WASHINGTON, DC, May 25, 2010 -- Today Chairmen Henry A. Waxman and Bart Stupak sent a memo to Committee members summarizing the information presented by BP to Committee staff on the progress of its internal investigation of the causes of the blowout and oil spill.
The information from BP identifies several new warning signs of problems. According to BP there were three flow indicators from the well before the explosion. One was 51 minutes before the explosion when more fluid began flowing out of the well than was being pumped in. Another flow indicator was 41 minutes before the explosion when the pump was shut down for a "sheen" test, yet the well continued to flow instead of stopping and drill pipe pressure also unexpectedly increased. Then, 18 minutes before the explosion, abnormal pressures and mud returns were observed and the pump was abruptly shut down. The data suggests that the crew may have attempted mechanical interventions at that point to control the pressure, but soon after, the flow out and pressure increased dramatically and the explosion took place. Further, BP's preliminary findings indicate that there were other events in the 24 hours before the explosion that require further inquiry.