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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Blowout prevention:
How regular are inspections done?

Word from the Washington Post this morning that a key piece of equipment, the blowout preventer, had several flaws that possibly caused the major oil leak, the loss of life aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig off the coast of Louisiana.

The blowout preventer problems that were found include a dead battery, key hydraulic leaks and a cutting tool that was not strong enough to cut through some important joints in the piping system used.

Yes. several problems indeed, which brings us to our own offshore inspection mechanism. Is there a regularly scheduled program of inspections being done on the blowout preventers used in our own offshore and who does those same inspections?

If there is data received on the state of the status of blowout preventers used offshore here, then where is that data kept? The data on the blowout preventer that was used on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico was lost when the rig sank after an explosion aboard that killed eleven workers.

Captain Mark Turner is going to have his hands full with oil spill response questions that are probably outside the scope of oilspill rsponse. I don't think that one man can do this job, let alone examine the questions that need to be asked about "preventative measures" on deep ocean and offshore drilling.

More importantly, when it comes to offshore drilling, it seems to be a case of one government departments failure to communicate with another. The story goes on to say that the Minerals Management Service, a federal department, knew as early as 2004 that some blowout preventers didn't have enough power to cut through key joints in piping systems. What does the federal or provincial government or the Canada Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board here know about such testing, if any? Do his terms of reference cover looking at governments role in offshore safety and exploration?

Yes, a whole lot of questions and a lot of answers needed before we can say there's an added degree of safety to drilling on our own offshore.

Without any answers right now, we're more of a disaster waiting to happen...

I'll be in touch!


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