New Orleans, Louisiana

HomeLouisianaNew Orleans

Email Tom Young Tom Young on LinkedIn Tom Young on Twitter Tom Young on Facebook Tom Young on Avvo
Tom Young
Tom Young
Attorney • (813) 251-9706

BP Deepwater Horizon: McIntyre v. British Petroleum – Part VI


Among the numerous inconsistencies found in the BP Deepwater Horizon trial testimony and documentation, we now point to an email dated June 18, 2010 from BP’s Trevor Smith. In the email, Smith prepares his team at BP to answer questions posed by United States Secretary of Energy Steven Chu as to BP’s readiness to deploy a well capping solution. Secretary Chu was particularly concerned with the ability of BP’s proposed device to withstand the expected pressures involved once the well was shut in.

In the email, Smith indicates that he does not yet have design tolerances available for the latest iteration of the proposed capping device (Transition Spool / Flange Spool). However, he does have a report which details the capabilities of a similar device – the “Swing Valve Assembly.” Smith tells his team that the “Swing Valve Assembly” was “an earlier capping assembly,” meaning it predated the Transition Spool / Flange Spool.

June 18 Trevor Smith Email re Swing Valve being Earlier than Transition Spool

June 2010 email from BP’s Trevor Smith implying that the Swing Valve predates the Transition Spool. However, documents submitted by BP in July 2010 show that the Transition Spool predates the Swing Valve?

The problem is that in the final Technical Assurance Report (TAS) issued by BP in July 2010, the Swing Valve Assembly is shown as being developed after the Transition Spool / Flange Spool. The Technical Assurance Report shows a detailed drawing of the Transition Spool / Flange Spool dated May 1, 2010 (TAS at 512) and a design drawing of the Swing Valve Assembly dated May 4, 2010 (TAS at 516). Once again, BP’s credibility is impugned by dates and documents that do not seem to jibe. The documents say the Transition Spool came before the Swing Valve, yet Trevor Smith’s email says just the opposite. Which is it?

INTECSEA Swing Valve Drawing May 4

In his June 2010 email, Trevor Smith says that the “Swing Valve” (pictured above) was an “earlier assembly,” i.e., it was conceived of before the Transition Spool / Flange Spool. But BP’s official Technical Assurance Report of July 2010 shows that the Swing Valve was designed on May 4, 2010 while the Transition Spool was designed on May 1, 2010. (below).

Of course, we allege that neither the Swing Valve Assembly nor the Transition Spool were designed, nor for that matter even conceived of, until Chris McIntyre emailed BP the design for same on May 14, 2010 at 3:48 AM Alaska Standard Time. We have always questioned the origins of the above and below images from the Technical Assurance Report, assembled after-the-fact in July of 2010. Now the authenticity of these design drawings is cast into further doubt by BP’s own evidence (Trevor Smith’s email seemingly contradicting the development chronology of the various devices as depicted in these images).

INTECSEA Transition Spool Drawing May 1

If the Transition Spool (May 1) was developed prior to the Swing Valve (May 4), then why did BP’s Trevor Smith indicate in a June 18, 2010 email that the Swing Valve was an “earlier capping assembly”?

Shifting gears away from the Swing Valve / Transition Spool conundrum, let’s take a look at yet another example of documentation with contradictory dates. While it is not necessary to fully understand its purpose, something called the Mule Shoe was developed at the bottom of the Transition Spool. This Mule Shoe was a wedge shaped appendage meant to help guide the Transition Spool into the top of the Flex Joint. During his trial testimony, BP’s Trevor Smith presented a timeline in which he said the Mule Shoe was designed on May 12, 2010. Yet in the technical Assurance Report referenced above, there is a design drawing of the Mule Shoe dated May 4, 2010 (TAS at 518).

Timeline as to Mule Shoe

BP’s Trevor Smith introduced this timeline into testimony at the company’s 2013 Clean Water Act trial. In the timeline, Smith indicates that the Mule Shoe was designed on May 12, 2010. If that was the case, then how are there design drawings of the Mule Shoe dated May 4, 2010 (below)?

INTECSEA Mule Shoe Design Drawing May 4

BP’s Trevor Smith’s timeline (above) indicates that the Mule Shoe was not designed until May 12, 2010. Yet BP’s Technical Assurance Report has a design drawing for the Mule Shoe dated May 4, 2010.

In the words of Matt Gould, what is going on?

We would like for a jury to make that determination.

Read Part VII

The case is Christopher McIntyre v. BP Exploration and Production, et al., Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Docket #: 15-35234.

Leave a Comment

Have an opinion? Please leave a comment using the box below.

For information on acceptable commenting practices, please visit Lifehacker's guide to weblog comments. Comments containing spam or profanity will be filtered or deleted.