Deepwater Horizon - Transocean Oil Rig Fire


#7361

Top BP supervisor loses appeal in Deepwater Horizon case | wwltv.com New Orleans

http://www.wwltv.com/news/local/BP-supervisor-loses-appeal-in-Deepwater-Horizon-case-185607122.html

Posted on January 3, 2013 at 6:32 PM
Updated Thursday, Jan 3 at 7:04 PM
David Hammer / Eyewitness News
Email: dhammer@wwltv.com | Twitter: @davidhammerWWL
NEW ORLEANS – The top BP supervisor on the Deepwater Horizon rig when it exploded in 2010 and set off the Gulf of Mexico oil spill lost his appeal Thursday as he tries to avoid testifying in a civil case.
Donald Vidrine, one of two BP employees charged with manslaughter in the deaths of 11 rig workers, has contended since the accident that he was too ill to testify before accident investigators or in federal court.
His testimony could shed significant light on what happened in the final moments before the rig blew, although even if he is found competent to testify, he is unlikely to give significant testimony in the civil case while he also faces criminal charges.
Last year, a federal magistrate judge ordered Vidrine to undergo a medical evaluation by a court-selected psychiatrist and asked Vidrine’s psychotherapist to turn over his records, to determine if he was capable of testifying.
He appealed to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Thursday a three-judge panel determined it did not have jurisdiction to hear the appeal. Vidrine still has the option to ask for reconsideration, and Vidrine’s attorney Bob Habans said they are evaluating their options.
He declined to comment on his client’s medical condition, but Vidrine looked dazed and said nothing when he was arraigned on the criminal manslaughter and water pollution charges in November.


#7362

Deepwater Horizon: Legal deal on massive oil spill in sight - swissinfo

The proposed $1.4 billion (SFr1.3 billion) settlement resolves the US justice department’s civil and criminal probes of Transocean’s role in the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster.

It requires the Switzerland-based company to pay $1 billion in civil penalties and $400 million in criminal penalties and plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of violating the Clean Water Act, according to a court filing in Louisiana.

The agreement, which is subject to a federal judge’s approval, also calls for Transocean to implement a series of operational safety and emergency response improvements on its rigs.

”This resolution of criminal allegations and civil claims against Transocean brings us one significant step closer to justice for the human, environmental and economic devastation wrought by the Deepwater Horizon disaster,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

Transocean said it believes the settlement is in the best interest of its shareholders and employees and eliminates “much of the uncertainty associated with the accident.”

“This is a positive step forward, but it is also a time to reflect on the 11 men who lost their lives aboard the Deepwater Horizon,” a statement said.

The five million barrels of oil spewed during the incident were the worst oil spill disaster in US history.
British Petroleum

British Petroleum (BP), which leased the rig from Transocean, has already agreed to pay a record $4.5 billion in penalties and plead guilty to manslaughter and other criminal charges related to the spill.

Transocean previously announced it had reserved $2 billion for paying claims related to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

David Uhlmann, a University of Michigan law professor and former chief of the justice department’s environmental crimes section, said the $1 billion civil penalty is a record amount for an environmental case. But he expressed surprise that Transocean is not paying more in criminal penalties or facing manslaughter charges of its own.

A series of government investigations has spread out the blame for the nation’s worst offshore oil spill among BP, Transocean and other partners on the project, including cementing contractor Halliburton.

Halliburton has not settled with the justice department, BP or Transocean.
Swiss hub

In 2008 Transocean, one of the world leaders in offshore drilling, moved its headquarters to Switzerland from the Cayman Islands. It established offices in Zug and Geneva, apparently to take advantage of lower taxes in some jurisdictions.

It is also represented in about 20 other countries and has nearly 19,000 employees worldwide.

Under the Swiss tax system, the 26 cantonal authorities have widespread autonomy, offering preferential fiscal treatment for companies.

This has helped attract an increasing number of global companies in recent years, notably making Switzerland a hub for the commodities trading sector.
swissinfo.ch and agencies
(With input from Rita Emch)


#7363

Steffy: Rig survivor wants day in court before BP deal approved

The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig burns in the Gulf of Mexico on April 21, 2010, the day after the blowout of BP’s Macondo well. (Associated Press photo)
Amid the emotional outpouring from families of those who died aboard the Deepwater Horizon is a simple request that U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance needs to grant before she approves BP’s record criminal settlement later this month.

Buddy Trahan, a Transocean manager and the most seriously injured survivor of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, remains in legal limbo, his case against BP entangled with other civil claims pending in a different New Orleans federal court.

In a statement filed with Vance last week, Trahan asked her to free his lawsuit from that combined civil litigation and return it to the Houston state court in which he originally filed it.

Trahan is permanently disabled from injuries he sustained in the rig explosion. As BP and the government were putting the final touches on their criminal settlement late last year, he was preparing for his eleventh surgery.

Trahan’s statement was among a handful filed by survivors and family members of the 11 men killed in the disaster. They expressed concern that with the $4 billion settlement, BP is buying its way out of criminal liability. They are angry that the company, which has spent millions attempting to burnish its public image after the disaster, has yet to offer them even a simple, direct recognition of their suffering. “I read that BP paid nearly $5 million for Christmas lights on a boardwalk in Florida and was lauded in business journals for paying hundreds of millions of dollars to Gulf Coast luxury condo owners,” Trahan wrote.

No restitution, he says

Yet BP refused to pay his medical bills, he claims, and he hasn’t “received any restitution for my injuries from BP or any other responsible parties.” His case, filed just months after the accident, has been stalled for more than two years. It’s not clear if Vance will take statements from Trahan or others into account in ruling on the criminal settlement. She could decide to alter the terms of the settlement, though, which could delay the deal. It’s possible, but less likely, she would reject it outright, forcing a trial.

Some of the victims’ families indicated that’s what they want, if only to air the details of the disaster and ensure that the shortcuts that led to it never happen again.

“I do not want them to only throw money at the problem,” wrote Kathleen Goodlife, sister of Gordon Jones, an employee of drilling mud company MI Swaco who died in the accident. “I want to see for once BP doesn’t just get to slide by.”

BP, of course, has a history of sliding by. A joint memo filed by the company and the government urging the judge to approve the settlement acknowledges the company’s lengthy rap sheet, which includes environmental fines dating to 2000 and guilty pleas for manipulating commodities markets, pipeline leaks in Alaska and the 2005 Texas City refinery explosion that killed 15 people and injured more than 170. Some of those victims, like Trahan, are permanently disabled.

