July 20, 2010 |
Top oil rig officials knew that the blowout preventer -- the mechanism that failed to shut off the geyser of oil gushing from a well up to a drilling platform -- suffered mechanical problems at least three months before the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, according to testimony Tuesday at a federal hearing in suburban New Orleans. The testimony is significant because it shows that the rig's top officers were aware that this crucial piece of equipment had known problems.
March 24, 2011 |
The blowout preventer designed to shut down a BP well in an emergency couldn't stop a gusher of deep sea oil into the Gulf of Mexico because a damaged piece of drill pipe got in the way, according to a federal report released Wednesday. When the Deepwater Horizon rig crew lost control of the well in April, the force of rushing oil buckled a section of drill pipe, which then became stuck in the blowout preventer. The safety device was activated, but the mangled pipe made it impossible for shearing rams to close and plug the flow of oil. The report was compiled by Det Norske Veritas for the Interior Department after the contracting firm examined the blowout preventer as part of a series of investigations into the cause of the massive BP oil spill.
August 20, 2010 |
BP and government officials said Thursday that they planned to remove the damaged existing blowout preventer on top of the company's troubled oil well and replace it with a new, stronger one — a move they said would allow them to safely carry out the final "kill" of the well, but would delay the ultimate fix until after Labor Day. Earlier in the crisis, BP had estimated that it would be able to complete the final step to plug the well, called...
August 30, 2010 |
High seas on the Gulf of Mexico forced BP on Monday to delay operations for up to three days to raise from the seabed the piece of equipment that failed to prevent the massive oil spill, federal officials said. Retired Coast Adm. Thad Allen, the government's point man on the spill response, said that waves were 6-8 feet tall and crews were worried about the risk of suspending hulking pieces of equipment from a crane underwater during rocking caused by the waves. He said the operations were expected to be pushed back two to three days, meaning it could be as late as Thursday before engineers begin to remove a temporary cap, which stopped oil from flowing into the sea in mid-July, and the failed blowout preventer, which is a key piece of evidence in investigations.
September 9, 2010 |
The ultimate sealing of BP's gulf oil well may not get underway until late this month or early October because experts want more time to analyze the well, fish out a broken pipe and possibly apply another cement seal on the top for "more insurance" against unlikely troubles, a top federal official said. National spill-response chief Thad Allen, in a conference call with reporters Wednesday, reiterated his promise that there was "no threat" of oil leaks from the well now that a stronger blowout preventer had been placed on top of it. The new equipment gives experts the luxury of taking a few extra steps to ensure that they will not encounter problems with the final "bottom kill.
May 12, 2010 |
Congressional committee members probing the catastrophic gulf oil spill homed in Wednesday on possible defects in cementing and in a critical safety device as they grilled oil company executives about what Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) called "a calamitous series of equipment and operational failures." The BP well, drilled 18,000 feet below the seafloor, may have failed two critical pressure tests in the hours before its April 20 blowout, according to testimony from executives and interviews with company officials, along with more than 100,000 pages of documents.