SPE Student Chapter Leoben
SPE VBS: Macondo Inflow Test Decision

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The SPE Student Chapter Leoben would like to invite you to the third livestream of the distinguished lecture program from the SPE Vienna Basin Section. Distinguished Lecture by John Thorogood, Drilling Global Consultant LLP.

Distinguished lecture by John Thorogood, Drilling Global Consultant LLP.

This presentation reviews the events leading up to the Macondo loss of well control and it offers an alternative interpretation based on ambiguities inherent in the data to suggest how the resulting decision could have appeared logical given the series of cues with which the crew was presented.

A brief background is provided to some of the key psychological concepts related to the incident, including risk aversion as well as other biases that can influence teams in similar situation. Comparisons are made with accounts of other well control incidents available in the public domain and a cross check on wheater similar influences could have played a part elsewhere. Analysis of Macondo and other similar incidents highlights the general rule that when there is ambiguous information and the potential for multiple interpretation, a natural tendency is to choose the least threatening scenario.


Dr. John L. Thorogood is educated Drilling Engineer from Cambridge University and received his PhD in Drilling Engineering in 1998.

John is experienced oil industry professional, who spent 34 years working for a major international oil company in many parts of the world. He was responsible for innovations and application of new technologies in directional drilling, wellbore surveying, rig design and deepwater drilling. In addition to international field experience on land and offshore rigs, he has managed new-start exploration projects in deep water, remote areas and harsh environments.

Since retirement he has acted as a technical advisor to a number of operators and service companies. He has developed well engineering management systems, technical policies and standards for several operating companies. He has continued to advise teams on new start exploration projects, including areas featuring unusual oceanographic conditions and other unique technical problems.

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