Other survivors

Nowhere, though, does the memo acknowledge the plight of Trahan, other survivors or the victims’ families.

In his statement, Trahan detailed his injuries from the blast: 16 scars; more than a half dozen deep lacerations – including a fist-sized hole in his neck from where the force of the blast impaled him on a metal door hinge – 12 broken bones, including both legs; a crushed knee; a closed head injury; permanent nerve damage and burns over a quarter of his body.

Chronic pain

He now lives with chronic pain and insomnia, brought on in part by a recurring nightmare in which he’s abandoned on the flaming rig, left on a stretcher to die.

The criminal settlement follows a proposed civil one for that would cost BP an estimated $7.8 billion and address claims filed by owners of restaurants, hotels, fishing boats and other businesses along the Gulf Coast affected by the oil that spewed from the ruptured well in the months after the blowout.

Can’t turn the page

“BP obviously wants to turn the page on this chapter of its corporate life and go back to business as usual – drilling for oil and obtaining large, profitable U.S. government contracts,” he wrote. “But for me and others similarly situated, we cannot simply turn the page. Our lives have been permanently scarred as a result of BP’s criminal acts.”

None of them can ever be made whole. No amount of money, fines or guilty pleas offered by BP can heal them.

But those who suffered the most shouldn’t become a legal afterthought. Before Vance allows BP to wrap up its day in court, she should make sure Buddy Trahan gets his.


#7364

Possible causes of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and BP oil spill

This depiction of the possible causes of the blowout of BP’s Macondo well and the explosion and fire aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig is based largely on the joint investigation of the accident by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement and the Coast Guard and a separate investigation by the National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.


#7365

I know this doesn’t mean diddly squat, but I have held fast to my one-person boycott of BP gasoline even in my company car since the DWH blew up. Their “eff you” attitude really pisses me off. How many of you know that BP provides 10 percent of the fuel for the military? Including ships. The recent sanction did not effect that either. Bastards.

Transocean on the other hand treated me well when I flew to a rig to service a piece of gear we sold them. They seemed to give a damn about safety unlike many other companies I have worked for or with.


#7366

As Oil Spill Trial Opens, Push for a Deal Continues

NEW ORLEANS — BP finally faced off in court Monday against an army of federal and state prosecutors, lawyers and even its contract partners over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill three years ago, contending that it alone should not shoulder blame for the rig explosion that killed 11 workers and soiled beaches and marshes from Louisiana to Florida.

BP’s share of responsibility is not only the crux of the trial that opened Monday, but it also is at the heart of a last-minute settlement proposal offered by the Justice Department and the five affected gulf states — Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas — that are demanding that BP pay $16 billion in spill-related fines and penalties.

But as the long-awaited trial began here, federal prosecutors and plaintiffs’ lawyers made emotional appeals for the trial judge to find BP guilty of gross negligence, pointing to mounds of e-mails, documents and reports that had already been made public in the case. BP believes it should be held to a more lenient standard.

“Reckless actions were tolerated by BP, sometimes encouraged by BP,” said Michael Underhill, the Justice Department’s lead prosecutor. “These damages were caused by actions that cannot be seen as anything but inexcusable behavior.”

Mr. Underhill discussed a phone call between Donald Vidrine, a BP supervisor on the rig who faces criminal charges, with Mark Hafle, an onshore engineer, in which Mr. Vidrine described problems with a critical test less than an hour before the explosion. Neither man took action to prevent the eventual blowout.

“They had a conversation that could have saved 11 lives, saved the gulf, saved the people of the gulf from catastrophe,” Mr. Underhill said.

If federal and state officials are successful in proving gross negligence against BP in its handling of the spill, the fines against the company will be four times as high as under a lower standard of liability, negligence.

BP’s lawyer, Robert C. Brock, defended the company’s design of the well and denied that the company had been grossly negligent. He characterized the drilling of a well as a team effort in which the company and its contractors — Halliburton and Transocean, who also are defendants — all needed to take responsibility.

“Everyone on the rig is empowered to say stop the job,” Mr. Brock said. “There were no dictators in this group.”

The settlement proposal would cap the amount of fines that BP might pay for violations of the Clean Water Act to $6 billion, significantly less that it might face if the trial proceeds. The proposal would allow BP to pay an additional $9 billion to resolve environmental penalties related to the spill, an alternative that would lessen the impact on the company’s tax liabilities. The environmental penalties, under separate laws, are tax deductible, while fines like those imposed under the Clean Water Act are not.

The remaining $1 billion would be put in a fund for unanticipated environmental damages from the spill.

One lawyer, who was briefed on the settlement talks, said on Monday that discussions were still under way. Another lawyer, also briefed on the efforts, said that a number of people who were scheduled to appear as trial witnesses have been told that their testimony might not be needed.

The frequently intense opening arguments in court on Monday, however, outlined an extravagance of errors.

Several referred to one Halliburton technician who missed important signs that the well was on the verge of blowing out when he took a 10-minute cigarette break during a safety test. In one of the e-mail exchanges between two BP workers discussing problems with the well, one of the two wrote that he had to leave for a dance class and would get back to him.

Transocean employees came up with a theory they called “the bladder effect” to explain a failed 11th-hour test showing pressure building in a drill pipe that otherwise should have stopped all operations and averted the blowout.

Lawyers for the Justice Department, two gulf states and private plaintiffs mounted scathing attacks on the company for ignoring multiple signs of problems on the rig in routine maintenance of safety tests and equipment.

In several hours of arguments, they noted numerous errors by BP in managing a high-pressure well. The company had decided to employ single-walled drill pipe, which provided inferior barriers to leaks, and it decided that it was not necessary to circulate drilling mud, a method intended to strengthen cement, before installing a seal on the well.

They reminded the court that BP had decided against conducting a cement bond test, which is an acoustics test that could have identified the gas that leached into the piping during the well-cementing process.

And finally, using information that has previously been described in numerous government and private reports since the accident, they said BP had ignored the results of a failed pressure test shortly before the well blew out.

Mr. Brock, representing BP, said the well design followed industry standards.

“There were a number of mistakes and misjudgments that were made by BP, Transocean and Halliburton,” he said. He argued that Transocean was responsible for maintenance and operations of the rig it owned, and Halliburton was responsible for designing and testing the cement to seal the well.

Lawyers for both Transocean and Halliburton said that their companies were following BP’s lead, and that it was BP that was overwhelmingly responsible for the accident.

