Gulf spill caused by jammed pipe

2011-03-23 22:11

New Orleans - A federal probe has found that a trapped piece of drill pipe prevented a blowout preventer from properly sealing to stop last year's massive Gulf oil spill.

A report released on Wednesday identified the primary cause of the blow out preventer's failure as the blind shear rams failing to close completely and seal the well due to a portion of drill pipe becoming trapped.

Shear rams are components in a blow out preventer that cut, or shear, through drill pipe and form a seal against well pressure.

Blow out preventers sit at the well head of exploratory wells and are supposed to lock in place to prevent a spill in case of an explosion.

The 300-ton device that was used with BP's Macondo well was raised from the sea floor on Sept 4. Testing began at a Nasa facility in New Orleans in November.

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