Lab Tests Identify Concerns With Macondo Cement

Last week The National Oil Spill Commission’s Chief Counsel Fred Bartlit submitted a letter to the Commissioners giving the results of his investigation of the BP rig explosion. Bartlit writes that three out of the four tests conducted by Haliburton on the cement mixture used to seal the Macondo well showed the cement would be unstable. Documentation showed that Haliburton did not indicate to BP the importance of the foam stability data, nor is there any evidence that BP personnel were concerned with the foam stability. The letter also states that Haliburton did not provide the results of each test they ran to BP. In fact they only provided BP with results on one test, which showed the cement would likely be unstable. Despite the findings it seems that BP and Haliburton continued with the cement mixture that ultimately failed. Chevron conducted lab testing in their Houston facility with their experts on behalf of the commission. The Chevron lab was unable to create a stable foam cement mixture with the materials provided by Haliburton. In a statement released Thursday, following the results of the Chevron tests, Halliburton said: “significant differences between its internal cement tests and the Commission’s test results may be due to differences in the cement materials tested. The Commission tested off-the-shelf cement and additives, whereas Halliburton tested the unique blend of cement and additives that existed on the rig at the time Halliburton’s tests were conducted. Halliburton also noted that it has been unable to provide the Commission with cement, additives and water from the rig because it is subject to a Federal Court preservation order but that these materials will soon be released to the Marine Board of Investigation.” In it's defense Haliburton went on to say, “contrary to the assertion in the letter, BP was made aware of the issues with that test.” Haliburton also criticizes BP for not running a cement bond log test, which would have indicated any problems with the cement. They also say that “BP, as the well owner and operator, decided not to run a cement bond log test even though the appropriate personnel and equipment were on the rig and available to run that test.”