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BP Probe Faults Employees on Gulf Blowout: Report

BP said Monday that it won't comment on a report that the company's own investigation has faulted employees for failing to spot danger signs before the disastrous blowout of a well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Fire boats battle a fire at the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon April 21, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana.
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Fire boats battle a fire at the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon April 21, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana.

Bloomberg News, citing an unidentified source, reported that BP's investigation determined that some of its employees misread pressure data from the Macondo well hours before it blew out on April 20.

"We have not seen it ourselves," BP spokesman Mark Salt said of the internal report. "I am not going to comment on speculation."

Mark Bly, BP's director of safety, heads a team which is preparing the report. It's expected to be released in coming weeks.

BP said on May 24 that the pressure tests conducted by the drilling team as it worked to seal the well were among the issues under investigation.

Bloomberg quoted its source as saying the report concluded that BP managers aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig concluded that the pressure test confirmed that the well was in good shape.

John Guide, BP's wells team leader, told U.S. investigators on July 22 that employees of Transocean , the rig owner contracted by BP, were also reviewing the data in the hours before the blowout.

Guide quoted a BP colleague as saying the Transocean employees had noted the anomalous test results but said they had seen similar results in the past which did not indicate a problem.

An expert witness who testified to the same U.S. Coast Guard-Department of the Interior panel on July 23 said the tests had not been satisfactory.

"None of the four tests were an acceptable test," said John R. Smith, an oil industry veteran who is now associate professor of petroleum engineering at Louisiana State University.

Asked whether the tests were completed in an acceptable manner, Smith said, "No."

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