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.