An independent Norwegian foundation has been contracted to investigate the failed Deepwater Horizon blowout preventer which led to the worst off-shore oil spill in US history.
Det Norske Veritas (DNV) announced it has been contracted by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) from the departments of Homeland Security and the Interior to undertake forensic examination of the failed blowout preventer (BOP) and the lower marine riser package fitted to BP’s infamous Macondo well.
The Macondo well, site of BP’s Gulf of Mexico catastrophe, exploded in April, claiming the lives of 11 workers and dumping millions of gallons of crude oil into the gulf which has tainted the food web.
The BOP, raised from the ocean floor in early September, is considered a critical piece of evidence in the oil spill investigation. According to DNV, the BOP is currently being held at NASA’s secure facility in Michoud, Louisiana.
The DNV statement also said: “Chain of custody and evidence preservation protocols to ensure the proper handling of all evidentiary material have been in effect since the BOP was first retrieved in August.”
DNV will develop final forensic testing protocol, consulting with various academic, commercial, and governmental organizations. JIT will approve the protocol before testing begins.
While working on the project, the foundation will rely on its forensic investigation proficiency from its Columbus, Ohio office and its expertise in subsea equipment will be provided by its Houston, Texas office.
The DNV website notes it is an independent foundation whose purpose is the safeguarding of life, property and the environment. It was established in Norway in 1864 to “inspect and evaluate the technical condition of Norwegian merchant vessels.” Since then, the foundation has relied on its expertise to identify, assess and advise on risk management. Its corporate headquarters are located just outside Oslo.
In a statement at the time of the BOP’s rescue, since-departed National Incident Commander admiral Thad Allen said: “The BOP is considered evidentiary material, and is now under the supervision of the Deepwater Horizon Criminal Investigation Team and FBI Evidence Recovery Team.”