Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Ex-BP Executive Testifies at Gulf Oil Spill Trial

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The first phase of a trial over the deadly Deepwater Horizon disaster neared an end Wednesday with testimony by a former BP (NYSE: BP  ) executive who helped supervise the company's Gulf of Mexico drilling operations.

Patrick O'Bryan, BP's vice president of drilling and completions in the Gulf of Mexico at the time of the company's April 2010 well blowout, said he never heard any concerns that the rig crew felt pressure to cut corners to finish a project that was behind schedule and over budget. O'Bryan said everybody who worked on the project cared about safety.

"They took pride in what they did. They wanted to deliver a good well, but they wanted to deliver a safe well," O'Bryan said. He testified on the 29th day of a federal trial designed to identify causes of the blowout and assign fault to the companies involved in the nation's worst offshore oil spill.

O'Bryan was one of BP's last witnesses as the first phase of the trial neared its conclusion, possibly as soon as Wednesday. The trial began Feb. 25 and has included testimony by more than three dozen witnesses for the federal government, a team of private plaintiffs' attorneys, London-based BP, rig owner Transocean (NYSE: RIG  ) , and cement contractor Halliburton.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier is hearing the case without a jury. Barring a settlement, he could decide how much more money the companies owe for their roles in the disaster.

Robert Bea, an expert witness for plaintiffs' attorneys, testified earlier in the trial that the drilling team was under enormous financial pressure to finish the Macondo well project.

O'Bryan acknowledged the project was "costing more than we thought" but said he never heard any concerns that safety was sacrificed to speed up the process.

"It's not uncommon to have cost overruns," said O'Bryan, who left BP in 2011 to take a job at a smaller company.

O'Bryan was visiting the Deepwater Horizon when the blowout triggered an explosion that killed 11 rig workers. He described a harrowing race to evacuate the burning rig after the blast.

O'Bryan was on the bridge when the rig started to violently shake. He saw drilling mud showering a supply boat near the rig and heard a hissing noise before the explosion.

When the lights went out on the bridge, the rig's captain, Curt Kuchta, told O'Bryan to don a life vest.

"It just seemed to me he wasn't sure what to do. He was surprised by the loss of power," O'Bryan said of Kuchta.

Kuchta has invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and wasn't scheduled to testify at the trial.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2368844, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/29/2016 11:41:46 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,277.72 -61.52 -0.34%
S&P 500 2,166.37 -5.00 -0.23%
NASD 5,290.01 -28.54 -0.54%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/29/2016 11:26 AM
BP $35.19 Up +0.35 +1.00%
BP CAPS Rating: ****
RIG $10.77 Up +0.75 +7.47%
Transocean CAPS Rating: ****