Deep-Water Wells Should Get Added Monitors, Spill Panel Says

Energy companies should add sensors to read the pressure in deep-water oil wells to help prevent blowouts such as the BP Plc blast that led to the worst U.S. offshore spill this year, the panel probing the disaster said.

“During the well-design approval process, the Department of Interior should require well components to include sensors,” the staff of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill said today in a presentation in Washington.

Devices should “obtain accurate diagnostic information, including pressure readings” and position of a blowout preventer’s rams, which would cut the flow of oil if the well malfunctions, according to the presentation.

The panel, established by President Barack Obama, yesterday determined that London-based BP alone isn’t to blame for the April 20 blast that killed 11 workers, spewed crude for 87 days and shut a third of the Gulf of Mexico to fishing.

BP, which owned the well, Transocean Ltd., provider of the rig that exploded, and Halliburton Co., supplier of cement to plug the well, all “were heavily involved in the decisions that are most questionable,” panel co-chair William K. Reilly said yesterday.

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