This is the first trial phase of a two-part case. The second phase is intended to determine how much oil was actually spilled. The federal government estimates that more than four million barrels of oil spilled from the Macondo well, covering birds with tarry crude and extending a slick across nearly 30,000 square miles of the gulf.

BP says the government’s estimate is at least 20 percent too high.

Last November, BP agreed to pay $4.5 billion in fines and other penalties and pleaded guilty to 14 criminal charges related to the accident. It has also paid out $9 billion in a partial settlement with businesses, individuals and local governments. The company has set aside $42 billion for payouts, largely by selling $38 billion of global oil and gas assets.

Four of its employees face criminal charges of manslaughter and obstruction of justice or are accused of making false statements related to how much oil was escaping the well.

The government and Transocean have already come to a $1 billion civil settlement, and the rig company will pay an additional $400 million criminal penalty. Halliburton has not settled yet and says that it has no liability under contracts signed with BP, but it may yet be held liable for punitive damages or civil penalties under the Clean Water Act.


#7367

Deepwater trial: U.S. prosecutors say BP knew it was drilling ‘well from hell’
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/02/25/deepwater-trial-u-s-prosecutors-say-bp-knew-it-was-drilling-well-from-hell/


#7368

Tuesday 26 February 2013 13.05 EST

Deepwater oil spill a ‘classic failure’ of BP management, court hears
Former BP consultant describes culture of greed that led to worst oil spill in US history as sprawling civil case continues

A culture of “every dollar counts” at BP led to the fatal Deepwater Horizon disaster and the US’s worst ever oil spill, a court heard on Tuesday.

Bob Bea, an expert in catastrophic engineering failures and a former BP consultant, said the disaster was a “classic failure of leadership and management in BP”.

On the second day of a civil trial in New Orleans, Robert Cunningham, an attorney representing businesses and individuals hit by the tragedy, drew a picture of widespread management failure at the company. In response, Bea told the court he had given sometimes “impolite” warnings to BP for years. In 2007 he wrote to them warning: “You still don’t get it.”

Bea, the first witness called in the sprawling civil case over the 2010 explosion and subsequent oil spill, said: “I told BP there aren’t no surprises.” He said BP had failed to implement its highest safety standards in the Gulf of Mexico, even though the company had acknowledged deepwater drilling in that region represented one of the highest risk activities it undertook.

BP had a safety system known as the operating management system (OMS) that executives described as the “cornerstone” of their safety practices, but that was not applied in the Gulf, the court heard.

Cunningham asked what share of blame BP management should take responsibility for the accident. “When you are talking about the system you are not just talking about the rig, you are talking about the system all the way onshore and all the way to London,” said Cunningham. “Yes,” said Bea.

The court was shown documents signed by Tony Hayward, BP’s former chief executive, describing OMS as “the cornerstone for safety at BP”. Hayward will appear in video testimony later this week.

Bea was asked why he believed the company had not implemented that system on the Deepwater Horizon. Bea said the main factor was cost-cutting.
Earlier the court had been told of Bea’s work on other disasters including the Exxon Valdez, the Petrobas P36 oil rig disaster in 2001 and Nasa’s disastrous Columbia launch in 2003. Nasa’s management mantra had been: “Better, faster, cheaper,” said Bea.

“This is the equivalent to Nasa’s mantra that got them into so much trouble. ‘better, faster, cheaper’; in this case it’s a mantra of ‘every dollar counts’,” he said.

Bea worked as a consultant for BP off and on for decades. He said he became increasingly concerned about the company’s risk management systems. In 2007 when BP held a safety event in Normandy he warned BP: “You still don’t get it. Process safety is deadly serious and now you’ve turned it into a traveling road show.”

Mike Brock, BP’s lawyer, suggested that Bea might be suffering from “selection bias”. He said that the plaintiffs’ lawyers had helped him select the documents now being presented in court and used in his report into the disaster. “You agree that the plaintiffs’ legal teams were focussed on finding documents that hurt BP, not help BP?” he said.

Brock asked Bea whether BP had made significant efforts to improve safety in the early 2000s. Bea said that it had. “Can you recall telling us that the positive things you found?” he asked. “Do you recall saying that you found many, many signs of BP’s efforts to improve process safety?” said Brock. “Yes,” said Bea.

Legal experts had been expecting a settlement in the case before it began. Those talks seems to have hit an impasse.

@dominicru: Deepwater oil spill a ‘classic failure’ of BP management, court hears http://t.co/FhnuxXv39C #BPtrial


#7369

Witness in Gulf oil spill trial charges BP had flawed safety record

The BP oil spill trial resumed Tuesday morning with its first witness, retired University of California-Berkeley civil and petroleum engineering professor Robert Bea, who was called by the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee to discuss how BP’s safety record compares with industry standards.

View full size
Oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill collects in a boom at Pass a Loutre on June 11, 2010.
NOLA.com | Times-Picayune archives
Bea, 76, testified that he had warned BP executives about improving the British oil giant’s safety procedures multiple times, beginning as early as 2001.

Despite the risk of drilling in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, Bea testified that BP had not put in place its new operating management system – which the company has described as a major improvement in safety management – at the Macondo operation, which exploded in April 2010, killing 11 people and sending oil gushing into the Gulf. BP describes the system, implemented in 2008, as its “guiding principles and requirements for safe, reliable and compliant operations.”

BP developed the system in the wake of a 2005 explosion at its Texas City refinery, which killed 15 people and injured 180 others.

In a pretrial deposition, former BP CEO Tony Hayward, who stepped down in October 2010, was asked whether the Deepwater Horizon disaster could have been avoided if the operating system had been implemented in the Gulf before April 2010.

“There is possible potential. Undoubtedly,” Hayward said, according to portions of a deposition discussed Tuesday.

Asked to characterize BP’s failure to adopt the safety system on its drilling operations in the Gulf, Bea didn’t mince words.

“Tragic. Egregious,” he said.

Bea’s testimony is expected to continue through the day.

Bea, who lived in New Orleans in 1965 and lost his home to storm surge during Hurricane Betsy, is best known in the city for his role as the head of a forensic investigation team supported by the National Science Foundation after Hurricane Katrina. The team published an extensive report outlining how portions of the levee system failed as a result of improper engineering decisions by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Afterward, Bea was used as an expert witness by plaintiff attorneys in several portions of the complex litigation aimed at getting the corps to pay damages for the thousands of businesses and homes flooded during the storm.

Bea’s work experience includes 16 years with various divisions of Shell Oil, including stints studying offshore accidents; five years as a vice president with Woodward-Clyde Consultants, and eight years as a vice president with engineering giant Bechtel Inc., before joining the university in 1989.

The Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee is expected to play portions of Hayward’s deposition for the judge, probably next week.

@olfashdeb: http://t.co/TtVYIjPjAN


#7370

First witness testifies in BP Gulf oil spill trial

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/02/26/first-witness-testifies-in-bp-gulf-oil-spill-trial/#ixzz2M21IWygz

NEW ORLEANS – BP failed to implement a new safety plan on the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon drilling rig even though the company realized a blowout in the Gulf of Mexico was its greatest danger, an expert witness for people and businesses suing the company testified Tuesday.
University of California-Berkeley engineering professor Robert Bea was the first witness at a civil trial to determine how much more BP and other companies should pay for the spill. Bea said BP PLC didn’t implement a two-year-old safety management program on the rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
“It’s a classic failure of management and leadership in BP,” said Bea, a former BP consultant who also investigated the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill and New Orleans levee breaches after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The London-based company has said its “Operating Management System” was designed to drive a rigorous and systematic approach to safety and risk management. Yet it was only implemented at one of the seven rigs the company owned or leased in the Gulf.
Bea said it was “tragic” and “egregious” that BP didn’t apply its own safety program to the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig before the Macondo well blowout triggered the explosion that killed 11 workers and spawned the massive spill. Transocean owned the rig; BP leased it.
A plaintiffs’ lawyer who questioned Bea showed him a transcript of a deposition of Tony Hayward, who was BP’s CEO at the time of the disaster. Hayward was asked if the deadly April 20, 2010, blowout could have been averted if BP had implemented the safety management program in the Gulf.
“There is possible potential,” Hayward responded. "Undoubtedly."
Bea said BP’s “culture of every dollar counts” was reflected in a May 2009 email sent by BP well team leader John Guide: “The DW Horizon embraced every dollar matters since I arrived 18 months ago,” Guide wrote. "We have saved BP millions and no one had to tell us."
In a report prepared for the trial, Bea concluded that BP’s “process safety failures” were a cause of the blowout.
“Financially, BP had the resources to effectively put into place a process safety system that could have prevented the Macondo disaster,” Bea said.
Bea said he had warned BP management several years before the Gulf rig explosion that “culture is key” to the company’s ability to operate safely. Bea said the company didn’t heed his warnings.
“You still don’t get it,” he recalled telling BP officials in 2007. "You have not implemented any recommendations. Process safety is deadly serious, and you’ve turned it into a traveling roadshow."
Lawyers for BP and other companies involved in the ill-fated drilling project will question Bea later Monday.
Bea’s testimony opened the second day of a civil trial that could result in BP and its partners being forced to pay billions of dollars more in damages. The case went to trial Monday after attempts to reach an 11th-hour settlement failed.
The second witness slated to appear is Lamar McKay, president of BP America, but it wasn’t clear if there would be time for his testimony Tuesday. Other BP officials were expected to give videotaped testimony.
In pretrial depositions and in a report, Bea argued along with another consultant that BP showed a disregard for safety throughout the company and was reckless – the same arguments made in opening statements Monday by attorneys for the U.S. government and individuals and businesses hurt by the spill.
Attorneys for BP tried to block Bea’s testimony, accusing him of analyzing documents and evidence “spoon-fed” to him by plaintiffs lawyers. BP accused Bea and another expert, William Gale, a California-based fire and explosion investigator and consultant, of ignoring the “safety culture of the other parties” involved in the spill, including rig owner Transocean Ltd.
Gale does not appear on a list of potential witnesses.
Just last year, Bea testified for plaintiffs who sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over broken levees in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
In the BP case, U.S. Justice Department attorney Mike Underhill said Monday that the catastrophe resulted from the company’s “culture of corporate recklessness.”
“The evidence will show that BP put profits before people, profits before safety and profits before the environment,” Underhill said. "Despite BP’s attempts to shift the blame to other parties, by far the primary fault for this disaster belongs to BP.“
BP attorney Mike Brock acknowledged Monday that the oil company made mistakes. But he accused Transocean of failing to properly maintain the rig’s blowout preventer, which had a dead battery, and he claimed cement contractor Halliburton used a bad slurry” that failed to prevent oil and gas from traveling up the well.
BP has already pleaded guilty to manslaughter and other criminal charges and has racked up more than $24 billion in spill-related expenses, including cleanup costs, compensation for businesses and individuals, and $4 billion in criminal penalties.
One of the biggest questions facing U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, who is hearing the case without a jury, is whether BP acted with gross negligence.
Under the Clean Water Act, a polluter can be forced to pay a minimum of $1,100 per barrel of spilled oil; the fines nearly quadruple to about $4,300 a barrel for companies found grossly negligent, meaning BP could be on the hook for nearly $18 billion.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/02/26/first-witness-testifies-in-bp-gulf-oil-spill-trial/#ixzz2M21qiGxV


#7371

Yes Mr. Brock, but you conveniently failed to mention that BP:

  1. ran the job 15 centralized short of the recommendation by Halliburton,
  2. failed to ream out the hole thereby running 7" casing in a borehole less than 9 inches,
  3. ran a very small cement job failing to seal a 4’ zone ABOVE the calculated top of Cement,
  4. failed to fill the rathole with heavy mud to prevent the tail cement in the shoe from swapping out with the lighter cement in the limited rat hole,
  5. which by the way was not drilled into solid shale,
  6. ignored extreme difficulty converting the flapper assembly,
  7. DID NOT CIRCULATE bottoms up leaving potential for gas cut or contaminated drilling mud, and finally
  8. they started running a positive pressure test very early on after cement job was completed which could very easily have caused a micro annulus to form between the casing and cement.

There’s more, I just can’t remember all the specifics off the top of my head.

  1. Furthermore, the crew read 1400 PSI on the drill pipe and that didn’t trigger any thought process with the company men, toolpusher or driller like "how can we have pressure on the drill pipe when we’re not pumping, and yet we still have a fairly high pressure on the standpipe, and when we bleed it off it jumps right back up!"
    DUH!!!

  2. Finally, Schlumberger was on standby on location to run a CBL or similar cement evaluation log. At a minimum a temperature log would have given the staff an opportunity to locate the top of cement and compare that depth to the calculated TOC, also by tagging bottom and running a gamma ray log would have verified that TD was close to calculated depth. Who knows, if the flapper valves did not hold and the cement U-tubed they may have tagged bottom 40-50 or 60 feet high indicating that the cement job was no longer positioned where it was intended.

