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Monday, May 10, 2010
US rig get gas cloud..deadly blast!! woo
By Chris Baltimore
HOUSTON, May 9 (Reuters) - A natural gas cloud enveloped a Gulf of Mexico offshore oil rig leased by BP Plc and exploded at the very same time that visiting BP officials were celebrating seven accident-free years in the rig's crew quarters, according to accounts by survivors of the accident.
Robert Bea, a University of California Berkeley engineering professor, said on Saturday he obtained transcripts of interviews from three rig workers familiar with the explosion, including two who were in the rig's crew quarters at the time.
The interviews were done as part of BP's internal investigation of the accident but had not been made public.
Swiss-based Transocean Ltd's Deepwater Horizon rig, under contract with BP, exploded and caught fire on April 20 while it was putting the finishing touches on a well about a mile (1.6 km) beneath the ocean surface. It sank two days later.
The accident has triggered a huge oil spill that is threatening an environmental and economic disaster along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
As rig workers and engineers on the deck of the rig were finishing a delicate operation to cement the metal well casing in place, something went horribly wrong.
According to the transcripts, a giant bubble of methane gas rushed up the drill pipe and enveloped the deck of the drilling platform in a cloud of highly flammable gas, followed by a scalding flood of crude oil that spilled onto the drill deck and ignited.
Nine workers on the drill deck were killed, along with two others working in the nearby mud storage room, Bea said.
"Gas and oil rushed up the riser. There was little wind and a gas cloud got all over the rig," according to a transcript from a rig worker recited by Bea in a telephone interview.