NEW ORLEANS — Crews successfully removed the failed blowout preventer from BP's gulf well Friday, a hopeful development for federal investigators who view the device as key evidence that will be inspected to determine why it did not shut off the disastrous undersea gusher.
The blowout preventer was removed from the wellhead at 2:20 p.m., said BP spokesman Daren Beaudo. The oil is now being suppressed by a concrete plug that was injected into the well in early August.
The device will likely be hauled to the surface sometime today and will then be taken by barge to a National Aeronautics and Space Administration facility in New Orleans.
BP and government experts said they conducted extensive testing to ensure the concrete would hold. Next, crews will affix a new, stronger blowout preventer. Officials do not expect oil to leak from the well during the replacement process.
Government officials said the new device will help them deal with any surges in pressure when they intersect the well from the bottom and inject it with mud and concrete as part of the "bottom kill," which is intended to permanently seal the well.
Feds investigating gulf platform fire
WASHINGTON — The agency that oversees offshore drilling will investigate the fire on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
Thursday's fire came less than five months after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon that killed 11 people and spurred the worst offshore oil spill in the nation's history.
This time no one was killed, and the Coast Guard said no crude was leaking.
Michael Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, says his agency will work with the Coast Guard to investigate the fire. The oil platform is owned by Houston-based Mariner Energy Inc.