September 4, 2010
Feds take custody of Deepwater Horizon BOP
The failed blow out preventer from the Deepwater Horizon well site was being raised slowly to the surface Saturday. Under an instruction issued BP Chief Managing Director Bob Dudley by National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen , the failed BOP is already officially in the custody of federal investigators.
In an August 27 letter to Mr. Dudley, Admiral Allen wrote:
The Joint Investigation Team and the Department of Justice Criminal Investigation Evidence Recovery Team shall be allowed unfettered access to observe and record the entire removal and recovery process for detachment of the BOP stack or capping stack. The Team members will take custody of all equipment removed from or associated with the BOP stack or capping stack from the time it is removed from the well head and will maintain that custody throughout the lifting process.
The BOP is seen as vital evidence in determining the causes of the Deepwater Horizon and in assigning liability.
Removal of the failed BOP followed the successful installation Friday of a replacement unit
"Under the direction of the federal science team and U.S. government engineers, BP used the Development Driller II to successfully install a fully functioning and tested Blow Out Preventer (BOP) on the cemented Macondo 252 well," Admiral Allen reported. "Earlier today, BP lifted the damaged BOP, which will now be lifted to the surface and recovered. During the period of time between the removal of the damaged BOP and installation of the replacement BOP, there was no observable release of hydrocarbons from the well head. This procedure was undertaken in accordance with specific conditions I set forth last week in a directive authorizing this procedure. This is an important milestone as we move toward completing the relief well and permanently killing the Macondo 252 well."