BP plc said Wednesday it would appeal after federal officials on Wednesday slapped the producer with two additional charges involving five incidents of noncompliance (INC) related to the April 2010 Macondo well blowout in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM).
The Department of Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) claims that BP failed to conduct an accurate pressure integrity test on the Macondo well and failed to suspend drilling operations in the GOM “when the safe drilling margin identified in the approved application for permit to drill was not maintained.”
BSEE Director James Watson said “further review of the evidence demonstrated additional regulatory violations by BP in its drilling and abandonment operations at the Macondo well.”
Based on the findings by the federal joint investigation team following the tragedy, BSEE in October cited BP for seven violations and issued four citations each to Transocean Ltd., owner of the Deepwater Horizon, and Halliburton Co., the drilling contractor (see Daily GPI, Oct. 14). The BSEE citations are in preparation for civil penalties likely to be imposed by the federal government on the companies.
A BP spokesman said Wednesday the latest “issues raised…regarding drilling margins and related integrity testing played no causal role in the accident. BP intends to appeal these INCs, as well as those issued several weeks ago.” The company was given 60 days to file an appeal.
On Monday BP claimed in a lawsuit that Halliburton had “intentionally destroyed evidence” in the weeks after the Macondo blowout (see Daily GPI, Dec. 7). According to BP, Halliburton allegedly destroyed evidence that demonstrated that the cement formula it used on the Macondo well was flawed.
Halliburton fired back Wednesday and said BP’s allegations mischaracterized the tests conducted following the explosion.
“Rather, the informal testing BP refers to used off-the-shelf materials that yielded results, which Halliburton believes have little or no relevance to the case,” Halliburton stated.
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