Actually Halliburton attempted to cement a well with fairly high odds of having a less than adequate cement bond due to the many negative factors noted above.
The result is not that surprising.


#7372

Articles: Deepwater Horizon: the Government on Trial?
2/26/2013

http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/02/m-deepwater_horizon_the_government_on_trial.html
Now that the criminal charges against BP and its drilling contractor have been settled and cannot be reopened under the principal of double jeopardy, we can expect to see an argument develop over who should be responsible when the government takes charge under the National Contingency Plan. Because the “responsible party,” Exxon Mobil, proved to be unprepared for the job in the wake of the grounding of the Exxon Valdez in Prince William Sound in 1989, Subtitle B, Sec. 4202 of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 provides for the federal government to assume responsibility in the person of a National Incident Commander according to the National Contingency Plan. President Obama declared the incident a Spill of National Significance, and appointed USCG Admiral Thad Allen as National Incident Commander on May 1, 2010.
He and the government soon began giving orders. One prominent example was the decision to start not just one, but two, relief wells.

Among the many available well control methods available, a relief well is clearly a valid choice and previous instances have had significant success. The first relief well operation was put under the supervision of John Wright, who had built a significant part of his well-deserved reputation fighting the oil fires of Kuwait using relief wells. His company, John Wright Company, was then already a part of Boots and Coots. Prior to the blowout, Boots and Coots had announced a plan to merge with Halliburton, BP’s cement contractor. Given these financial connections, Mr. Wright’s prior investment in his company become intertwined with the financial fortunes of Halliburton. None of this is meant to impugn Mr. Wright’s reputation. It is meant to illustrate that there are multiple cross-interests at work here.

My intent is to subject the judgment of the federal government to the sort of intense scrutiny that the private sector parties have been given. Mr. Wright had proven himself to have a 100% success rate when he had used a relief well to subdue a wild well. Mr. Wright did eventually complete a relief well, which proved useful in the forensic examination of the Macondo 252 well; he proved that there was no oil from the well in the annulus at a total depth of about 17,200 feet. That fact alone blows a huge hole through the government’s allegations against former BP VP David Rainey based on the complaints of Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA). Rep. Markey makes a big deal of an internal BP document from May 24, 2010 available here, entitled 7" x 9-5/8" Casing Annulus Flow Path. Note that it depends on there being flow through the annulus, which the relief well proved did not occur. Oops!

Thad Allen and the rest of the government bought into the idea that the relief well was the ultimate solution, likely because it seemed to be the lowest risk choice, despite being also the slowest. Even after the well had been killed by the static kill operation in early August, allowing the government to remove the Blowout Preventer (BOP) leaving the wellhead open to the sea with ZERO flow coming out, Adm. Allen insisted that the relief well would be the ultimate solution. Perhaps Admiral Allen was susceptible to confirmation bias – he seems to have been immune to the facts.

There was a somewhat similar blowout which occurred off Australia, the Montara oil spill. Government officials are prone to describe the well control efforts there to have required five relief wells. A more accurate description would be to say it took five attempts to complete onerelief well. Creating an intersection between the relief and wild wells requires incredible accuracy. It could be described as “threading a needle.” Practical experience indicates that if you don’t succeed on the first attempt, you pull back the thread a small amount and try again. That is exactly what is involved in taking five attempts to complete one relief well intersection. So the government’s fixation on forcing BP to drill a second relief well diverted limited resources from the prime purpose of the intervention effort, to “plug the damn hole” in President Obama’s own words. If BP had been allowed to do its work unimpeded, is it possible that it could have stopped the flow of oil even before the top kill operation was aborted by Steven Chu in late May? Keep in mind that oil did not reach the mainland until May 19, 2010. Should BP point the fickle finger of blame at Thad Allen and an incompetent government? Will they succeed if they do?

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Early on at a news conference Admiral Allen’s authority and familiarity with he DWH spill was questioned by a reporter. His answer was so firm sand definitive I copied the text for future reference.


#7373

BP accepts role in spill at trial aims to spread blame - Page 1,2,3 | Firstpost

BP accepts role in spill at trial, aims to spread blame
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - After hearing claims that BP Plc ( BP.L ) put profits above safety in the first day of court testimony over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster, a senior executive for the oil company insisted the blame should be shared.

by FP Staff 1 hour 24 mins ago

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - After hearing claims that BP Plc (BP.L) put profits above safety in the first day of court testimony over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster, a senior executive for the oil company insisted the blame should be shared.

Lamar McKay, BP’s global head of exploration, production and development, said on Tuesday the company’s role as designated operator on the doomed Macondo well did not mean it was the only company at fault.“The key point to me is it doesn’t mean sole exclusive, it means shared responsibility,” said McKay, called by plaintiffs in the federal civil trial in New Orleans centered on the spill and its aftermath.Recently promoted from president of BP America, McKay is a member of the London-based company’s executive committee, alongside Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley.
He was just the second witness for the plaintiffs, the U.S. Justice Department and coastal states, which are suing BP, rig owner Transocean Ltd (RIG.N) and well cement provider Halliburton Co (HAL.N). The three companies have been lobbing accusations at each other over the well blowout ever since it happened on April 20, 2010.

McKay’s testimony followed that of a noted forensic engineer, Bob Bea, who said BP had fostered a culture that put cost-cutting over safety before the accident.“There is ample evidence of intense pressure within the system to save time and money,” said Bea, co-founder of the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management at the University of California, Berkeley. “With stress and pressure come sacrifices to safety.”

Bea consulted with a White House commission that investigated the spill and prepared a report faulting BP for the plaintiffs in the case. He also had consulted with BP on risk management prior to 2005.He said BP cut its Gulf of Mexico costs by 22 percent from 2008 to 2009 while increasing oil and gas output by 55 percent.But on cross examination, BP lawyer Mike Brock pointed out that in 2008 BP spent $205 million on work on its Thunder Horse and Atlantis oil and gas platforms, compared with $43 million in 2009. The work on Thunder Horse meant output in 2008 was just a fraction of its level the following year, Brock said.Thunder Horse only began pumping oil and gas in mid-2008 after a three-year delay to fix design flaws on the platform and repair leaks to seabed equipment.

WALK THE TALK
While Bea agreed that public statements about safety from BP executives were positive, they were not enough on their own. “The statement of the talk has to be backed up with effective walk,” Bea said.The April 2010 blowout at the Macondo well caused an explosion that killed 11 men, sank a rig and spewed more than 4 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Bea is well known in New Orleans, site of the trial, because he was a key witness in litigation over failed levees when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, flooding much of the city and leaving more than 1,800 people dead.

