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Blowout Preventer

September 5, 2010 | By Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times
With a new blowout preventer in place and a 5,000-foot column of cement filling its core, the BP well is no longer in danger of leaking oil, the federal spill response chief said Saturday — although he said it must still be plugged from the bottom for the job to be complete. "I'm very pleased to announce that with the new blowout preventer on this well, and the cement that was previously put in … this well does not constitute a threat to the Gulf of Mexico at this point," said Thad Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral who has served as the government's point person on the response.
September 4, 2010 | By Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times
Crews successfully removed the failed blowout preventer from BP's broken oil well Friday, an important step toward killing the well for good and a hopeful development for federal investigators who view the device as key evidence that will be inspected to determine why it did not shut off the disastrous undersea gusher. The blowout preventer was removed from the wellhead, which is 5,000 feet deep in the Gulf of Mexico, at 1:20 p.m. Central time, BP spokesman Daren Beaudo said in an e-mail Thursday.
August 30, 2010 | Assoiciated Press
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.
August 28, 2010 | By Rong-Gong Lin II and Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times
Federal investigators are homing in on the role that BP's Houston operations had in possible design flaws that may have contributed to the April 20 blowout of the Deepwater Horizon well. In particular, they are focusing on John Guide, a Houston-based supervisor who BP workers said was the main official with authority over the design of the Gulf of Mexico well. "What was interesting to me is that [two BP officials] have pointed at Mr. John Guide, the well team leader, as the decision maker," Coast Guard Capt.
August 24, 2010 | By Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times
Engineering crews working on the BP oil well disaster Monday continued efforts to remove an obstacle to their undersea endgame: a 3,000-foot drill pipe that is stuck in the blowout preventer and extends far down the well. Specifically, the pipe is jammed in a shear ram, a last-resort safety device that is supposed to seal an oil well and quell a gusher like the one that erupted below the Deepwater Horizon rig April 20 off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico. Officials hope removing the pipe will make it easier to replace the original blowout preventer with a stronger one that should help engineers safely execute a "bottom kill" — the final step in fully closing a well that spewed an estimated 4.9 million barrels of crude until its provisional closure with a huge metal cap in mid-July.
August 21, 2010 | By Rong-Gong Lin II and Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times
Federal investigators on Monday are expected to confront executives and managers of BP and rig owner Transocean Ltd. about catastrophic failures in oil well design and disabled safety systems that may have played a role in the deaths of 11 crewmen on the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon. The joint U.S. Coast Guard- Interior Department investigation into the April 20 blowout has amassed a trove of testimony during three previous hearings in Louisiana and this week moves to Houston, the hub of the nation's oil and gas industry, where BP and other firms linked to the disaster have offices.
August 20, 2010 | Richard Fausset and Kim Murphy
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 17, 2010 | By Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times
The day the BP oil well can be permanently declared dead has been pushed back to late August so experts can devise plans to reduce risks during the final well-killing procedure, the federal government's spill response chief said Monday. "There's nobody that wants to have this happen any quicker than I do, but there's nobody that wants to incur more risk to this operation," said Thad Allen, the national incident commander. "When we finish this thing, this will be a stake in the heart of this well, and that's my overall intention," he said.
August 7, 2010 | By Bettina Boxall and Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
Encouraged by signs that a new cement plug was setting properly, BP on Friday returned to the drilling operation that will spell the ultimate end of its notorious gulf well. It has been a landmark week for BP, which succeeded in stuffing its damaged deep-sea well with heavy mud and then cement, effectively shutting it down, more than three months after the Deepwater Horizon explosion killed 11 workers and set off a slow-motion environmental disaster. BP was waiting for the 500 barrels of cement it pumped into the well to dry and administering pressure tests to make sure the plug was holding.
July 22, 2010 | By Rong-Gong Lin II
Federal investigators painted a picture Thursday that suggested BP and oil-rig owner Transocean cut corners aboard the doomed Deepwater Horizon, which exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, causing the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. Investigators have suggested that crew members were under pressure to finish their work aboard the floating mobile oil rig, which was trying to finish off an exploratory well, plug it so a production rig could be put into place and move on to a new site.
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