Oil companies involved in U.S. oil spill play blame game (2)

08:37, May 12, 2010      

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BP America, Inc. President and Chairman Lamar Mckay (L Front), Transocean Limited President and Chief Executive Officer Steven Newman (C Front), and Global Business Lines President and Halliburton Chief Health, Safety and Environment Officer Tim Probert (R Front), attend a hearing on offshore oil drilling before the U.S. Senate energy and natural resources committee on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, May 11, 2010. The hearing is held to review issues related to deepwater offshore exploration for petroleum and the accident in the Gulf of Mexico involving the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)


However, Transocean's Newman said the blowout preventers "were clearly not the root cause of the explosion" and "it is inappropriate to focus any causation discussions exclusively on the blowout preventers." He said they might have been damaged by debris made of cement and steel casing material blown upward because of other failures.

"The one thing we know with certainty is that on the evening of April 20 there was a sudden, catastrophic failure of the cement, the casing, or both," Newman said. "Therein lies the root cause of this occurrence. Without a disastrous failure of one of those elements, the explosion could not have occurred."

Newman also emphasized BP's role.

"Offshore oil and gas production projects begin and end with the operator, in this case BP," said Newman. He said it was BP that prepared the drilling plan and BP that gave the go-ahead to fill the well pipe with sea water before a final cement cap was installed, reducing the downward pressure.

Halliburton's Tim Probert also tried to deflect blame, saying " we understand that the drilling contractor ... proceeded to displace the riser with seawater prior to the planned placement of the final cement plug." That plug was designed to keep the oil and gas in the well, a final step before pulling the drilling rig away from the well. Probert said that the final cement plug was never set.

Probert insisted that the company's work was done "in accordance with the requirements" set out by BP and followed accepted industry practices.

However, lawmakers made clear that they didn't like the finger pointing.

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(Editor:intern1)

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http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90852/6981763.pdf