"Oil Spill Investigators Find Critical Problems in Blowout Preventer"

"A House energy panel investigation has found that the blowout preventer that failed to stop a huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico had a dead battery in its control pod, leaks in its hydraulic system, a "useless" test version of a key component and a cutting tool that wasn't strong enough to shear through steel joints in the well pipe and stop the flow of oil.

In a devastating review of the blowout preventer, which BP said was supposed to be "fail-safe," Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's subcommittee on oversight, said Wednesday that documents and interviews show that the device was anything but.

The comments came in a hearing in which lawmakers grilled senior executives from BP and oilfield service firms Transocean, Halliburton and Cameron, maker of the blowout preventer. In one exchange, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) pressed BP on why it seemed to be "flailing" to deal with a spill only 2 percent as large as what it had said it could handle in its license application."

Steven Mufson and David A. Fahrenthold report for the Washington Post May 13, 2010.

See Also:

"Emerging Oil Rig Evidence Shows Lack of Regulation" (AP)

"Gulf Drillers Proceeded Despite Awareness of Problems, Says Rep. Waxman" (Greenwire)

"Firms Ignored Warning Signs Before Blast, Inquiry Hears" (Guardian)

Thursday, May 13, 2010