Ex-BP worker exposes lies

Deepwater Horizon oil rig, April 20.

An ex-oil worker has told the May 12 Huffington Post that oil giant BP often faked reliability tests for equipment meant to stop spills such as the Deepwater Horizon spill, which began on April 20.

Mike Mason, an oil worker in Alaska for 18 years, said he personally witnessed more than 100 occasions when BP employees manipulated tests on safety valves designed to cut off oil flow in case of emergencies. He said the tests would determine whether the valves could withstand certain amounts of pressure for five minutes at a time.

Mason said: “Sometimes, they would put their finger on the chart and slide it ahead — so that it only recorded the pressure for 30 seconds instead of 5 minutes.”

He also said BP supervisors were usually present while the fraud occurred.

The 2005 Wall Street Journal said Mason and another oil worker testified in a 2003 lawsuit that rig supervisors “routinely falsified reports to show equipment designed to prevent blowouts was passing state-mandated performance tests”.

Mason told the Post that at BP, “the culture is basically safety procedures are shoved down your throat and then they look the other way when it's convenient for them”.