Humint Events Online: Sign of a Problem at the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig: Melting Air Conditioner

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Sign of a Problem at the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig: Melting Air Conditioner

Joseph E. Keith, a senior unit manager for Halliburton’s Sperry subsidiary, told the U.S. Coast Guard-Interior Department panel in Houston today that he left his post aboard the Deepwater Horizon for about 10 minutes on the night of the April disaster to drink coffee and smoke half a cigarette.

While he was away from his monitors, pressure data indicated the well was filling up with explosive natural gas and crude, according to charts entered into evidence today by the panel in Houston. Keith said that had he seen the pressure data, he would have “called the rig floor” to warn fellow workers they were in danger.


By the time Keith came back from his break, the readings on the monitors had returned to normal. Keith told the panel he realized something was wrong later when the screens he used to monitor drilling fluid used in the well began to bend and stretch, and an air-conditioning unit in the ceiling melted.

An internal investigation by BP, the majority owner of the well, found that the rig crew failed to notice signals of impending doom as long as 40 minutes prior to the explosions and fire. The report, released in September, didn’t single out individuals.

After escaping from the 6-foot-by-20-foot trailer where he worked, Keith found the body of a dead colleague on the deck. Keith was one of 115 workers who survived the disaster by boarding life boats or jumping overboard.
This is weird and ridiculous. God, I hope they don't try to pin this on this one poor sucker taking a smoke-break.


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