US inventor claims design for BP well cap stolen

Jun 20, 2012 by HARRY R. WEBER

(AP) — An inventor claims his design was the basis for the cap used to choke off the flow of oil to the Gulf of Mexico nearly three months after BP's undersea well blew in 2010. And he says it was stolen.

Charles Adams filed a federal lawsuit last week that names as defendants several players who were involved in helping resolve the disaster. They include Helix Energy Solutions Group, which supplied a rig that helped with the capping mission, and Cameron International, which made the blowout preventer that failed to stop oil from reaching the sea in the first place.

BP isn't named. It owned the well and was leasing the rig that exploded off Louisiana and touched off the leak.

Helix and Cameron officials declined to comment Wednesday on the suit.

After the Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20, 2010, some 200 million gallons (757 million liters) of oil spewed from BP's well a mile (1.6 kilometer) beneath the sea before the gusher was capped. BP and its partners on the doomed rig tried several different methods to cap the well, such as the top kill and the junk shot in which they tried to plug the well with pieces of rubber. People all over the world watched a live spill camera on the Internet and television amid failure after failure.

Adams says that in May 2010, he designed and captured in conceptual drawings a capping device employing an effective seal. He says he later applied for a patent and began preparing to market the design. He says an engineering firm he contacted violated a nondisclosure agreement and provided his drawings to Helix. The suit says Helix and the others then turned to Cameron for its expertise. Cameron then developed a working model for BP, the suit says.

Finally, on July 15, 2010, a newly designed cap that fit tighter and was sturdier than previous capping efforts was placed over the spewing well and the oil stopped flowing to the sea. Then, in September 2010, BP sealed the well permanently from the bottom using cement.

Adams' suit is filed in U.S. District Court in Roanoke, Virginia.

Explore further: Security CTO to detail Android Fake ID flaw at Black Hat

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

BP sues Gulf rig firm, shifting blame for oil spill

Apr 21, 2011

BP is taking legal action to shift the blame for the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster which devastated the environment and the group's image a year ago, suing rig operator Transocean for damages of $40 billion ...

BP removes cap from plugged well in Gulf of Mexico

Sep 02, 2010

BP on Thursday removed a massive cap which had stemmed the flow of oil from its ruptured well deep in the Gulf of Mexico in a key step toward killing the well once and for all, officials said.

US Coast Guard slams Transocean

Apr 23, 2011

The US Coast Guard slammed drilling rig operator Transocean's "poor safety culture" in a report Friday on the massive explosion and fire that unleashed the biggest maritime oil spill in history.

US report spreads blame for BP oil spill

Sep 14, 2011

A key US government report spreads the blame for the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico Wednesday, citing a bad cement job and poor management decisions by BP and its subcontractors.

BP seals $7.8 bn settlement in US oil spill

Apr 18, 2012

Oil giant BP said Wednesday it has finalized a $7.8 billion deal to settle thousands of claims from fishermen and others affected by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Recommended for you

Microsoft unveils Xbox in China as it faces probe

1 hour ago

Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled its Xbox game console in China, the first to enter the market after an official ban 14 years ago, even as it faces a Chinese government probe over business practices.

Teens love vacation selfies; adults, not so much

2 hours ago

(AP)—Jacquie Whitt's trip to the Galapagos with a group of teenagers was memorable not just for the scenery and wildlife, but also for the way the kids preserved their memories. It was, said Whitt, a "selfie ...

Tiny UAVs and hummingbirds are put to test

2 hours ago

Hummingbirds in nature exhibit expert engineering skills, the only birds capable of sustained hovering. A team from the US, British Columbia, and the Netherlands have completed tests to learn more about the ...

US spy agency patents car seat for kids

5 hours ago

Electronic eavesdropping is the National Security Agency's forte, but it seems it also has a special interest in children's car seats, Foreign Policy magazine reported Wednesday.

User comments : 0