...While the cause of the explosion is still under investigation, the sequence of events described in the interviews provides the most detailed account of the April 20 blast that killed 11 workers and touched off the underwater gusher that has poured more than 3 million gallons of crude into the Gulf.
...A group of BP executives were on board the Deepwater Horizon rig celebrating the project's safety record, according to the transcripts. Meanwhile, far below, the rig was being converted from an exploration well to a production well.
Based on the interviews, Bea believes that the workers set and then tested a cement seal at the bottom of the well. Then they reduced the pressure in the drill column and attempted to set a second seal below the sea floor. A chemical reaction caused by the setting cement created heat and a gas bubble which destroyed the seal.
..."That's where the first explosion happened," said Bea, who worked for Shell Oil in the 1960s during the last big northern Gulf of Mexico oil well blowout. "The mud room was next to the quarters where the party was. Then there was a series of explosions that subsequently ignited the oil that was coming from below."
According to one interview transcript, a gas cloud covered the rig, causing giant engines on the drill floor to run too fast and explode. The engines blew off the rig and set "everything on fire," the account said. Another explosion below blew more equipment overboard.
...The BP executives were injured but survived, according to one account. Nine rig crew on the rig floor and two engineers died.
"The furniture and walls trapped some and broke some bones but they managed to get in the life boats with assistance from others," said the transcript...
Meanwhile, there's another angle:
The oil well explosion in the Gulf of Mexico could be a well-timed and profitable accident for Halliburton, the global oil company with the famous connection to former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. Just eight days before the uber-Valdez accident, Houston-based Halliburton acquired Boots & Coots Services, also based in Houston, in a $240 million cash and stock deal.
Boots & Coots, which uses the graphic of a burning oil well to represent the ampersand in its name, specializes in "pressure control and well intervention services." In other words, when an oil well explodes, Boots & Coots can step in and help remedy the problem. In a release, Jerry Winchester, Boots & Coots president and CEO, says "Combining the resources of both companies creates the premier intervention company across the globe.”
While Halliburton's timing of the acquisition could be chalked up to luck, some members of Congress are asking questions. Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), have asked Halliburton provide all documents relating to "the possibility or risk of an explosion or blowout" at the rig in the Gulf, according to a report in the LA Times...
Ah, Stupak leading the investigation. Now there's a good way to en$ure justice will be $erved. Now who would seriously think an ill wind blows no good?
Where was Big Time Dick himself when these developments were occurring? Why, talking to the Very Important People, of course.
Nothing to see here. Move along, move along.