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Gulf oil spill: Doomed rig had good reputation, BP executive testifies

The Deepwater Horizon, which exploded April 20 in the Gulf of Mexico, was considered one of the most efficient and safest mobile floating rigs in the Transocean Ltd. fleet, according to testimony Thursday at a hearing.

The rig's reputation as essentially the jewel of the fleet was one of the reasons BP's drilling and completions vice president, Pat O’Bryan, wanted to tour the vessel off the Louisiana coast. He arrived on the rig, leased to BP by Transocean,less than 10 hours before it exploded in the Gulf of Mexico.

“One of the purposes of the trip was to actually understand why the Horizon was as good a performer as a rig as it was,” O’Bryan testified at a joint U.S. Coast Guard-Interior Department hearing in Houston, which went on for 12 1/2 hours Thursday.

Transocean plotted its rigs on a graph measuring safety versus rig equipment downtime.
“They have a box called the ‘excellence box,’ and the Horizon was one of the handful of the rigs that they had in their fleet that actually is in the excellence box,” O’Bryan said. “So we got into a big conversation about ... why do you think the rig performs as well as it does?”

In fact, as earlier testimony shows, the Deepwater Horizon had a history of major maintenance problems, suffering from partial blackouts, freezing computers and a backlog of thousands of hours of overdue maintenance. A BP audit in September 2009 showed that there was “overdue planned maintenance considered excessive -- 390 jobs amounting to 3,545 man-hours.”

O’Bryan testified that he was not familiar with the audit prior to the disaster. He was relatively new on the job, he said, having been placed in his position three to four months before the rig exploded.

Testimony has shown that the overdue maintenance backlog was caused in part by a lack of manpower. The rig’s chief engineer, Stephen Bertone, testified in July that the Deepwater Horizon had been expected to return to a shipyard in 2011 for a massive overhaul.

Investigators have suggested faulty equipment on board the rig may have been a factor in the disaster.

-- Rong-Gong Lin II in Houston

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and NOW yet another one has exploded !!!!!! BP GET ON OUR JOB !!!! we have no jobs in our fields we are trained in and yet another one goes up in smoke sounds like sabatoge to me our environment is being killed and the company thats responsible wont help the situation by evaluating the rigs they do have on our beautiful coast line and the local people that depend on peak season are losing jobs left and right becoming homeless overnight and cant support their family I have lost my job as of 6/04/10 and i lost my car and now i ride a bike to look for work everyday with no luck but i have faith and all here in the area are worried were all the homeless are going to go we DONT EVEN HAVE A SHELTER!!!!! for our local families in need the nearest one is in mobile!!!! and were is this so callled president has he bothered to call a state of emergency or give funding to open a shelter NO!!!! he is just the front man and he does just what he told to do !!!! NO ONE CAN TELL ME THERE IS NO MONEY TO HELP OUR GULF COAST!!! THE AREA THRIVED WITH SNOWBIRDS AND PEOPLE COMING FROM EVERYWERE TO SEE HOW PRETTY IT IS DOWN HERE NOW I SEE A GHOST TOWN ITS HEARTBREAKING !!!! AND THANK YOU FOR ALL THE LOCALS THAT ARE OUT THERE SHOWING HOW MUCH THEY LOVE OUR HOME GOD BLESS AMERICA AND THE TRUE WARRIORS WE HAVE WITH OUT THEM IT WOULDNT BE AMERICA !~!!!!

Really? "Good reputation." As if that matters in the aftermath of this disaster.

This was all about a multi, multi, multi billion dollar company that was too cheap to be safe. The half-million dollar blowout preventer, or some more manpower to keep up with maintenance would have saved our environment, and the employment of thousands of people along the gulf coast.

If this was one of the best rigs, there is still a lot of trouble ahead.

The Center for Public Integrity reported on its website that the Coast Guard's failure to follow its own firefighting policy during the Deepwater Horizon explosion and fire may have contributed to the sinking of the oil rig.

US Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry was in charge of the gulf when the rig went down last April ! Lets get some answers from Congress !

How odd was it that Mary Landry was also in charge of the April 2003 oil spill in Buzzards Bay. On April 27, 2003, Bouchard Barge 120 hit an obstacle in Buzzards Bay, creating a 12-foot rupture in its hull and discharging an estimated 98,000 gallons of No. 6 oil. The oil is known to have affected an estimated 90 miles of shoreline


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