House panel asks Transocean for data on rig before blowout

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, July 26 -- US House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders sent a letter to Transocean Ltd. on July 23 seeking more information on safety practices aboard the Deepwater Horizon and the semisubmersible rig’s condition before it caught fire and exploded following the Macondo well’s blowout on Apr. 20.

The request came in response to questions raised by the committee’s investigation of the accident that killed 11 workers, recent media accounts, and statements made by a surviving crew member, chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Bart Stupak (D-Calif.) said in their letter to Transocean Ltd. Chief Executive Steven L. Newman.

They cited a New York Times July 22 report of a survey that found rig workers feared reprisals for expressing safety concerns and documentation on the poor condition of numerous pieces of equipment, and statements at a July 23 Marine Board of Investigation hearing in Kenner, La., by Michael Williams, chief electronics technician for the offshore drilling contractor, that alarm systems on the rig had been placed in an “inhibited” mode to prevent false alarms.

Williams sued Transocean; BP PLC, the well’s primary owner and operator; and Halliburton Energy Services Inc., which provided cementing services, for negligence on Apr. 29 in US District Court for eastern Louisiana. He testified at the July 23 hearing that supervisors on the rig told him “they didn’t want people woken up at 3 a.m. to false alarms” after he discovered that the system had been turned off, Bloomberg News reported. A computer system would have still detected high levels of gas or a fire, the story added.

The story also quoted an e-mailed response from Transocean that the Deepwater Horizon’s alarms were in good condition and were not bypassed. The general alarm system on the rig was “intentional and conforms to accepted maritime practices,” it indicated.

Waxman and Stupak asked Newman to provide the committee by July 30 all documents relating to safety on the rig, including any survey of workers’ attitudes and any safety concerns expressed by any contracting party, rig worker, third-party contractor, or inspector; and all documents related to the rig’s equipment maintenance, functionality, repair, or replacement.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

Chesapeake’s $4-4.5 billion capex down 37% vs. last year

02/25/2015

Chesapeake Energy Corp., Oklahoma City, is budgeting total capital expenditures, including capitalized interest, of $4-4.5 billion for 2015.

New regulator lists UKCS ‘priority actions’

02/25/2015 The UK’s Oil and Gas Authority, responding to calls from industry and the government for prompt support of UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) exploration ...

Grizzly files OSCA application with AER for Thickwood

02/25/2015

Grizzly Oil Sands ULC, Calgary, has filed an Oil Sands Conservation Act application with Alberta Energy Regulator for the Thickwood project.

BLM moving toward strategy for Greater Sage Grouse, Jewell says

02/25/2015 Calling it a remarkable example of federal, state, and local cooperation, US Sec. of the Interior Sally Jewell said the US Bureau of Land Managemen...

Encana trims additional $700 million from 2015 capital budget

02/25/2015 Encana Corp. is reducing its previously reported capital investment for 2015 by $700 million to $2-2.2 billion “to maintain a solid balance sheet a...

Hickenlooper’s siting task force calls for more local consultation

02/25/2015 Colorado Gov. John W. Hickenlooper’s (D) oil and gas siting taskforce called for more consultation and greater involvement with local communities o...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil prices holding above $49/bbl

02/25/2015 US light, sweet crude oil prices for April delivery settled slightly above $49/bbl on the New York market Feb. 24 while market participants awaited...

Santos-Inpex JV gains permits in Browse basin

02/25/2015 A joint venture of Santos Ltd. and Inpex Corp. has been awarded two exploration permits in the Browse basin offshore Western Australia, about 500 k...

Obama vetoes bill approving Keystone XL crude oil pipeline

02/25/2015 US President Barack Obama vetoed S. 1, authorizing construction of the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline, saying that Congress had attempted ...
White Papers

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...

Accurate Thermo-Fluid Simulation in Real Time Environments

The crux of any task undertaken in System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis is striking a balance between ti...

6 ways for Energy, Chemical and Oil and Gas Companies to Avert the Impending Workforce Crisis

As many as half of the skilled workers in energy, chemical and oil & gas industries are quickly he...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts


Prevention, Detection and Mitigation of pipeline leaks in the modern world

When Thu, Apr 30, 2015

Preventing, detecting and mitigating leaks or commodity releases from pipelines are a top priority for all pipeline companies. This presentation will look at various aspects related to preventing, detecting and mitigating pipeline commodity releases from a generic and conceptual point of view, while at the same time look at the variety of offerings available from Schneider Electric to meet some of the requirements associated with pipeline integrity management. 

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Global LNG: Adjusting to New Realities

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s March 20, 2015, webcast will look at how global LNG trade will be affected over the next 12-24 months by falling crude oil prices and changing patterns and pressures of demand. Will US LNG production play a role in balancing markets? Or will it add to a growing global oversupply of LNG for markets remote from easier natural gas supply? Will new buyers with marginal credit, smaller requirements, or great need for flexibility begin to look attractive to suppliers? How will high-cost, mega-projects in Australia respond to new construction cost trends?

register:WEBCAST


US Midstream at a Crossroads

Fri, Mar 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Mar. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on US midstream companies at an inflection point in their development in response to more than 6 years shale oil and gas production growth. Major infrastructure—gas plants, gathering systems, and takeaway pipelines—have been built. Major fractionation hubs have expanded. Given the radically changed pricing environment since mid-2014, where do processors go from here? What is the fate of large projects caught in mid-development? How to producers and processors cooperate to ensure a sustainable and profitable future? This event will serve to set the discussion table for the annual GPA Convention in San Antonio, Apr. 13-16, 2015.

This event is sponsored by Leidos Engineering.

register:WEBCAST


The Future of US Refining

Fri, Feb 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Feb. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on the future of US refining as various forces this year conspire to pull the industry in different directions. Lower oil prices generally reduce feedstock costs, but they have also lowered refiners’ returns, as 2015 begins with refined products priced at lows not seen in years. If lower per-barrel crude prices dampen production of lighter crudes among shale plays, what will happen to refiners’ plans to export more barrels of lighter crudes? And as always, refiners will be affected by government regulations, particularly those that suppress demand, increase costs, or limit access to markets or supply.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected