U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffery Tilghman Williams.
Lawyers for oil giant BP and the state of Alabama told a federal judge today that they intend to file for sanctions against Halliburton for its handling of cement samples in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ordered BP’s cement contractor Halliburton to turn over all remaining samples of the Macondo well cement to investigators in the fall of 2010. But recent testimony in the civil trial over the oil spill revealed that subsequent cement tests were conducted off-the-record, and that some cement samples were thrown away. After a federal magistrate ordered Halliburton last week to issue a report on the allegations, workers discovered what might be additional Macondo cement samples in one of Halliburton’s Louisiana facilities.
BP’s attorneys will file for sanctions in the coming days, and lawyers for the state of Alabama will either support the motion or file its own. If Barbier approves a motion for sanctions, it could limit Halliburton’s defense options before the company calls its first witness.
Transocean Witness Defies Other Experts
Greg Childs, an expert witness for Deepwater Horizon’s owner Transocean, continued testimony about the rig’s blowout preventer today. The blowout preventer’s automatic mode function (AMF) was designed to seal off the gushing well, but failed to do so, leading to an oil leak that lasted nearly three months.
Childs testified that the blowout forced the well pipe to the side, thereby preventing the hydraulic blades in the blowout preventer from making a clean cut.
“The issue is the pipe was forced to the side, held to the side,” Childs said. “That caused the issue, not just the fact it happened to be on the left or the right of the bore.”
If not for the force holding the pipe off-kilter, Childs said the blowout preventer could have centered the pipe and cut it in a single motion.
“The industry knows that if the pipe is just hanging in the bore and not at the center, the V-blades will push the pipe to center,” Childs testified.
Plaintiffs’ experts testified that the blowout preventer failed to activate as designed because Transocean neglected to replace a dead battery and fix a miswired solenoid. But Childs disputed this account, reporting that he found the battery to be sufficiently charged and the miswired solenoid to be unproblematic.
BP attorney Hariklia “Carrie” Karis repeatedly asked Childs to verify that he was the only expert witness, out of all of the experts who submitted reports into evidence, who believed that those two components were functional and unrelated to the failure of the blowout preventer.
“Given that everybody else in the case who looked at this concluded the solenoid did not fire in the yellow pod and the battery in the blue pod did not work, eliminating all of the redundancy, everyone else then concluded that the AMF did not function as you opine it did, correct?” Karis asked.
“The others said differently than I say,” Childs testified.
BP Cleans Up … its Wikipedia Page
Tech news site CNET reported today that BP has an inside man at Wikipedia who is making sure the online encyclopedia contains favorable content about the company’s environmental record. BP is bypassing Wikipedia’s policy prohibiting companies from editing their own entries by providing company-approved content to agreeable editors, who then copy and paste it into BP’s entry. Some Wikipedia editors say BP has rewritten 44 percent of its page this way.
After CNET’s story published, BP released a statement in response:
“BP operates within Wikipedia’s guidelines for how company representatives should interact with the site’s editors. For nearly a year now, we have been fully transparent, never directly editing any copy and always disclosing that any suggestions we offer to Wikipedia’s editors have come from a BP representative. We have also acted objectively, often proposing language that contains negative information about the company. Our participation in the editorial process undoubtedly has resulted in greater accuracy, which after all should be the primary concern of everyone who relies on this resource for information.”
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Tagged as: BP, Deepwater Horizon, Halliburton, Transocean, wikipedia