BP official pressed at Gulf oil spill hearing

April 7, 2011 8:39:47 AM PDT
A BP official has been questioned about the roles and responsibilities of personnel aboard an oil rig that exploded last April in the Gulf of Mexico, as a federal panel's hearings on the explosion and oil spill continue. A panel member on Thursday pressed BP wells manager Ian Little on whether BP could have pushed rig owner Transocean to do more maintenance work on the rig's blowout preventer. Panel members noted a day earlier that industry recommendations call for complete overhauls of blowout preventers after five years. But a Transocean official said that while parts were regularly inspected and, when necessary, repaired or replaced, a complete overhaul wasn't done.

Little conceded that BP as rig lessee could have shut down the operation if it was unhappy with Transocean's actions.