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Deepwater Horizon Team Sets Forensic Hearings

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The federal team investigating last year’s Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 men in the Gulf of Mexico will conduct a week of hearings on April 4-8 in Metairie, La., to focus specifically on a forensic examination of the failed blowout preventer on the well.

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Conducted by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement as well as the U.S. Coast Guard Joint Investigation Team, the hearings follow the March 20 release of a report by Norwegian risk-management specialist Det Norske Veritas on the blowout preventer. DNV tested, examined and investigated the failure of the 50-ft, 300-ton BOP in Michoud, La.

That report concluded the BOP sheared a piece of pipe that buckled, which then became trapped and prevented the blind shear rams from closing completely. The pipe buckled because of pressure from the well below. Oil and gas from the well continued to flow through this pipe and the gaps between the blocks, according to Det Norske Veritas.

After the report, BP won approval from a Louisiana judge to conduct further testing on the BOP. The BOEMRE-Coast Guard report is scheduled for release by July 27.


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