Oil Rig Workers Blew Past Red Flags

Equipment showed danger of blowout, but they kept working
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2010 7:38 AM CDT
Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon after its explosion, in this this April 21, 2010 file image.   (AP Photo/US Coast Guard, File)

(Newser) – Just two hours before the Deepwater Horizon exploded, a major test revealed a “very large abnormality” in the well, but workers simply ignored it and kept working, BP revealed in a report to Congress yesterday. Previously, BP had said the test was inconclusive, the Wall Street Journal notes, but now the company says ignoring it may have been the “fundamental mistake” that led to the explosion.

It certainly wasn't the only one, however. Workers ignored several other equipment readings as well, the New York Times reports, and took the risky step of replacing the heavy mud in the pipe with seawater. The cement meant to seal the well in an emergency also appears to have been contaminated. The report also notes the involvement of TransOcean and Halliburton on the rig, but BP's CEO added, “it is simply too early—and not up to us—to say who is at fault.”

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