Bea conceded to Brock that, in the years leading up to the blowout, BP had invested in training programs and set aside budgets to increase process safety - as the safe operations and handling of hazardous materials are known.The plaintiffs later sought to contrast BP’s claims of a safety culture with its own acknowledgment internally that it worked in a risky business.

One of their lawyers, Robert Cunningham, presented McKay with a document - labeled BP/Amoco - about other companies’ disasters, including the 1989 Exxon (XOM.N) Valdez oil spill in Alaska, that said those "organizations provide cultures that invite excessive risk taking, demand superhuman performance, or develop complacency that result only in reactive safety management."The document was used in Bea’s report for the plaintiffs finding fault with BP’s safety practices, though McKay said he was unfamiliar with it and did not know if it was authentic.

The non-jury trial before U.S. District Judge Carl Barber is split into three phases, with…work on its Thunder Horse and Atlantis oil and gas platforms, compared with $43 million in 2009. The work on Thunder Horse meant output in 2008 was just a fraction of its level the following year, Brock said.Thunder Horse only began pumping oil and gas in mid-2008 after a three-year delay to fix design flaws on the platform and repair leaks to seabed equipment.

The case is In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, No. 10-md-02179, in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana.(Reporting by Kristen Hays, writing by Braden Reddall; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, Andrew Hay and Bob Burgdorfer)


#7374

Yes, I can tell Transocean was “on the ball” referenced to the Deepwater Horizon incident…
some 300 active violations,
a rig that was years overdue for dry dock,
a BOP that was in poor condition at best,
And a crew that didn’t know 1,400 PSI on the Standpipe was indicating active communication with a production zone.


#7375

Deepwater Horizon Trial Kicks Off with Finger Pointing | Lawyers.com - JDSupra

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/deepwater-horizon-trial-kicks-off-with-f-41985/

Federal Judge Carl Barbier heard opening statements today in the trial ofBP, Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton Co. for their roles in the 2010Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion that killed 11 workers and dumped millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

While prosecutors characterized the companies as preoccupied with savings and profits rather than safety and people, attorneys for BP, Transocean and Halliburton pointed fingers at one another.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Underhill placed much of the blame with BP, which he said had the responsibility and opportunity to stop the ill-fated drilling operation nearly an hour before the blast.

“Eleven souls had 47 minutes to live the rest of their lives” because BP did not act, Underhill said.

An attorney for Transocean, which owned the rig and employed most of the workers on board, agreed that BP’s negligence was the driving factor behind the explosion and said their lawyers are “distorting what happened on the rig.”

“None of this had to happen,” Transocean lawyer Brad Brian said. “It happened because BP was behind schedule and rushing to get the job done.”

Brian also said that the court would learn about “incredible acts of heroism” by Transocean workers who risked their lives “in the midst of a literal apocalypse of explosions, smoke and fire.”

Halliburton attorney Don Godwin defended against accusations that the cement slurry the company used in the well was defective and a contributor to the explosion. He said the blame was shared by BP and Transocean, whose workers were “making it up as they went” while troubleshooting problems with the well.

“Blowouts are caused by loss of well control, not by cement failure,” Godwin said.

BP attorney Mike Brock said that all three companies were to blame, but also insisted BP’s executives did not act with callous disregard for worker safety and the integrity of the well.

Brock said a Halliburton contractor gave BP bad advice when it recommended a cement slurry that proved to be unstable, claiming the “bad slurry is what caused this well initially to flow.”

Brock also blamed Transocean for failing to maintain the blowout preventers that should have prevented both the explosion and the ensuing oil spill. If Transocean had replaced a dead battery and fixed a miswired solenoid in the blowout preventer assembly, “we wouldn’t be sitting here today,” Brock said.

Phases of Justice
The trial will be held in phases, with the first phase designed to assess the defendants’ negligence and determine how much individual blame should be assigned to each of the companies. The second phase, expected to begin in September, will address the accuracy of the government’s estimates of the amount of oil leaked, which BP says are exaggerated. The penalty phase isn’t expected to begin until next year, though Barbier could issue partial rulings after each of the first two phases.

Of particular importance in the current phase is the question of whether BP acted with gross negligence or ordinary negligence. If BP is found to be grossly negligent, which is defined by a reckless disregard for human and environmental safety, it could face up to $17.6 billion in fines under the Clean Water Act. If BP is simply negligent, those fines would be closer to $4 billion.

Settlement Looming?
Hours before today’s opening statements were scheduled to begin, the New York Times reported that a $16 billion settlement deal was in the works between BP and federal and state officials. According to the Times’ anonymous source, the settlement would include $6 billion in fines for Clean Water Act violations, $9 billion in penalties that would fund coastal restoration and $1 billion to be set aside for future environmental cleanup.

BP could avoid a significant tax liability with such a deal because most of its payout would be in the form of penalties rather than fines. Unlike fines, civil penalties are tax deductible.

BP Paying Billions
The trial is moving forward after Barbier delayed it for several months while BP negotiated a settlement with a group of Gulf Coast residents and business owners. Barbier approved that settlement in December, though the terms don’t specify how much BP will award for individual claims. BP says it expects to pay about $8.5 billion in the deal.

Shortly after that settlement was approved, a federal judge approvedanother settlement in the criminal probe of BP and Transocean, which included the single largest fine in U.S. history. In that settlement, BP agreed to pay more than $4 billion and Transocean agreed to pay $1.4 billion.


#7376

BP Actions Before Gulf Spill Were ‘Beyond Imprudent,’ Expert Witness Says - NYTimes.com

NEW ORLEANS — The practices of the oil giant BP came under sharp attack on Wednesday in a courtroom here by an expert witness who said its negligence caused the 2010 explosion aboard a Gulf of Mexico drilling rig that killed 11 workers and spewed millions of barrels of oil.

A full day of testimony in the third day of a trial against BP was dominated by the witness, Alan R. Huffman, a petroleum geophysicist who was testifying for the government and private plaintiffs. Mr. Huffman accused BP of submitting misleading and selective data to federal regulators while drilling the Macondo well and of playing “fast and loose” with a safety test intended to measure the stability of the offshore well.

Mr. Huffman, who has worked for several major oil companies, also said BP had been irresponsible to continue drilling below 18,000 feet when the company should have known that the well was unstable. “This was beyond imprudent,” he said. “It was unsafe and dangerous.”

