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Who was doing what when the drilling rig blew? Ask Halliburton!

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An oil-drilling procedure called cementing is coming under scrutiny as a possible cause of the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico that has led to one of the biggest oil spills in U.S. history…

The process is supposed to prevent oil and natural gas from escaping by filling gaps between the outside of the well pipe and the inside of the hole bored into the ocean floor. Cement, pumped down the well from the drilling rig, is also used to plug wells after they have been abandoned or when drilling has finished but production hasn’t begun.

In the case of the Deepwater Horizon, workers had finished pumping cement to fill the space between the pipe and the sides of the hole and had begun temporarily plugging the well with cement; it isn’t known whether they had completed the plugging process before the blast.

Regulators have previously identified problems in the cementing process as a leading cause of well blowouts, in which oil and natural gas surge out of a well with explosive force…

The scrutiny on cementing will focus attention on Halliburton Co., the oilfield-services firm that was handling the cementing process on the rig, which burned and sank last week…

Halliburton also was the cementer on a well that suffered a big blowout last August in the Timor Sea, off Australia. The rig there caught fire and a well leaked tens of thousands of barrels of oil over 10 weeks before it was shut down. The investigation is continuing…

Federal officials declined to comment on their investigation, and Halliburton didn’t respond to questions from The Wall Street Journal.

Golly gee, that’s a surprise.

So, which members of Congress will now step forward and defend Halliburton? Anyone think Republican governor Bobby Jindal will point a finger?

When it comes to sleazy business dealings our nation is working hard at establishing new records for death and destruction.

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Written by Ed Campbell

April 30, 2010 at 12:00 pm

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