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Key component in BP oil well approved in only 90 minutes

Bryan Alaspa's picture

One of a series of failures that led to the Gulf oil spill disaster, and the deaths of 11 oil rig workers, was due to a component approved by the Minerals Management Service in only 90 minutes.

Although the study of the BP oil well disaster cites several reasons why the incident occurred one of the key components that seems to be standing out is that a cement plug, described as “unusually deep,” was approved in only 90 minutes. The approval came from the Minerals Management Service, according to a presidential report on the entire incident that happened last summer.

The report goes on to cite nine technical and engineering errors that the report said increased the risk of the blowout that took the lives of 11 workers and led to the environmental disaster. A portion of the report was obtained by the Associated Press regarding the cement plug and reported in the media early Thursday.

The report stated that it was a string of very poor decisions on behalf of many that led to the disaster. The string of problems ultimately led to technical failure that caused the blowout to occur last April. That initial explosion killed 11 workers on the oil rig and ultimately spilled an estimated 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

BP had hired the firm Halliburton to seal the well, deep in the Gulf, with a cement plug. The plug was only mean tot be temporary meant to cap the well just after oil was first discovered in the location deep beneath the ocean. Tests were carried out in the weeks leading up to the use of the plug on the oil well and, ultimately, the disaster.

Back in October, another report stated that Halliburton used material that was flawed when creating the cement plug. There have also been accusations that Halliburton knew that the material in the cement was flawed but went ahead with it anyway.

During investigations into the disaster in 2010 Halliburton vigorously denied that they had done anything wrong. Halliburton, in turn, blamed BP for not doing a key test to ultimately determine whether or not the cement plug would work. Later one, however, Hallburton admitted it had not done a final test on the cement formulation.

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