group chief executive Tony Hayward

“Transocean’s Emergency and Family Response Teams are working with the US Coast Guard and lease operator BP Exploration & Production to care for all rig personnel and search for missing rig personnel. A substantial majority of the 126 member crew is safe but some crew members remain unaccounted for at this time. Injured personnel are receiving medical treatment as necessary. The names and hometowns of injured persons are being withheld until family members can be notified.”
Transocean press release

22 April 2010

Deepwater Horizon sinks, and 11 crew are still missing as oil starts to leak into the ocean.

“We are determined to do everything in our power to contain this oil spill and resolve the situation as rapidly, safely and effectively as possible… We have assembled and are now deploying world-class facilities, resources and expertise, and can call on more if needed. There should be no doubt of our resolve to limit the escape of oil and protect the marine and coastal environments from its effects.”
BP Group chief executive Tony Hayward

23 April 2010

Reality starts to hit, but officials are still optimistic.

“As the nation and everyone in the Transocean family mourns the tragic loss of these people, our deepest sympathies are with their families and friends today… Transocean is doing everything we can to meet their needs during this difficult time, and our family response team members are in close contact to provide all necessary support. I would once again like to express our gratitude to the US Coast Guard, BP and everyone involved for their exhaustive search and rescue efforts, despite this very sad outcome.”
Transocean president and CEO Steven L Newman

“Oil officials initially feared up to 336,000 gallons of crude oil a day could be rising from the sea. That would have presented an ecological catastrophe for coastal wetlands with rich habitats for birds and nurseries for fish and shrimps.
The Guardian newspaper, UK

“If it [the oil] gets landward, it could be a disaster in the making.”
Gulf Restoration Network executive director Cynthia Sarthou

“I think it could have the potential to be a major spill. We expect it to reach the shore within nine days but we should be able to stop it before that happens. The coastguard is very positive about that.”
BP vice-president David Raine

“It doesn’t seem to be spreading.”
US Coast Guard spokesperson

24 April 2010

BP accepts the worst for the 11 missing.

“We owe a lot to everyone who works on offshore facilities around the world and no words can express the sorrow and pain when such a tragic incident happens… On behalf of all of us at BP, my deepest sympathies go out to the families and friends who have suffered such a terrible loss. Our thoughts also go out to their colleagues, especially those who are recovering from their injuries . . .BP will be working closely with Transocean and the authorities to find out exactly what happened so lessons can be learnt to prevent something like this from happening anywhere again.”
BP Group chief executive Tony Hayward

25 April 2010
The focus shifts to oil well intervention.

“We are attacking this spill on two fronts – at the wellhead and on the surface offshore… The team on the ground and those at sea have the Group’s full resources behind them… Given the current conditions and the massive size of our response, we are confident in our ability to tackle this spill offshore.”
BP Group chief executive Tony Hayward

“At BP’s request we are mounting the single, largest response effort in MSRC’s 20-year history. The many years of working together with BP on drills and exercises has proved invaluable to us as we move forward on this response effort.”

26 April 2010
BP is positive, but industry starts to worry

“The safety of the people working offshore is our top priority and the improved weather has created better conditions for our response… This, combined with the light, thin oil we are dealing with has further increased our confidence that we can tackle this spill offshore.”
BP Group chief executive Tony Hayward

“The oil slick from last week’s deadly offshore oil rig explosion is creeping eastward across the Gulf, threatening the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.”

“Right now there is no significant impact of the oil on those fairways, but we are watching that.”
US Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen

29 April 2010
Gushing oil starts to sink hopes

“A damaged BP Plc oil well in the Gulf of Mexico is leaking as many as 5,000 barrels of crude a day, five times more than previous estimates as the oil slick drifted the closest yet to shore, the US Coast Guard said. BP and federal officials have identified a third leak from the well and related piping, said Erik Swanson, a Coast Guard spokesman. The edge of the spill was 16 miles (26km) from Louisiana at 8pm local time yesterday.

