Barbier considers appointment of BOP supervisor

Alejandro de los Rios Aug. 12, 2011, 4:00am


U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier has signed an order outlying provision for the possible appointment of a Master for Supervision of Custody of the failed blowout preventer (BOP) which led to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The provision outlines requirements for the Master to periodically monitor and inspect the BOP when custody is transferred from the Joint Investigative Team (JIT) on Oct. 1.

Once in the Master's custody, the BOP will be subject to "regular (e.g. weekly) visual inspection ... to assess the state of the preservative coatings," as well as inspections of the unit in which it is stored.

The Master would also be in charge of securing the BOP before severe storms and to inspect it and the facility afterwards.

In March, a federal government report says that a bent drill pipe prevented the BOP from cutting off the flow of oil, which led to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The report was issued by the JIT, made up of officials from Department of Homeland Security and the Department of the Interior.

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."

BOP testing also indicated that "not all back-up control systems had built-in redundancy," the report found.

BP and its partners have since requested and have been granted access to further investigation of the BOP.

Barbier's order states any party "may suggest candidates for the appointment [of a Master] and such suggestions must be received by the undersigned no later than" August 25.

Federal MDL 2:10-md-2179

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