The Minerals Management Service (MMS), or as their new name implies the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has
long been tasked with safety inspections of the oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. They certainly are no stranger to controversy, vis a vis the wild
mustangs, and other oil rig accidents.
According to the Washington Post, MMS was responsible for the inspections of an oil rig that was involved in another accident. As many will recall
this rig was leased by Louisiana Land Oil and Gas (LLOG). I won't go deeply into the incident that occurred, as that is covered in the article. All
I will say for the moment, is that blowout preventors failed thereby allowing fluids to flow up toward the rig from the well. The subcontractor who
provided the failed safety valves? Why Haliburton of course.
The ensuing investigation lasted many months, and by that time Haliburton could not produce the safety valves for inspection due to the fact that they
were out for repairs. Instead of insisting the valves be inspected, the MMS inspectors took the company data and relied solely on that to reach their
conclusions. Needless to say that MMS ruled that no rules were broken, and accidents do happen. This accident occurred according to the article
exactly one year and one day before the BP Deepwater Horizon “accident”.
Apparently, MMS has a long history of documenting problems but yet levying fines that seem to be less than what the situation calls for. The largest
fine that MMS has levied to an oil company is $672,500, of which details cannot be verified for it's authenticity, since there is no further
information provided than the dollar amount. Incidentally the MMS investigator who led the team on the LLOG “accident” is the same as who is
currently heading the Deepwater Horizon disaster investigation, J. David Dykes. History is repeating itself yet again.