Former drilling rig manager sentenced in false safety data case
A federal judge in New Orleans sentenced a former drilling rig manager for Tulsa’s Helmerich & Payne to two years of probation for lying to a federal agent about testing data for a blowout preventer on an H&P rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
A former drilling rig manager for Helmerich & Payne Inc. was sentenced Wednesday by a Louisiana federal judge for his role in falsifying testing data on rig safety equipment in the Gulf of Mexico.
Donald Hudson, 49, of Walnut Grove, Miss., was sentenced to two years of probation and 120 hours of community service by U.S. Judge Stanwood R. Duval Jr. Hudson pleaded guilty in April to a single count of lying to a federal agent.
Hudson worked as a drilling rig manager on one of the Tulsa-based company's Gulf of Mexico rigs from October 2009 to May 2010, according to court filings.
After receiving a tip about possible false testing data on the rig's blowout preventer, federal officials interviewed rig employees. An investigation found a crew supervised by Hudson had deliberately not tested a number of valves on the choke manifold of a blowout preventer because the crew knew the valves would leak.
Federal law requires regular testing of blowout preventer equipment.
“Hudson was aware on some occasions of what his crew was doing and authorized the falsification of the tests on those occasions,” according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, whose office in the Eastern District of Louisiana prosecuted the case.
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