"Failure of Rig’s Last Line of Defense Tied to Myriad Factors"

"It was the last line of defense, the final barrier between the rushing volcanic fury of oil  and gas and one of the worst environmental disasters in United States history.

Its very name -- the blind shear ram -- suggested its blunt purpose. When all else failed, if the crew of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig lost control of a well, if a dreaded blowout came, the blind shear ram’s two tough blades were poised to slice through the drill pipe, seal the well and save the day. Everything else could go wrong, just so long as “the pinchers” went right. All it took was one mighty stroke.

On the night of April 20, minutes after an enormous blowout ripped through the Deepwater Horizon, the rig’s desperate crew pinned all hope on this last line of defense.

But the line did not hold."

David Barstow, Laura Dodd, James Glanz, Stephanie Saul, and Ian Urbina report for the New York Times June 20, 2010, with Michael Moss and Henry Fountain.


"BP Was Told of Oil Safety Fault 'Weeks Before Blast'" (BBC News)

Source: NYTimes, 06/21/2010