NEW ORLEANS — A former Halliburton lab manager testified Tuesday that a company official asked him not to record results of a cement stability test related to the well in the 2010 Gulf oil spill disaster.
Timothy Quirk said during a civil trial over the disaster in federal court in New Orleans that while the request was “a little unusual,” he complied.
The test was conducted shortly after the spill, using ingredients similar to those used to seal the undersea well that blew out. Quirk said he told the results to the company official that asked for the test, then he threw away his notes.
“He did not want them reported,” Quirk testified, referring to his former colleague. Quirk now works for Chevron, according to Halliburton.
The testimony comes a week after a Halliburton lawyer, Don Godwin, acknowledged that officials recently discovered cement samples possibly tied to the ill-fated drilling project that weren’t turned over to the Justice Department after the oil spill.
Plaintiffs attorneys are seeking to show there was a cover-up over the cement samples in an effort to deflect attention away from Halliburton. In response, Halliburton has asserted that the samples recently found have no bearing on the ongoing trial to assign responsibility for the nation’s worst offshore oil spill.
Previous tests that were used as part of various government investigations of the disaster were done using ingredients similar to what was used in BP’s well, but not with the actual samples since they were not available. The investigations have said the cement was not stable and allowed gas to flow into the well and cause an explosion on the Transocean-owned Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that killed 11 workers.
Earlier Tuesday, Transocean’s chief executive, Steven L. Newman, testified that the Swiss drilling contractor knew it had a high-potential safety problem across its company months before the oil spill because it had suffered four rig deaths in a span of just 92 days.
Newman said he sent a memo to staff in fall 2009 that said he was concerned about the increasing number of major incidents. He testified that Transocean needed to work quickly and decisively on fixing the problem and “stopping the fatalities.”
“I knew as a result of the incidents we were experiencing that we needed to do something,” Newman said under cross-examination by plaintiffs attorney Robert Cunningham.
Seven months later, the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded off Louisiana.
Transocean’s safety culture was as much on trial as the company itself, and Newman was questioned extensively about safety lapses that preceded the April 20, 2010 Gulf disaster.
In the 2009 incidents, three workers were killed in crane mishaps, while the fourth fell down an elevator shaft during a rig induction tour. None of the incidents involved well control issues, Newman said.
The Transocean chief said the company recommitted to safety after the episodes, driving home the mantra, “Think, start and timeout for safety.”
more here: http://fuelfix.com/blog/2013/03/19/transocean-ceo-takes-witness-stand-in-gulf-oil-spill-trial/