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Transocean Asks Judge to Force BP Manager to Testify in Trial

Transocean Ltd., owner of the rig that exploded before the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history in 2010, sought to force a BP Plc manager to explain what occurred at the well prior to the blowout.

Transocean asked the U.S. District Court in New Orleans to compel Donald Vidrine to testify. He was BP’s well site leader on the Deepwater Horizon rig when the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico exploded. Vidrine has cited medical-related problems for refusing to testify, in person or in writing, Transocean’s lawyers said in a court filing yesterday.

Vidrine “is a key source of information regarding critical events and operations that occurred immediately prior to the blowout,” Transocean said. “Mr. Vidrine’s medical issues do not provide a legal basis for his refusal to testify.”

The April 2010 Macondo well blowout and explosion killed 11 workers. The accident spurred hundreds of lawsuits against BP and its partners, including Switzerland-based Transocean, Halliburton Co., which provided cementing services for the project, and Anadarko, the owner of 25 percent of the well.

The case is In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, MDL-2179, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).

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