Transocean Disses Feds' Subpoenas

Deepwater Horizon owner claims safety board has no jurisdiction
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 30, 2010 6:00 AM CST
Workboats operate near the Transocean Development Drilling Rig II at the site of the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico Friday, July 16, 2010.   (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
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(Newser) – The Deepwater Horizon's owner is refusing to honor subpoenas from a federal board that has challenged the company's involvement in monitoring the testing of the blowout preventer, which failed to stop the oil spill disaster. Transocean says the US Chemical Safety Board does not have jurisdiction in the probe, so it doesn't have a right to the documents and other items it seeks. The board says it does have jurisdiction and it has asked the Justice Department to enforce the subpoenas.

Besides documents, the board said Transocean has also denied it access to witnesses—specifically a half-dozen of the rig company's employees the board wants to question. The jurisdiction dispute surrounds whether the Deepwater Horizon rig was a stationary unit or a mobile vessel. The board claims the rig was tethered and not functioning as a moving vessel at the time of the April 20 accident, making it a stationary site and thus under the board's jurisdiction; Transocean argues that the rig was a mobile offshore drilling unit, not fixed.

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