“If they don’t get that well capped soon, this is potentially a Valdez.”
University of South Alabama chairman of the department of marine sciences Robert Shipp

“We are attacking this spill on all fronts, bringing into play all and any resources and advanced technologies we believe can help… Our action plan is safety-focused, multi-layered and has the full resources of The BP Group behind it… The scale of the surface response is truly unprecedented, both for BP and for the oil industry… At the seabed, we are applying all the resources available to us and also developing and adapting advanced technology to address this complex problem.”
BP Group chief executive Tony Hayward

30 April 2010
Obama responds to the American people as the world asks ‘why?’.

“BP’s environmentally friendly image — its logo is a green and yellow sunburst — has outlasted past accidents, including a Texas refinery blast and Alaska pipeline spill. But last week’s deadly explosion on a BP-operated oil rig and the looming environmental damage are shaping up to be a major problem, experts said.”

“We are doing absolutely everything in our power to eliminate the source of the leak and contain the environmental impact of the spill…We are determined to fight this spill on all fronts, in the deep waters of the Gulf, in the shallow waters and, should it be necessary, on the shore… In the past few days I have seen the full extent of BP’s global resources and capability being brought to bear on this problem, and welcome the offers of further assistance we have had from government agencies, oil companies and members of the public to defend the shoreline and fight this spill. We are determined to succeed.”
BP Group chief executive Tony Hayward

2 May 2010
President Obama releases his view on the disaster. BP reacts.

“I think the American people are now aware, certainly the folks down in the Gulf are aware, that we’re dealing with a massive and potentially unprecedented environmental disaster. The oil that is still leaking from the well could seriously damage the economy and the environment of our Gulf states and it could extend for a long time. It could jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of Americans who call this place home… Let me be clear: BP is responsible for this leak; BP will be paying the bill. But as President of the United States, I’m going to spare no effort to respond to this crisis for as long as it continues. And we will spare no resource to clean up whatever damage is caused. And while there will be time to fully investigate what happened on that rig and hold responsible parties accountable, our focus now is on a fully coordinated, relentless response effort to stop the leak and prevent more damage to the Gulf.”
US President Barack Obama

“The US government leadership here has been excellent since day one. I agree with the President that the top priority right now is to stop the leak and mitigate the damage. I reiterated my commitment to The White House today that BP will do anything and everything we can to stop the leak, attack the spill off shore, and protect the shorelines of the Gulf Coast. We appreciate the tireless efforts of the many federal, state and local responders and the volunteers, men and women who have worked tirelessly since the date of the accident to mitigate the damage. Our teams are working hand in hand and we look forward to hearing more recommendations for action from the President’s visit today.”
BP Group chief executive Tony Hayward

“While the cause of the leak remains unclear, speculation centres on two areas: the ‘cementing’ process to secure the well walls – work that contractor Halliburton insists was completed 20 hours before the accident – and the ‘blowout protector’. The equipment, supplied by US firm Cameron International, ‘is the ultimate failsafe mechanism’, Hayward said. ‘And for whatever reason, it failed to operate’.”
The Guardian newspaper, UK

“BP will be graded on the things that I established early on that were the goals of this operation… The ability to stop the leak at its source; the ability to attack the oil at sea; to protect the resources ashore; and to recover and mitigate the impacted areas.”
US Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen

4 May 2010

BP announces work has begun on a relief well to isolate and intercept the spill.

“This is another key step in our work to permanently stop the loss of oil from the well. At the same time we are continuing with our efforts to stop the leak and control the oil at the seabed, to tackle the oil offshore, and to protect the shoreline through a massive effort together with government agencies and local communities.”
BP Group chief executive Tony Hayward

5 May 2010
BP stops the flow as the event is likened to Apollo 13 and the entire industry comes under the microscope.

“[The Deepwater Horizon oil rig accident is] closer to Apollo 13 than the Exxon Valdez (because of the leaking well’s remote location and complexity).”
US Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, quoted in the Houston Chronicle

