Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog Donald Vidrine

Donald Vidrine

smoke-break

BP’s Well Boss Failed to Seek Guidance on Doomed Well

BP Plc’s senior manager aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig failed to seek help from company engineers on a well-pressure test in the hours before the disaster that led to the biggest U.S. offshore oil spill.

The well-site leader aboard the rig should’ve called experts to help interpret a confusing result from a test intended to ensure the Macondo well was stable, Steve Robinson, a BP vice president, told a federal panel in Houston today. Robinson helped lead an internal probe of the April 20 catastrophe that killed 11 workers.

BP managers and employees of rig owner Transocean Ltd. should’ve noticed pressure discrepancies during a so-called negative test on the well 40 miles (64 kilometers) off the Louisiana coast, Robinson said. Those readings should’ve alerted workers that explosive gas had seeped into the well and threatened the 126-member rig crew, he said.

“On the negative test, if they thought there was something wrong, they were to call an outside party either on the vessel or on the beach,” Robinson told the eight-member U.S. Coast Guard and Interior Department joint investigation team. “We did not find any evidence a call was made.”

Donald VidrineDonald Vidrine, the ranking well-site leader at the time of the blowout that destroyed the rig and triggered the spill, has been on administrative leave from London-based BP since the incident and has declined to testify before the federal panel. His junior counterpart on the rig that night, Robert Kaluza, also has been suspended and has refused to testify.

Smoke Break

Yesterday, the panel heard that a Halliburton Co. technician missed key signals that the well was on the verge of blowing out while he stepped away from his monitors for coffee and a cigarette.

In addition to the loss of life and the sinking of the $365 million rig, the disaster injured 17 and spewed an estimated 4.1 million barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico.

BP’s investigation, released in September, found that its managers and Transocean rig workers failed to notice signals that the well was in danger as long as 40 minutes prior to the disaster. A commission appointed by President Barack Obama drew similar conclusions.

Robinson, whose previous BP assignments included Gulf of Mexico wells between 2004 and 2006, was one of two company representatives scheduled to testify today. John Sprague, a drilling engineer manager based in the company’s Houston office, was to follow.

The panel began its sixth round of hearings this week and has a March 27 deadline to submit its findings to the Coast Guard and Interior Department.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Carroll in Houston at jcarroll8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Warren at susanwarren@bloomberg.net

source: BP’s Well Boss Failed to Seek Guidance on Doomed Well – Bloomberg

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2 Responses to Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog Donald Vidrine

  1. ArgotMay says:

    We know who killed Donald Vidrine. Same folks Jesse Ventura interviewed in the videos I found on youtube. You are too late to kill everyone. Most will suffer and many will die, but you didn’t win.

  2. JNOT says:

    Sad to see how misleading this op ed is, especially since its presented to appear as a news article.

    If you’re reading this post, you should check out a New York Times article that explicitly focuses on the actions of the top level BP employeers on the rig. It cites primary evidence (internal interview notes from BP) and factual testimony from federal hearings. (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/08/us/08rig.html?pagewanted=all)

    The physical and publicly available evidence presented in the NY Times shows that the BP company men actually did have concern with a pressure test and that it was actually a BP employyed that raised concerns with a superior engineer in Houston. The BP employee’s concern on the initial pressure test is what led him to eventually calling for a second pressure test, which has been understood as providing sound evidence that didn’t raise any concern for additional analysis. Unfortunately, this distinction is left out in the post written above, and the reader is led to believe that the BP employees were acting recklessly in the face of obvious risks.

    The NY Times article accurately describes a much more realistic actuality (confirmed by testimonies from all sides) where the BP employees and the other players were acutely aware of their respective responsibilities and that the tragedy was a calculated and safe process that relied on faulty information derived from highly technical engineering complexities

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