The documents show that in March, after several weeks of problems on the rig, BP was struggling with a loss of “well control.” And as far back as 11 months ago, it was concerned about the well casing and the blowout preventer.
On June 22, for example, BP engineers expressed concerns that the metal casing the company wanted to use might collapse under high pressure.
“This would certainly be a worst-case scenario,” Mark E. Hafle, a senior drilling engineer at BP, warned in an internal report. “However, I have seen it happen so know it can occur.”
The company went ahead with the casing, but only after getting special permission from BP colleagues because it violated the company’s safety policies and design standards. The internal reports do not explain why the company allowed for an exception. BP documents released last week to The Times revealed that company officials knew the casing was the riskier of two options...
In April of this year, BP engineers concluded that the casing was “unlikely to be a successful cement job,” according to a document, referring to how the casing would be sealed to prevent gases from escaping up the well.
The document also says that the plan for casing the well is “unable to fulfill M.M.S. regulations,” referring to the Minerals Management Service...
On Tuesday Congress released a memorandum with preliminary findings from BP’s internal investigation, which indicated that there were warning signs immediately before the explosion on April 20, including equipment readings suggesting that gas was bubbling into the well, a potential sign of an impending blowout.
A parade of witnesses at hearings last week told about bad decisions and cut corners in the days and hours before the explosion of the rig, but BP’s internal documents provide a clearer picture of when company and federal officials saw problems emerging.
In addition to focusing on the casing, investigators are also focusing on the blowout preventer, a fail-safe device that was supposed to slice through a drill pipe in a last-ditch effort to close off the well when the disaster struck. The blowout preventer did not work, which is one of the reasons oil has continued to spill into the gulf, though the reason it failed remains unclear...
The documents show that in March, after problems on the rig that included drilling mud falling into the formation, sudden gas releases known as “kicks” and a pipe falling into the well, BP officials informed federal regulators that they were struggling with a loss of “well control.”
On at least three occasions, BP records indicate, the blowout preventer was leaking fluid, which the manufacturer of the device has said limits its ability to operate properly.
“The most important thing at a time like this is to stop everything and get the operation under control,” said Greg McCormack, director of the Petroleum Extension Service at the University of Texas, Austin, offering his assessment about the documents...
Bob Sherrill, an expert on blowout preventers and the owner of Blackwater Subsea, an engineering consulting firm, said the conditions on the rig in February and March and the language used by the operator referring to a loss of well control “sounds like they were facing a blowout scenario.”
This is an open-and-shut case of capitalist negligence. We're gonna need a lot of ropes for this one. I would pay dearly to watch these motherfuckers hung in their suits. Maybe we can dip them in oil, set them on fire, and then hang them with steel cables, as ropes would burn off very quickly. Wait, no, that's good, stick with the ropes. We will dip them in oil, set them on fire, hang them with ropes, let them hang for a second until the rope burns off, just to add agony, then watch them writhe on the ground until they die.