Judge extends deadline for completion of BOP testing protocol in BP MDL

Alejandro de los Rios Jun. 20, 2011, 11:24am

U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan issued an order June 20 extending the deadline for the completion of blowout preventer (BOP) testing protocols from June 20 to June 22.

This is the second extension granted to the subcontractor Det Norske Veritas (DNV), the firm hired to test the failed BOP that led to the Deepwater Horizon oilrig explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The BOP testing comes after U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier granted a motion by BP to conduct further testing beyond what DNV had completed in March.

DNV issued a report after its forensic testing showed 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.

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

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

The JIT report issued in March 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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