BP was slow to shut off oil well

2010-12-08 21:40

Houston - A BP vice president has told a federal investigative panel that workers on the doomed Gulf of Mexico oil rig were distracted by multiple activities going on simultaneously and didn't try to shut the well until 49 minutes after gas particles began flowing in.

Steve Robinson, who led the team that questioned the wellsite leaders as part of BP's internal probe, said on Wednesday at hearings in Houston that the actions were late. He said that by the time the crew reacted, the hydrocarbons were already in the riser.

He says they couldn't be contained, only diverted.

An explosion occurred just minutes later, killing 11 workers and leading to millions litres of oil spewing from BP's well deep beneath the sea.