BP Oil Rig Had Months of Safety Worries

Well was fraught with problems going back to June 2009
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Suggested by Disillusioned
Posted May 30, 2010 8:35 AM CDT
BP Oil Rig Had Months of Safety Worries
The ultra-deepwater semi-submersible rig Deepwater Horizon is shown operating in the Gulf of Mexico.   (AP Photo/Transocean)

Most of us just woke up one April day to the news that an oil rig had exploded in the Gulf, but BP knew of safety concerns at least 10 months before that, according to documents obtained by the New York Times. The highlights:

  • In June 2009, BP engineers worried that the casing the company wanted, for which it had to obtain special permission, might collapse under high pressure in "a worst-case scenario."

  • In March, BP told feds it was losing "well control" after dealing with gas "kicks," falling drilling mud, and a pipe that fell into the well. The company asked to delay a blowout preventer test, then tested it at 6500 PSI instead of the normal 10000 until the explosion.
  • In April, engineers worried that the well casing was “unlikely to be a successful cement job,” and that BP's casing plan was “unable to fulfill MMS regulations.” A second copy of the same memo said “It is possible to obtain a successful cement job” and “It is possible to fulfill MMS regulations."
(More Gulf oil spill stories.)

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