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SPE: Macondo – the facts and truths about the final hours

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Oilfield Technology,

On 20 April 2010, the Macondo blowout in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 men, burned and sank the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, devastated the Gulf of Mexico and caused unprecedented socio-economic and environmental damage to Louisiana and Texas. To unravel the cause of the blowout, the assessment of petroleum engineering data during the well's final hours has been critical.

This data will be discussed at an evening event hosted by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Aberdeen Section on 25 November.  Prior to retiring, John Turley spent much of his career at Marathon Oil as Gulf Coast drilling manager, UK operations manager, manager worldwide drilling and vice president of engineering and technology. He studied well data and investigative reports, ignored finger-pointing and hearsay evidence, and assessed the cause of the blowout from engineering and operating perspectives.

Commenting ahead of his SPE Distinguished Lecturer presentation, ‘Assessing and Applying Petroleum Engineering Data from the 2010 Macondo Blowout’, Mr Turley said: “Investigating the circumstances surrounding the cause of the blowout is essential, so we can then apply lessons learned from the incident to future well work in deep water, shallow water and onshore.

“This presentation will use working examples to help delegates understand the importance of applying petroleum engineering and process management fundamentals to day-to-day drilling work, in real time, both in the office and on the rig.”

Shankar Bhukya, SPE Aberdeen chairman, said: “Although tragic incidents like Macondo are rare, it is important that, as an industry we learn from them to avoid repetition in the future. Safety is at the forefront of the oil and gas industry and, as it has been highlighted at the first SPE Aberdeen conference of its kind in March last year – Another Perspective on Risk: The Next Tipping Point - it is essential that we collaborate and share best practices to ensure our employees are safe at all times, onshore and offshore.

Mr Turley, educated at Colorado School of Mines, University of Miami and Harvard, taught petroleum engineering at Marietta College before joining Marathon Oil. Post-retirement, he independently researched the Macondo blowout and published: ‘The Simple Truth: BP’s Macondo Blowout’ - a facts-based tome in which he examines the engineering causes of the disaster. Mr Turley, a member of SPE's Legion of Honour, chaired SPE's education and accreditation committee and published a number of SPE papers.  

The presentation will take place on Wednesday 25 November at Pittodrie Stadium from 6 - 9pm. High attendance is expected for this event, therefore advance booking is recommended. For more information and to book, please click here.

Adapted from a press release by David Bizley

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