BP Skipped Certification of Blowout Preventer

They also changed safety test at last minute
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2010 12:54 PM CDT
An employee lifts the protective cover of the buttons on the blowout preventer control panel in the drilling shack on an oil rig in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(Newser) – Yet more details are emerging on the missteps that may have led to the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Among them: The all-important blowout preventer wasn’t recertified in 2005, as required by federal regulations, one worker responsible for maintaining the equipment told investigators yesterday. Transocean tells the AP that the blowout preventer wasn’t recertified because it was being constantly maintained. Re-certifying the five-story device can take as long as three months, because it must be removed from the water and disassembled.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal has learned that just 12 hours before the explosion, a BP engineer sent out an email changing the procedure for a key safety test. BP chose to remove an unusually large amount of heavy drilling fluid for its pressure test. The company said it wanted to avoid damaging a key seal, but the procedure is unorthodox, and confused some workers. The day-shift manager during the test told BP’s internal investigators that it might have been done “to save time.”

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