On 20th April 2010, the 5,000-foot-deep Macondo Mississippi Canyon Block well erupted after a blowout. This indicated that the incident resulted in the explosion of BP PLC-leased Deepwater Horizon offshore oil drilling platform.
Transocean Ltd was the owner of this platform which is located about 40 miles southeast of the Louisiana coast. This Deepwater Horizon incident of blast killed 11 platform workers and 17 others were injured. More seriously, this platform sank to the bottom of the sea for about two days because of lasting conflagration. Crude oil at the rate of up to 9,000 barrels a day leaked into the Gulf of Mexico. The reason behind this was due to the damaged wellhead sinking to the sea floor which was caused by the failure of the platform along with the fault of the blowout prevention system (Sylves and Comfort, 2012). The disaster had harmful and long to short-term economic and environmental effects. Coastal marine mammal species were destroyed; for instance, more than 1,000 sea turtles and 1 million seabirds were killed. The nearby commercial fishing industry was estimated to have a loss of $247 million, as a result of the post spill fishing closure (Adams, 2015).
According to Ansoff, weak signals can be explored early in life and can be cutoff. However, it is the question of which majority of the people wants to find an answer: why did so many experts or experienced workers missed the signs of explosion of the well? Unexpected can be defined as coming without warning; something unforeseen, although it looks like an apparent discrepancy.
Many researches on the groundwork of incidents and several recent studies on predictable surprise ( Bazerman & Warkins, 2004) disclosed that in most cases unexpected events develop not instantaneous or occur with warning, ‘their seeds are sown long before chaos arrives in small issues, errors or failures that are unnoticed or misunderstood and subsequently concatenate into catastrophes” (Reason,1997).
According to an investigator’s report who sievied through the internal files of BP, he stated that although the well had been suffered with technical issues, it revealed that some warning signs have been ignored by the BP executives, Transocean, the rig managers and the drilling crew. BP admitted that its managers on the oil rig picked up a breach of the cement seal’s warning signs at the bottom of the well and they continued to work after a test check for spill in the well. The report stated that something wrong happened in pressure test readings. It is not only in the hour before the blast, but also in the days, weeks, and even months before. On 5th April 2009, Transocean Ltd, in a 10-page operations advisory, asked for the Deepwater crew to avoid complacency and pay more attention to well control (Cameron and Spreitzer, 2012).The lack of foresight and low vigilance made BP’s managers and workers fail to instantly discover the hidden crisis. Accumulated small mistake ignored with time may lead to the occurrence of such unforeseen events at a frequent rate.