Published May 31, 2010
E-mails released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee show BP told regulators they were having trouble maintaining control of the well six weeks before it exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, Bloomberg reported.
"We are in the midst of a well control situation on MC 252 #001 and have stuck pipe," BP executive Scherie Douglas wrote in an e-mail to Frank Patton, the U.S. Minerals Management Service's drilling engineer for the New Orleans district on March 10. "We are bringing out equipment to begin operations to sever the drillpipe, plugback the well and bypass."
The e-mails, released by the committee Sunday, show BP was getting advice from J. Connor Consulting Inc., a Texas-based consulting firm that has dealt with some of the world's largest energy companies on how to deal with oil spills, as early as the second week of March.
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, and Representative Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat and chairman of the panel’s oversight subcommittee, said the documents, "raise questions, but their connection to the blowout, if any, require additional investigation," according to Bloomberg.
The e-mails also show special permission was given to BP by federal regulators to cement the well at a shallower depth than normally required because the hole caved in on drilling equipment.