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BP ignored warnings before Gulf blast

Author : Amy Hollamby

26 May 2010

BP has told investigators that pressure tests on a drill pipe showed a fundamental mistake hours before the deadly Deepwater Horizon explosion on the 20th April that caused the Gulf of Mexico oil leak. Problems were also found in equipment meant to provide fail-safe protection against a blow out. Yet BP made the massive mistake of continuing operations.

BP ignored warnings before Gulf blast
BP ignored warnings before Gulf blast

According to BP, there were three warning signs of problems with unwanted flow in the well starting 51 minutes before the explosion, a time when more fluid began to flow out of the well than was being pumped in.

When the pump was shut down, 41 minutes before the explosion, the well continued to flow instead of stopping, and drill pipe pressure unexpectedly increased. About 18 minutes before the explosion abnormal pressure leaks of the fluids known as mud meant to keep oil and gas capped were observed and the pump was shut down.

It is believed that the crew may have attempted mechanical interventions at that point to control the pressure, but soon after, the flow out and pressure increased dramatically and the explosion took place.

Other findings suggest that there were other incidents in the 24 hours before the explosion that require further enquiry.

It has not been indicated who made decisions after the problems were found.

The April 20th explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig - off of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico - killed 11 people and injured 17 others. The platform later sank, causing one of the worst environmental disasters in modern history.

The drilling rig is still spilling thousands of barrels a day into the ocean.

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