May 27, 2010 – According to testimony in a Louisiana hearing, BP & Transocean managers disagreed on how to proceed with work just hours before the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded. The disagreement, which occurred a mere eight hours prior to the event, ended with BP prevailing and Transocean officials reluctantly agreeing to proceed with work.
The hearing was part of several federal investigations that are being held in Washington and Louisiana to determine the cause of the disaster.
A BP investigator told the House Energy & Commerce Committee that rig operators erred by releasing pressure in a “kill line” while pressure in a drill pipe remained at 1,400 pounds per square inch.
“BP’s investigator indicated that a ‘fundamental mistake’ may have been made here because this was an ‘indicator of a very large abnormality,’” the lawmakers wrote in a summary prepared for members of the House panel.
According to David McKay, a surveyor with Oslo-based Det Norske Veritas SA who testified at the hearing, a 2007 review of the Deepwater Horizon rig found that staff training was deficient, along with “safety critical” items that were overdue.
This week, BP began its most ambitious attempt to plug the leak by pumping mud-like drilling fluid into the well. The effort is aimed at tamping down the gusher of oil and then sealing the well with cement. If the so-called “top kill” method is successful, it would bring an end to the leak that has poured millions of gallons into the Gulf and soiled at least 70 miles of coastline to date.
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