The U.S. government will formally examine potential failure points of blowout preventers following a four-month-long forensic examination by a Norwegian firm into the failed device on BP's Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in an April 5 conference call.
Following the well's April 2010 blowout, its blowout preventer (BOP) failed to stop the flow of oil and gas. The report, by Oslo-based Det Norske Veritas (DNV), concluded that blind shear rams, designed to cut the drilling pipe and seal off the well, failed to completely cut the pipe. The report said the pipe had become elastic and was off-center when the shear was activated. Issued last month, the study recommended further studies of BOP design changes and modifications. These studies might investigate the effects of oil and gas flow on BOP components and whether shear rams can properly cut a pipe that is not centered.