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CURRENT ISSUE

DEEPWATER HORIZON SPILL
How long will the political fall out from the spill delay plans to expand U.S. offshore drilling

Hardly at all
For 1-2 years
For longer than 2 years

May 17, 2010

CBS "60 Minutes" interview with Deepwater Horizon survivor

CBS "60 Minutes" ran a compelling interview Sunday, May 16, with Mike Williams, one of the last crewmembers to escape the Deepwater Horizon. inferno.

Mike Williams was the chief electronics technician in charge of the rig's computers and electrical systems.

Among other things he says that, four weeks before the explosion, the blowout preventer (BOP) was damaged.

A key BOP component is a rubber gasket at the top called an "annular," which can close tightly around the drill pipe.

Williams says, during a test, they closed the gasket. But while it was shut tight, a crewman on deck accidentally nudged a joystick, applying hundreds of thousands of pounds of force, and moving 15 feet of drill pipe through the closed blowout preventer. Later, a man monitoring drilling fluid rising to the top made a troubling find.

"He discovered chunks of rubber in the drilling fluid. He thought it was important enough to gather this double handful of chunks of rubber and bring them into the driller shack. I recall asking the supervisor if this was out of the ordinary. And he says, 'Oh, it's no big deal.' And I thought, 'How can it be not a big deal? There's chunks of our seal is now missing,'" Williams says.

This is just one of several troubling disclosures in the "60 Minutes" interview.

In the second part of the interview, "60 Minutes" asked eminent offshore drilling safety authority Professor Robert Bea, for his take on Mr. Williams' story.

You can see that video HERE


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