Pipe Caused Blowout Preventer Failure
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal probe has found that a trapped piece of drill pipe prevented a blowout preventer from properly sealing to stop last year's massive Gulf oil spill.
A report released Wednesday identified the primary cause of the blowout preventer's failure as the blind shear rams failing to close completely and seal the well due to a portion of drill pipe becoming trapped.
Shear rams are components in a blowout preventer that cut, or shear, through drill pipe and form a seal against well pressure.
Blowout preventers sit at the wellhead of exploratory wells and are supposed to lock in place to prevent a spill in case of an explosion.
The 300-ton device that was used with BP's Macondo well was raised from the seafloor Sept 4. Testing began at a NASA facility in New Orleans in November.