BP Officials Under Fire In Court
British Petroleum (BP) officials came under fire during the second phase of trials regarding the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The first phase, which ended in April 2013, focused on the mistakes and failures that caused the blowout; the second phase, which is divided into two segments, focuses on the efforts to cap the well and determine the amount of oil that spilled into the gulf. Capping Strategy Proposed Early The capping strategy that eventually stopped the spill was discussed early on in the process, according to the testimony of an employee of Transocean, which owned the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. Robert Turlak, the manager of subsea engineering and well control systems, said he was shocked when the capping strategy devised by his team was scrapped with no explanation. According to Turlak, his team devised a strategy that he called “the obvious solution,” that lowered a second blowout preventer on top of the one that failed—an option that was available for installation in early June. A similar solution finally stopped the spill in mid-July. Top Kill Method Unsuccessful During the early days of the spill, BP attempted to use what was known as a “top kill” method, which involved pumping drilling mud and other material into the rig to stop the flow of oil. According to testimony, BP did not share information with federal officials that the oil was flowing at a higher rate than they originally anticipated, and that officials with the company knew that the top kill method would not work. Testimony from Richard Vargo, a manager with Halliburton who assisted on the attempts at the top kill method, indicated that those working on the project were not told that BP officials didn’t believe the procedure would work. No Plan in Place An engineering professor from the University of California-Berkeley testified that BP’s oil-spill response plan was inadequate, and that the company had not funded any technology for controlling a deep-water blowout such as the one that occurred on the Deepwater Horizon. Professor Robert Bea called the response plan a “think about it when it happens” plan. Eleven workers died in the explosion that was triggered by the blowout on the Deepwater Horizon, and the government estimates that 70 million more gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico than BP is claiming. When a company’s negligence is suspected as the cause or a contributing factor in an accident that causes injury or death, a liability claim may be in order. Contact Dallas-Fort Worth lawyers at Frenkel & Frenkel to schedule a free initial consultation regarding an accident where injuries may have been caused or worsened by a company’s misconduct.