U.S. authorities have ordered that defective components on subsea equipment on several oil rigs currently operating in the Gulf of Mexico be inspected, because of possibly dangerous consequences.
At least 24 oil rigs are believed to be equipped with the faulty component, a bolt which connects blowout preventers manufactured by a General Electric Oil and Gas subsidiary to other subsea equipment. The feds are recommending that these bolts be inspected and replaced.
According to the federal alert, the bolts that connect the equipment to the other subsea equipment can possibly crack under certain conditions. This detect is due to incorrect manufacturing techniques. The equipment is designed to shut the well during an emergency. As many as one third of the oil rigs that are currently the Gulf of Mexico are believed to have equipment that contains these defective bolts.
Obviously, any kind of defect in this equipment is likely to have devastating consequences. In fact, the feds believe that the faulty bolts were responsible for a drilling mud spill that occurred on a drill ship recently. The existence of the faulty boards came to light in December 2012, when the drill ship was drilling a well just off the Louisiana coast. The ship was owned by Transocean, and was leased by Chevron Corporation.
According to reports, the bolt that connected the pipe which ran from the drilling rig to other subsea equipment including the top of the blowout preventer, cracked. This resulted in 440 barrels of drilling mud escaping. Fortunately, there was no oil leak.
Concern about defects that could impact the integrity of an offshore rig have increased since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion that killed 11 workers in 2010.
The Houston offshore injury lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent offshore workers injured in accidents in the Gulf of Mexico and across the globe.