Oil rig worker reported leak weeks before BP spill

A view from a helicopter while landing on Discover Enterprise drill ship during recovery operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: A worker on the oil rig that blew up in the Gulf of Mexico says he spotted a leak in the safety equipment weeks before the explosion and he reported the problem to higher-ups. From London, Marketplace's Stephen Beard reports.


Stephen Beard: Tyrone Benton told the BBC that several weeks before the disaster, he'd found a fault on a vital piece of safety equipment. Benton noticed a leak in one of the two control pods on the so-called blowout preventer. This device is supposed to seal the well in an emergency. As we now know, in this case, it failed.

Benton says he informed the rig operators of the problem, but they did not shut down production:

Tyrone Benton: We saw a leak on the pod. We informed the company. They have a control room where they could turn off that pod and turn on the other one so they don't have to stop production. They just shut it down and worked off another pod.

Benton says closing down the whole rig would have cost a lot money. BP denies any blame for this. It says the rig owner, the company Transocean, was responsible for the operation and maintenence of the blowout preventer.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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