Transocean CEO: Rig workers should have done more

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 19, 2013 at 7:31 pm •  Published: March 19, 2013
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The deaths, coupled with a number of "high-potential incidents," prompted Newman to order an independent review of the company's safety management system.

"I think sometimes the difference between a high-potential incident and an actual injury is nothing more than luck," Newman said, citing an example of rig equipment that falls harmlessly to the deck instead of hitting somebody.

"Are you telling us that control of high-potential incidents such as what occurred on the Deepwater Horizon is a matter of luck?" Cunningham asked. "Is that Transocean's safety philosophy?"

"Absolutely not," Newman responded. "Our objective is to prevent all incidents."

Newman closed out his testimony by saying he thinks every day about the 11 men who died.

"Why?" Brian asked him.

After a long pause, Newman cleared his throat and answered, "Because I ask myself if there isn't something more I could have done."

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier is hearing testimony without a jury. Barring a settlement, he could decide how much more money BP and its contractors should pay for their roles in the catastrophe.

Barbier also heard testimony Tuesday from Tim Quirk, who was a laboratory manager for Halliburton, BP's cement contractor on the Deepwater Horizon.

Shortly after the blowout, Quirk performed tests on a cement slurry with the same composition of what was used at the Macondo well. But he said another Halliburton employee instructed him not to submit a written report on the results and only share them verbally.

"It was a little unusual," he said, adding he complied by throwing away his notes.

"Looking way back at it now, I can understand the importance of it. But back then I just didn't see it that way," he said.

Quirk said he never personally tested cement from the Macondo well and wasn't trying to conceal test results when he threw away his notes.

Last week, Halliburton attorney Donald Godwin told Barbier that the company only recently discovered cement samples that weren't turned over to the Justice Department after the spill.

Godwin said Halliburton believes the material found last Wednesday at its Lafayette laboratory has no bearing on the trial, but plaintiffs' attorney Jeffrey Breit said the samples are cement a Halliburton employee used for testing of the Macondo well.

Quirk said he secured all of the samples he believed were related to the Macondo well in a locker and put everything else in a warehouse, never suspecting the recently discovered samples could be related to the case.

"I had no way of knowing," he said.

Quirk, the last witness expected to be called by plaintiffs' attorneys before they rest, is set to resume testimony Wednesday.

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Follow Kunzelman at https://twitter.com/Kunzelman75

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