“As offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere boomed, a 2003 report warned that the industry wasn’t taking time to find and fix the problems that commonly plagued blowout preventers – the fail-safe mechanisms designed to stop oil spills such as the one now threatening the Gulf Coast… The report, delivered at an industry conference seven years ago and uncovered by the office of Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., was co-authored by the then-director of technology development for Transocean, the company that owned the Deepwater Horizon rig that caught fire on April 20 and sank two days later.”
Miami Herald

“There is clear evidence that the oil industry has been well aware for years of the risk that blowout preventers on offshore rigs could fail… Floating drilling rig downtime due to poor BOP (blowout preventer) reliability is a common and very costly issue confronting all offshore drilling contractors [and] Because of the pressure on getting the equipment back to work, root cause analysis of the failures is generally not performed… In many operations, high maintenance is accepted as a necessary evil to prevent downtime… History has shown that more subsea problems have been associated with hydraulic components than the electrical.”
Quoted from a report by US Senator Maria Cantwell

“We are continuing to do all we can to stop the flow of oil from the well and also attack and capture the spilled oil offshore. However, it is also vital that we work together with government and potentially impacted communities to protect the shoreline from any impact of the spill. We hope these grants will support the effective deployment of pre-prepared response plans in each state.”
BP Group chief executive Tony Hayward

“In the months before BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig sank in a ball of fire in the Gulf of Mexico, the company had four close calls on pipelines and facilities it operates in Alaska, according to a letter from two congressmen obtained by ProPublica.
The Guardian newspaper, UK

“BP has been in control of all of this information and ultimately when the investigation is complete we will have to ask what did BP know and when did they know it… The discharge from this is indeterminate right now. That’s what’s maddening about it and makes it so much different from anything we’ve dealt with before.”
US leading house committee spokesperson Ed Markey, quoted in The Guardian newspaper, UK

6 May 2010
The world starts to count its losses as BP gets closer to containing the spill.

“BP Plc, battling an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, plans to lower a containment dome down to the seabed today to collect crude spewing from a damaged well. The 40-foot-tall steel box weighs about 100 metric tons and will be used as part of an effort to seal two remaining leaks, the London-based company said in a statement. One of three leaks was contained yesterday after crews successfully closed a valve installed May 4.”

“If they can put these funnels over the leaks and control them it will ease back on the growth of the slick. If this doesn’t work, the question is what can they do next?”
Panmure Gordon analyst Peter Hitchens

“Companies will have to rethink back-up procedures, but the simple fact of the matter is the world doesn’t have much choice. We have discovered most of the oil fields we are likely to find in easy places.”
Imperial College London petroleum engineering professor Peter King

“The company expects the total insured market loss from this event to be in the range of $1.5 billion to $3.5 billion dollars. However, as the situation is still unfolding and involves significant uncertainties, the ultimate loss is hard to predict and therefore estimates may be subject to change.”
Insurere Swiss Re

“On Tuesday, Michelle [Jones] filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Louisiana against the rig’s owner, Transocean Ltd, and its operators, BP Exploration and Production, as well as Halliburton Energy Services, Halliburton Group and numerous insurance companies. The suit accuses the companies of negligent failure to properly perform operations and take appropriate precautions to avoid an explosion, and of violating government rules and regulations.
The Los Angeles Times

“Our goal is to make sure that this never happens again to any other families.”
John deGravelles, lawyer for widow Michelle Jones who lost her husband Gordon Jones on Deepwater Horizon, as quoted in the Los Angeles Times

“Ours is only one of 11 families who lost a loved one. There are lots of people hurting right now. Their pain must not be forgotten.”
Keith Jones, Gordon Jones’ father, as quoted in the Los Angeles Times

“The amount of oil gushing from BP’s ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico could increase twelve-fold under a worse case scenario. The well is currently spewing 5,000 barrels a day, or about 210,000 gallons, but that figure could reach 60,000 barrels a day, equivalent to 2.5 million gallons a day, if efforts to stop the leaks fail.”
AP, from figures provided by BP and Transocean

7 May 2010
The world waits as BP works to fix well with containment chamber.

“BP Plc engineers were expected to lower a massive metal containment chamber onto a ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday in an effort to stem the widening slick.”