| NEW ORLEANS
NEW ORLEANS Feb 28 BP Plc's
investigation of its 2010 Gulf of Mexico well rupture and oil
spill did not address cost overruns, the executive who ran the
probe testified on Thursday.
Plaintiffs argue that concerns over expenditure led crew
members to rush the wrapup of the drilling.
"I don't recall it being part of our discussions," Mark Bly,
BP's global head of safety and operational risk, said when asked
about cost overruns at the Macondo well.
On the third day of testimony in the federal civil trial
centered on the disaster, plaintiffs lawyer Paul Sterbcow noted
the Macondo operation was $60 million over budget and more than
a month past schedule at a cost of $1 million per day.
But Bly, who led BP's internal probe of the disaster in a
report bearing his name, said he and the then-chief executive,
Tony Hayward, set the scope of the probe three days after the
explosion in April 2010, and did not include budgetary issues.
The plaintiffs in the case have argued BP put profits above
safety, while noted forensic engineer Bob Bea, co-founder of the
Center for Catastrophic Risk Management at the University of
California, Berkeley, testified this week that there was "ample
evidence of intense pressure" from BP to save time and money.
Bly, who said he plans to retire in about two months, was
promoted to serve on the London-based oil company's executive
management committee shortly after CEO Bob Dudley took the helm
in October 2010.
He went through his report's conclusions in the case, in
which the U.S. Justice Department, Gulf Coast states and
plaintiffs are suing well operator BP, rig owner Transocean Ltd
, well cement provider Halliburton Co and others.
BP's report spread the blame for mistakes that led to the
well rupture and explosion, which killed 11 men and let more
than 4 million barrels of crude oil foul the Gulf.
But the report laid most of the blame on Transocean, setting
the tone for finger-pointing among the companies.
Allocation of blame is one of two focuses in this first
phase of the non-jury trial before U.S. District Judge Carl
Barbier, which will run for months if it does not settle first.
The other focus is severity of negligence among the companies.
Bly said BP and Transocean crews missed critical signs of
well pressure changes that signaled the well was not under
control until it was too late to stop the blowout. If pressure
in the oil reservoir deep under the seabed is higher than that
in the well, oil and gas will flow upward.
Bly said BP's well site leader and Transocean crews
misinterpreted a pressure test that showed that change, as well
as later pressure changes, losing key reaction time.
"That risk was neither recognized or addressed until it was
too late?" Sterbcow asked.
"There were signs that the well was flowing," Bly said. "It
didn't seem to be recognized or reacted to."
The case is In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater
Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, No.
10-md-02179, in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of