Pipe blocked 'fail-safe' device in Gulf oil spill
Published 24/03/2011 | 05:00
A TRAPPED piece of drill pipe prevented a fail-safe device from stopping last year's massive BP Gulf oil spill, a US government investigation has found.
Its report said the device, known as a blow-out preventer, failed to work properly because the piece of drill pipe kept its blind shear rams from sealing the well around the time of the April 20 oil rig explosion off the coast of Louisiana. Shear rams cut through drill pipe and form a seal against well pressure.
The firm hired to test the blow-out preventer said the way the drill pipe was positioned had caused it to buckle when the well lost control, impeding the rams.