BP’s share of responsibility is a principal focus of the trial, and is also central to a settlement proposal offered by the Justice Department and five gulf states that are demanding that BP pay $16 billion in spill-related penalties and fines. If there is no settlement, the multiphase trial will determine not only responsibility for the accident but also how many millions of barrels of oil was actually spilled.

BP’s high priority for saving money continued to be a theme of the trial.

Kevin Lacy, a former BP senior vice president for drilling operations in the gulf who resigned a few months before the spill, told the court in a video taped deposition that he was told by top management to cut costs throughout 2008 and 2009.

“I was never given a directive to cut corners or to deliver something not safely,” Mr. Lacy said, “but there was tremendous pressure on costs.”

In video testimony, BP’s former chief executive, Tony Hayward, acknowledged his cost-cutting plans, but he said that, at the same time, he talked “about safe and reliable operations.” Mr. Hayward lost his job because of the accident and some of his public statements during the crisis.

Lamar McKay, the former president of BP America and current chief executive in charge of global upstream operations, faced questioning from lawyers from Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig, and Halliburton, the cement provider, who insisted that BP was ultimately responsible for the accident.

“We agreed that we are part of the responsibility for this tragic accident,” Mr. McKay said on the stand. “We were part of the cause of the accident, yes.”

Donald E. Godwin, Halliburton’s lawyer, argued that BP had misinterpreted tests showing that the cement that sealed the well was defective. Had the test been interpreted properly, he said, the cement could have been fixed and the accident would not have happened.

Mr. McKay responded: “We agreed there were misinterpretations. That was one of the causes.” But he added that BP had depended on its contractors.

Last November, BP agreed to pay $4.5 billion in fines and other penalties and pleaded guilty to 14 criminal charges related to the well blowout. It has also paid out $9 billion in a partial settlement with businesses, individuals and local governments. The company has set aside $42 billion for payouts, largely from selling off oil and gas assets across the world.

Four BP employees face criminal charges.

The government and Transocean have already come to a $1 billion civil settlement, and the rig company will pay an additional $400 million criminal penalty. Halliburton has not yet settled.


#7377

Deepwater trial: US lawyers say BP ignored warnings on ‘well from hell’

(Good synopsis of OPENING STATEMENTS by several of the adverse parties)

http://m.guardiannews.com/environment/2013/feb/25/deepwater-trial-justice-bp-warnings

The man in charge of BP’s ill-fated Deepwater Horizon rig warned his boss that staff were operating in “chaos, paranoia and insanity” just days before a fatal blowout killed 11 men and caused the worst oil spill in US history, a New Orleans court heard on Monday.

In opening arguments Michael Underhill, the lawyer representing the US Department of Justice, said BP knew it was drilling a “well from hell” but that its managers refused to deviate from a “course of corporate recklessness” that ultimately led to the fatal blowout at the Gulf of Mexico well.

In a difficult day for BP, Underhill was followed by statements from BP’s partners in the fatal rig, Transocean and Halliburton, who also slammed BP. The dead rig workers “put too much trust in BP and paid for that trust with their lives,” said Transocean attorney Brad Brian.

The company was guilty of “willful misconduct,” said Underhill. It had calculated it needed $7bn (£4.6bn) to pay shareholders their dividend and put immense pressure on staff to save money and drill faster in order to reach that target, he said. “A safety corner cut a day saved was a $1m saved for BP,” said Underhill.

BP set out its defense in the afternoon. Attorney Mike Brock defended BP and its choice of partners. He said drilling was a “team sport” and that BP had chosen the best partners. He argued that the evidence showed BP was not “grossly negligent”. Mistakes had been made and the rig’s operators were collectivily responsible.
Brock said detractors were taking emails out of context and BP would present a fuller picture at trial. He pointed one email where John Guide, BP’s manager of the Macondo well, said his team was “flying by the seat of their pants”.
Far from being evidence of a breakdown in culture, Brock said the snippet was out of context. “This is a well site leader expressing frustration about logistical issues. It’s not a well site safety issue,” said Brock.

The civil trial began on Monday in courtroom 268 of the US district court in New Orleans after the apparent collapse of settlement talks over the weekend. This case is the first of two and will decide how this tragedy happened and who caused it to happen. A second will determine exactly how much oil was spilled. BPfaces a potential fine of $17.6bn. The case will be decided by judge Carl Barbier.

Eleven teams of lawyers were in court Monday; three overspill rooms were set aside for them and another for the press and general public. Barbier set out a three-month timetable for the trial, although legal experts in court said settlement talks are continuing.

“The tragedy of this case,” said Underhill, is that it was caused by failures that “didn’t even amount to pocket change”. He said that BP knew it was in difficulties and that tragedy could have been averted with “as little as a 10-second phone call” or “a 30-second walk down to the tool pusher”.
Underhill cited an email that will be put into evidence later this week from BP’s well team leader John Guide to David Sims, drilling and completions operations manager, in Houston just days before the 20 April 2010, disaster.
Underhill said the “extraordinary document … explains why 11 men needlessly lost their lives”. On 17 April, Guide told Sims that BP’s well site leaders “were at wits’ end” and there was a “huge level of paranoia that was riding chaos”. The well was proving impossible and they were “trying to make sense of all the insanity”. “The operation is not going to succeed if we continue in this manner,” he warned.
Sims responded that he was about to leave for dance practice. “I’ll be back soon and we can talk. I’m dancing to the Village People,” he wrote.

Underhill said BP would try to blame others including Halliburton, which made the cement meant to be used to seal the well as well as a precisely specified mud used for drilling. But BP bears the greatest responsibility, he said.
The fatal blowout came after a “negative pressure test” that – had it been performed correctly – would have saved lives and prevented millions of barrels of oil being poured into the Gulf, said Underhill. BP’s explanation of what went wrong with the test was greeted with a reply from Pat O’Bryan, BP’s vice-president responsible for drilling and well completions, consisting of 560 question marks. Brock said: “It was a mistake made by several men from two different companies”.


