Issue Date: March 28, 2011
Oil Spill Blamed On Damaged Pipe
The basic cause of the blowout preventer failure at the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig last year was a bent portion of drilling pipe that kept the cutoff devices, called blind shear rams, from closing completely. This is the primary conclusion of the forensic investigation of the blowout preventer performed for the U.S. government by the Norwegian company Det Norske Veritas. The investigation determined that the piece of pipe was damaged very early in the accident and that the blowout preventer’s hydraulic circuits that operate the closing mechanisms were working. Det Norske Veritas made a number of recommendations for additional study, including suggesting that oil companies need to reexamine the ability of the shear rams to completely shut off oil flow regardless of the position of pipe in the wellbore. The report was released on March 22 by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation & Enforcement and the U.S. Coast Guard, which are leading the investigation of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.
- Chemical & Engineering News
- ISSN 0009-2347
- Copyright © American Chemical Society