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BP Executive, At Spill Trial, Shares Blame With Contractors
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BP Executive, At Spill Trial, Shares Blame With Contractors

For nearly three years, much of the explanation for why BP's undersea Gulf of Mexico well erupted focused on critical mistakes in the hours before the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. But an expert said in damning testimony Wednesday the well was doomed weeks earlier.

Industry veteran Alan Huffman presented his analysis during the third day of a civil trial over the disaster. That, along with the testimony of a former BP drilling operations official about the pressure on workers to cut costs, tightened the squeeze on the British oil giant.

"I would have been very concerned for everyone on that rig," Huffman said.

Eleven workers on the Transocean-owned Deepwater Horizon rig were killed in an explosion occurring after BP's Macondo well blew out a mile beneath the sea on April 20, 2010, off Louisiana, during an effort to abandon the well temporarily for production later.

BP has said multiple companies were responsible for the disaster. The man who authored its internal investigation report, Mark Bly, took the stand late Wednesday and testified BP had trouble getting information from cement contractor Halliburton that it needed to conduct its probe.

The report issued in September 2010 was a reconstruction of what happened on the rig five months earlier, based on company data and interviews with mostly BP employees. Bly is expected to return to the stand Thursday.

Huffman, a well expert with more than 30 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, said that in the weeks before the blowout BP repeatedly breached a key pressure measure called the safe drilling margin, in some cases drilling with no margin at all.

BP wants a federal appealscourt to reject the energy company's $9.6 billion settlement ofmost economic-damage claims stemming from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, victims appealing the accord alleged in courtpapers.

Lawyers for the victims alleged in a filing today in NewOrleans that London-based BP agreed that the claimsadministrator's interpretation of the settlement "undermined"the legal requirements for class action, or group, settlements.

To contact the reporter on this story:Margaret Cronin Fisk in Detroit atmcfisk@bloomberg.net This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To contact the editor responsible for this story:David E. Rovella atdrovella@bloomberg.net

Source: Written by Media Sources Sunday, 15 September 2013 03:00

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