reply to post by space cadet
There is actually a very straightforward reason behind the explosion which occurred on the rig and the resulting damage which sunk it, although why
this has not been included on MSM I do not know (haven't been watching/reading).
Anyways, when drilling exploratory wells (keep in mind that the rig was not 'producing', merely drilling wells to establish production) the rig
drilled into a pocket of natural gas which likely was not foreseen by the geologists who would have analysed the area of the seabed into which the rig
was drilling. It goes without saying that, as these pockets of gas and oil are so deep beneath the surface of the earth, they are kept under extreme
(and I do mean absolutely extreme) pressures. When this happened, the drillers on the rig were plainly not expecting it and, as a result, highly
pressurised natural gas/oil (I can't recall which it was that triggered the initial explosion...probably natural gas) shot up through the
drill-string and caused severe damage on the rigfloor (anyone seen "There Will Be Blood"? there would have been massive damage as seen in the
'blowout' scene in that film).
Anyways, there is indeed a means to prevent this thing happening (look up the 'Piper Alpha' disaster, blowouts can be incredibly deadly), called
Blow-Out Preventers, which are essentially massive hydraulic rams sat on the seabed through which the drillstring passes which cut and seal off the
pipes leading to the rig by means of powerful hydraulic shears. In the instant case, the hydraulics failed to activate in time to prevent the blowout
reaching the surface, hence the explosion and the sinking of the rig.
For anyone more interest, any google or wikipedia search of 'blowout' should provide you with more than ample supplementary information.
I do not think that there was in any way whatosever a conspiracy behind this accident, as in the aftermath, large oil companies have been stepping up
their safety procedures and sending staff away for safesty courses, as well as having begun to pursue alternate technologies in the prevention of
blowouts (the engineering of which I am involved with).
Hope this adds some clarity.