Jim Roy, from Lafayette, La.,representing the bulk of businesses and individuals affected by the disaster, also tore into BP, Transocean, the rig’s owner, and contractors Halliburton and Cameron in his statement.
The evidence will show BP had “a culture of cost cutting, profits over safety and taking high risks with conscious disregard for dire potential risks,” said Roy.
BP had “actual knowledge it [Deepwater Horizon] should have been heading into a shipyard for repairs,” he said.
"The evidence will prove that the Deepwater Horizon was unseaworthy as of April 20 2010 and had been for many month before and that BP and Transocean knew it."
He said evidence would show a systematic failure by Transocean’s management to adequately train its crew and a catalogue of unheeded warnings. He said the company had a “‘run it until it breaks’ philosophy”.
He said the evidence would show alarms were inhibited “in order to stop waking people up at night.” Witnesses said that after the explosion there was “chaos and mayhem” on the bridge captain Curt Kuchta had a “deer-in-the-headlights looks,” said Roy.
This disaster happened because of a “gross and extreme departure from the standard’s of good oilfield practice” and “willful failure” of Transocean to give its crew adequate training, he said.
“The evidence will show the ultimate responsibility of this rests with the management of Transocean,” said Roy. He said the evidence would show that Transocean’s safety culture was broken and the company put saving money over safety.


Outside the court Steve Cochran, acting director of the Environmental Defense Fund, said: "We just hope that the trial ends with sufficient resources to restore the coast and a clear signal to every operator in the gulf that you can’t cut corners and if you do, you’ll pay a huge price."
Daniel Jacobs, professor at American University’s Kogod School of Business, said: "I think it was very damning. This is a very grim story and if the plaintiffs produce the evidence that they say they are going to present, I think they have a strong case for gross negligence."
Jacobs, who was at the trial, has been following the case for years. He said the case would come down to proving “reckless indifference and greed”. “BP must have concluded it has a better chance of getting a better deal from the judge than the Justice Department,” he said.


#7378

BP Coverup and the Criminal Pursuit of Profit: Deepwater Horizon Workers knew of Problems before Explosion | Global Research

http://www.globalresearch.ca/bp-coverup-and-the-criminal-pursuit-of-profit-deepwater-horizon-workers-knew-of-problems-before-explosion/20242

Two internal Transocean reports obtained by The New York Times shed further light on the criminal negligence of both BP and Transocean in the lead-up to the April 20 explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which killed 11 workers and set off one of the most devastating environmental catastrophes in human history.

The reports reveal that Deepwater Horizon workers were well aware of mechanical and safety problems aboard the rig, but they feared reprisal should they speak out. The documents also strongly indicate that BP and Transocean knowingly disregarded basic safety and maintenance.

The first, a 33-page report, details confidential surveys of at least 40 workers aboard the rig, carried out by a third party and commissioned by Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig. The surveys, conducted from March 12-16—just one month before the blowout—reveal serious concerns among workers about safety procedures and the reliability of rig equipment.

According to the Times, workers told surveyors that they “often saw unsafe behaviors on the rig” and that “company plans were not carried out properly.” Some workers raised concerns that “drilling priorities [took] precedence over planned maintenance” and that this had resulted in poor equipment reliability. Another worker said that the rig had not been to dry dock, where it would go to receive thorough maintenance, in the nine years of its existence.

The investigators also documented workers’ fears of reprisals from executives on the mainland, who were said to consistently use “fear tactics” when workers reported “risky” situations. The Times notes the reports showed that “only about half of the workers interviewed said they felt they could report actions leading to a potentially ‘risky’ situation without reprisal.”

Additionally, workers indicated that they often falsified data to be entered into the safety system known as START (See, Think, Act, Reinforce, Track) because “nearly everyone” viewed the system as “counter-productive.” START is an example of the sort of self-regulation pushed for decades by industry and politicians alike.

The second report, a 112-page equipment assessment also commissioned by Transocean, verified the workers’ concerns. The Times notes that the report stated that at least 26 components and systems on the rig were in “bad” or “poor” condition.

Additionally, the Times notes, “many key components—including the blowout preventer rams and failsafe valves—had not been fully inspected since 2000, even though guidelines require inspection of the preventer every three to five years.”

The equipment assessment also revealed other mechanical problems that may have been directly related to the April 20 accident. At least one of the rig’s mud pumps was said by investigators to be in “bad condition.”

Experts have speculated that a lack of mud weight used to seal the exploratory well played a role in the blowout. Even in the last hours before the disaster, BP and Transocean officials aboard the rig had argued over the question of replacing drilling mud with much lighter salt water, which experts have criticized as particularly risky. (See “BP had prior warning of Deepwater Horizon blowout”)

Investigators also noted that the rig’s ballast system, which helps to ensure the stability of the ship, was impaired. Numerous other equipment problems are detailed in the reports.

Lou Colasuonno, a spokesman for Transocean, responded to the Times revelations in an email to the AP, stating that most of the 26 components said to have been in “bad” or “poor” condition in the released reports were minor.

Colasuonno flatly denied the revelation that maintenance was disregarded, claiming that all maintenance had been carried out according to the original manufacturer specifications. “A fair reading of those detailed third-party reviews indicates clearly that while certain areas could be enhanced, overall rig maintenance met or exceeded regulatory and industry standards,” he argued.

That the oil rig’s maintenance met or exceeded government regulatory standards does not at all indicate that the Deepwater Horizon was safe. Indeed, it has been the decades-long gutting of industry regulation under both Republican and Democratic administration that set the stage for the disaster.

In 2007, under the Bush administration, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) carried out three studies of the potential environmental impact of deep sea drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, including one that pertained specifically to the area where the Deepwater Horizon was ultimately deployed. The MMS’s results, largely dictated by BP, determined that a “deepwater spill” would not reach the coast and would not exceed 4,600 barrels.

In April 2009 the Obama administration granted BP a special exemption from a legal requirement that it produce a detailed environmental impact study on the possible effects of its Deepwater Horizon drilling operation. (See “Obama sheltered BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig from regulatory requirement”)

The newly revealed reports add to an overwhelming body of evidence that demonstrates the Deepwater Horizon blowout was caused by the criminal pursuit of profit.

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Interesting how the article headline predominately features “BP as the culprit” here when in fact this is an article specifically denoting deficiencies within the TRANSOCEAN managemènt structure.

Also, conveniently the MMS and Coast Guard who conducted several inspections over an 8 year period on the DWH are completely ignored as having any culpability in the incident.

Another example of "selective biased reporting"
By the media and investigating by the DOJ.


#7379

For those interested, the official transcripts of the trial testimony can be read at:

http://www.mdl2179trialdocs.com/

Generally they are posted 1/2 to 1 day after the testimony


#7380

Interesting how they have not questioned the company man in charge of Macondo, during the weeks before, April 20th,ie during the march “kick”, eh?

I am very impressed, with the questioning by the attorney, Paul Sterbcow, to Ezelle. And, I am humbled, by the bravery of Randy Ezelle. He risked his life, to save at least 2 men’s lives, that nite.

I am looking forward, to seeing testimony, from Mark Hafle.