"The sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which triggered the spill spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, caught the energy world by surprise. The operator, Transocean Ltd., is a giant in the brave new world of drilling for oil in deep waters far offshore. It had been honored by regulators for its safety record. The very day of the blast on the rig, executives were aboard celebrating its seven straight years free of serious accidents.
But a Wall Street Journal examination of Transocean's record paints a more equivocal picture.
Nearly three of every four incidents that triggered federal investigations into safety and other problems on deepwater drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico since 2008 have been on rigs operated by Transocean, according to an analysis of federal data. Transocean defended its safety record but didn't dispute the Journal's analysis.
In addition, an industry survey of oil companies that hired Transocean perceived a drop in its quality and performance, including safety by some measures, compared with its peers, though it still scored tops in one safety category."