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Transocean claims successful pre-accident tests

The chief executive of Swiss-based drilling contractor Transocean claims the blow-out preventers on its offshore rig were successfully tested before it exploded.

This content was published on May 28, 2010 - 18:08

The Deepwater Horizon rig was leased to energy giant BP and exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers and triggering what could become the worst environmental disaster in United States history.

A blow-out preventer is a large valve at the top of a well, and activating it will stop the flow of oil.

“The blow-out preventers on the Deepwater were tested each week to evaluate how they operated and every other week to test their resistance capacities under pressure,” Steven Newman told a telephone conference on Friday.

“The pressure resistance test was carried out and passed successfully on April 10. The blowout preventer was tested on April 17 and it also successfully passed tests,” he confirmed.

BP on Friday reported some progress on Friday in its struggle to shut off its gushing Gulf of Mexico oil well.

BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward said the so-called top kill procedure, in which heavy drilling "mud" is pumped into the seabed well shaft, was having some success in choking off the leak that has already spewed millions of litres of oil into the gulf.

But the success of the operation, never attempted at such depths, was still uncertain and it could be another 48 hours before it would be known whether it was successful, he said.

The British-based energy giant was maintaining its assessment that the “top kill” plugging operation had a 60 to 70 percent chance of success.

swissinfo.ch with agencies

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