Houston man charged with false statements over blowout preventer testing in Gulf

The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana has announced that a Houston man has been charged with two counts of making false statements in relation to blowout preventer testing on a platform at Ship Shoal 225 in the Gulf of Mexico.

If convicted, Race Addington, 49, faces a maximum five years per count in prison, or a maximum fine of $250,000 per count, or both.

The Attorney’s Office stated on January 26 that, according to court documents, on or about November 27, 2012, production and well workover operations were being conducted on the platform and the blowout preventer system had to be tested. The blowout preventer pressure chart that recorded the testing of the blowout preventer testing done on November 27 only recorded six of the seven required components as being tested and was not signed nor dated by any representative on the platform.

On or about November 28, 2012, Addington, as the well site supervisor for the platform, saw the results of the blowout preventer testing and had workers create a false blowout preventer test, alleged the Attorney’s Office.

The next day, according to the Attorney’s Office, when Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) inspectors conducted a routine inspection of the platform, Addington presented the fabricated blowout preventer pressure test chart to the inspectors, hoping they would deem the platform to be in compliance.

On December 6, 2012, during an investigation of the veracity of the blowout preventer test by the Department of Interior’s Investigation and Review Unit, Addington lied, said the Attorney’s Office, and told investigators that the false chart he provided was a test of the chart recorder and that the inspectors mistakenly retrieved the wrong pressure chart from the files.

This occurred “when in truth and in fact he knew that he had the blowout preventer pressure test chart fabricated and personally presented the chart to inspectors as the actual test record for the platform’s blowout preventer system,” said the Attorney.

The Attorney’s Office praised the work of the Department of Interior-Office of Inspector General (Energy Investigations Unit) with assistance from the Investigations and Review Unit, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the Environmental Protection Agency-Criminal Investigation Division in investigating this matter.

Assistant United States Attorney Emily K. Greenfield of the United States Attorney’s Office’s National Security Unit is in charge of this prosecution.