Jul 23, 2010 7:21 AM by Sharlee Barriere
KENNER, La. (AP) - A BP PLC well team leader on the Deepwater
Horizion testified Thursday that cost-savings didn't eclipse safety
in operational decisions on the ill-fated oil rig.
"When it comes to safety, never," John Guide told a federal
panel investigating the April 20 explosion of the BP-leased rig off
the Louisiana coast.
Guide said he believed BP properly managed risk. He said well
team leaders, contractors and representatives of rig owner
Transocean Ltd. met regularly to discuss safety.
He testified safety protocols were set by Transocean. Anyone on
the rig had the right to stop work if they detected a safety
problem, he said.
Earlier Thursday, Natalie Roshto, widow of Transocean floor hand
Shane Roshto, who died in the blast, said before her husband
reported for his fateful three-week shift on the rig "he felt like
he was going back to problems."
"From day one, he deemed this the 'well from hell,"' she said.
"He said Mother Nature didn't want us drilling here."
Roshto said the project seemed to have "just a bit more high
pressure" because it was behind schedule.
The Deepwater Horizon was preparing to complete exploration in
the Macondo well a mile deep in the Gulf of Mexico about 40 miles
southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River when it exploded
late on the night of April 20.
The rig sank two days later. Since then, millions of gallons of
oil have poured into the Gulf, fouling marshes and beaches and
shutting much of the coastal fishing industry.
The Coast Guard and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management,
Regulation, and Enforcement will complete the latest in a series of
hearings on Friday. The panel will resume hearings Aug. 23-27 in
Guide, who was not on the Deepwater Horizon the day of the
blast, said a crucial pressure integrity test was discussed on a
morning conference call on April 20, but he provided few details.
He said he last visited the Deepwater Horizon in February. He
said he would walk around the rig and talk with people "to see
what's on their minds."
Guide said a "consensus decision" was made not to perform a
test of the integrity of the well's cement because other indicators
showed that the cement was solid. He also said that despite a Feb.
24 hydraulic leak on the rig's blowout preventer, tests showed
pressure in the safety device were normal.
The leak "was not affecting the functionality of the BOP or the
safety system," said Guide. However, Guide also said that "well
site leaders are not experts on BOPs and neither am I." During the
morning conference call on the day of the explosion, Guide said no
one raised any concerns about the blow-out preventer.
At the end of Thursday's hearing, Coast Guard Capt. Hung Nguyen
said the panel had designated Patrick O'Brien, BP's vice president
of drilling, and Robert Kaluza, one of the top BP managers on the
rig, as "parties in interest," indicating they could be a target
of the panel's investigation.
The hearing resumes Today.