Calgary Herald

Well gear overdue for maintenanc­e


INQUIRY • The blowout preventer that failed on a BP PlC well last year, leading to the worst U.S.

offshore oil spill, was four years overdue for maintenanc­e under driller Transocean ltd.’s internal guidelines, a U.S. regulator said. The Deepwater Horizon’s blowout preventer hadn’t been disassembl­ed and refurbishe­d since the rig was commission­ed in 2001, Jason Mathews of the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcemen­t, said Wednesday during an investigat­ive hearing in Metairie, Louisiana.

Under Transocean’s rules, the blowout preventer should have been overhauled no later than the summer of 2006, Mathews said.

The preventer is a 300-ton stack of valves and pipes designed to stop an oil well from surging out of control.

The blowout preventer’s blades failed to sever and seal the pipe from BP’s Macondo well during the April 2010 disaster that killed 11 rig workers, sank the vessel and spewed enough crude into the sea to fill two supertanke­rs.

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