Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wash Po-Gulf Oil Explosion Response Hurt By Lack of Gear

Louisiana shrimper Chuck Frielich: Julie Dermansky/Washington Post
(Story reported by Joel Achenbach for the Washington Post)

HOUSTON - A lack of proper technical gear and the inability to receive large e-mails from shore hampered the effort to shut the flow from the Macondo well in the desperate hours after the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon, according to testimony Tuesday morning before a federal panel investigating the disaster

Daun Winslow, a top Transocean manager who happened to be making a "management visibility" visit to the rig April 20, added riveting details to the narrative of the disaster.

On that day, he went from being a VIP guest to being survivor of a catastrophic explosion and then to being the person in charge of the emergency effort to fight the fire and somehow shut down the blown-out well. 

His relatively high rank at Transocean - two layers of management above the senior person stationed full time on the rig - has made him a star witness for the joint investigation by the Coast Guard and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.

The fact-finding inquiry has become a contentious legal battle involving attorneys for BP, Transocean, Halliburton, other companies and lawsuit plaintiffs. Much of the Tuesday afternoon session, for example, was taken up by a BP attorney grilling a Halliburton employee, Jesse Gagliano, about the design of the cement job on the well and Gagliano's recommendation that BP use 21 centralizers to keep the casing centered before cement was pumped. BP used only six centralizers. 

(Click here to read the full story on the Washington Post website)

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