Barbier allows BP to conduct further testing on failed BOP

Alejandro de los Rios Mar. 28, 2011, 8:20am


U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier granted BP permission to conduct further forensic testing on the failed blowout preventer (BOP) that led to last year's Deepwater Horizon oilrig explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Earlier this month, BP filed a motion to conduct tests on the BOP that were not performed by Det Norske Veritas, the contractor hired by the federal government to issue a report on the BOP.

Det Morske Veritas finished its BOP testing last week and issued a report stating that a bent drill pipe prevented it from cutting off the flow of oil as it came up the Macondo well.

The Joint Investigative Team (JIT), made up of officials from Department of Homeland Security and the Department of the Interior, will retain possession of the BOP at the NASA Michaud facility outside of New Orleans, Barbier ordered.

BP, which said its tests "will add value to an analysis of why the BOP did not work as intended," also invited other parties to place input on the protocol they'll use for testing.

Barbier ordered that any disagreements on BP's proposed testing methods be submitted "at the earliest possible opportunity" so testing can begin April 15.

BP must submit its protocols to the court by April 8.

"The additional BOP testing shall be performed in a manner that preserves the evidence to the maximum extent possible," the order states.

BP has until June 15 to finish its testing and issue a report.

The JIT report issued last week detailed what it believed were the main factors in the BOP's failure.

During the loss of well control, blind sheer rams (BSRs) designed to cut the drill pipe in the event of a blowout were unsuccessful because the "drill pipe elastically buckled within the wellbore," the report states.

The buckling occurred due to pressure, which built up before the BOP had a chance to operate.

The report also blames the failure on the BOP itself, stating that "the BOP functionality testing indicated some back-up control system components did not perform as intended."

Federal MDL 2:10-md-2179

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