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Halliburton Says: Blast Wasn’t Our Fault

From the Wall Street Journal:

Two Oil Firms Link Rig Blast to ‘Plug’

By RUSSELL GOLD, STEPHEN POWER And VANESSA O’CONNELL

MAY 11, 2010

Executives from BP PLC, Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton Co. began pointing fingers on Monday over who bears ultimate responsibility for the April 20 oil-rig explosion that took 11 lives and is spilling oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The question will loom large at a Senate hearing Tuesday that will hear from executives of the three companies.

BP, the well owner, blames the failure of a big set of valves on the sea floor, known as the blowout preventer, to halt the blowout once it started.

A different account comes from Halliburton, a contractor in the drilling. This account is corroborated to some extent by Transocean, as well as by two workers on the drilling rig, The Wall Street Journal has determined.

This account describes a failure to place a cement plug within the well. The plug is designed to prevent gas from escaping up the pipe to the surface.

Before such a plug is placed, the job of keeping underground gas from coming up the pipe is done by heavy drilling fluid inside the well, commonly known as "mud." The plug is normally put in before the mud is removed, but according to the account of Halliburton, Transocean and the two workers, in this case, that wasn’t done—drilling mud was removed before a final cement plug was placed in the well

Tim Probert, Halliburton’s president of global business lines, plans to testify Tuesday that his company had finished an earlier step, cementing the casing, filling in the area between the pipe and the walls of the well; pressure tests showed the casing had been properly constructed, he will testify…

At this point it is common practice to pour wet cement down into the pipe. The wet cement, which is heavier than the drilling mud, sinks down through the drilling mud and then hardens into a plug thousands of feet down in the well. The mud then is removed and displaced by seawater; the hardened cement plug holds back any underground gas.

In this case, a decision was made, shortly before the explosion, to perform the remaining tasks in reverse order, according to the expected Senate testimony of Mr. Probert, the Halliburton executive

A worker who was on the drilling rig said in an interview that Halliburton was getting ready to set a final cement plug at 8,000 feet below the rig when workers received other instructions. "Usually we set the cement plug at that point and let it set for six hours, then displace the well," said the worker, meaning take out the mud.

According to this worker, BP asked permission from the federal Minerals Management Service to displace the mud before the final plugging operation had begun. The mud in the well weighed 14.3 pounds per gallon; it was displaced by seawater that weighed nearly 50% less. Like BP, the MMS declined to comment on this account.

Would that be a federal government ‘oversight’ service?

As the heavy mud was taken out and replaced with much lighter seawater, "that’s when the well came at us, basically," said the worker, who was involved in the cementing process.

The worker’s account is corroborated by an email account sent by another person on the rig. He said that engineers wanted to flood the well with sea water before setting the final plug. As they were taking out the mud, the blowout began with a flood of drilling fluid being pushed out of the well, followed by a series of explosions.

Halliburton’s Mr. Probert’s prepared statement says: "Prior to the point in the well construction plan that the Halliburton personnel would have set the final cement plug, the catastrophic incident occurred. As a result, the final cement plug was never set."

Halliburton says it was following Transocean’s orders and is "contractually bound to comply with the well owner’s instructions on all matters relating to the performance of all work‐related activities."

Transocean Chief Executive Steven Newman is expected to tell the Senate the explosion occurred "after the well construction process was essentially finished." His prepared testimony then blames the blowout on a failure of the well’s lining, saying the blowout had to be caused by "a sudden, catastrophic failure of the cement, the casing or both."

It doesn’t matter what the facts are.

Halliburton will ultimately take the blame.

They were made for it, thanks to the establishment media’s unrelenting propaganda campaign over the last ten years.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, May 11th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Halliburton Says: Blast Wasn’t Our Fault”

  1. AcornsRNutz says:

    OF course they are to blame. And they even turned on the Halliburton Hurricane Machine to thwart the initial (late and ineffective) cleanup measures. If they can blow up a few dams in NOLA, its not a big stretch to blow up an oil rig.

  2. NoNeoCommies says:

    Why should the “evil greedy” corporations be any different from our wonderful (Evil Greedy) elected representatives when it comes to an opportunity to point their crooked little fingers at someone else when the blame game is being played.


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