Norwegian certification group Det norske Veritas (DNV) said Wednesday US authorities had asked it to help investigate the failed safety valve that caused the catastrophic BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The company said it had been hired by the Joint Investigation Team of the departments of the Interior and Homeland Security “for the forensic examination of the blowout preventer.”
The safety valve, which measures 50 feet (nine metres) and weighs 300 tonnes, was meant to prevent uncontrolable releases of gas and thus avoid explosions at the base of offshore platforms.
The massive piece of equipment was extracted from the Macondo well, where the Deepwater Horizon platform stood until it exploded on April 20, and has been taken to a secure NASA facility in Michoud, Louisiana, DNV said in a statement.
The accident, the cause of which has yet to be determined, killed 11 people on the platform and released 4.9 billion barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The well has since been sealed.