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ALARM SYSTEM PANEL PLACED IN “BYPASS MODE” BEFORE APRIL 20 INCIDENT
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jul. 25, 2010) — According to a report dated July 23, 2010 in The Washington Post, there were numerous problems with the Deepwater Horizon, the oil rig which exploded on April 20 in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 employees and triggering the release of millions of gallons of oil into the water, resulting in an environmental and economic disaster as yet unseen in the United States.
A second report entitled “Deepwater Horizon Explosion came from Greed” cites numerous technical problems and suggests that policies were broken by British Petroleum (BP) which led to the death of 11 oil rig workers.
On July 15, BP announced that the oil had stopped flowing due to a cap which it had installed on the leaking well. A procedure called “static kill” is planned to begin next week after a delay due to Tropical Storm Bonnie.
Among the problems which might have contributed to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon are:
- The alarm system was reported by a former Marine and survivor of the disaster as having “been functioning unreliably in the runup to the blowout”
- The rig operator might have placed the gas alarm system in “inhibited” mode so that so that no one would be “needlessly awakened in the middle of the night,” something which other rig operators had reportedly knowingly done
- There were “extensive maintenance problems” which affected cooling pumps, bilge pumps, the fire and gas system, and problems with obtaining replacement parts, sometimes due to discontinuation
- A consultant has reported that four unacceptable “integrity” tests on the well before the explosion.
BP has been charged with compensating the residents and business owners of the Gulf, a process to be overseen by Obama czar Kenneth Feinberg. BP has also been informed that it must pay royalties on any gas and oil collected from the leaking well in addition to royalties on what has already spilled into the Gulf if it is determined that it “broke any rules” which led to the explosion.
Obama has labeled the oil leak, which has killed thousands of marine mammals and closed the businesses of fishermen and Gulf Coast residents, “of national significance.” Leftwing talking heads James Carville and Chris Matthews were critical of Obama’s approach to assembling a “blue ribbon panel” to solve the unprecedented ecological and economic disaster.
Members of Congress have received millions in campaign donations from British Petroleum, the largest of which went to Barack Obama, which an Obama spokesperson has denied.