Houston Man Charged With False Statements In Relation To Blowout Preventer Testing On Oil Platform In Gulf Of Mexico
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana announced that RACE ADDINGTON, 49, of Houston, Texas, was charged today in a two-count Bill of Information with making false statements to agencies or departments of the United States in relation to the veracity of blowout preventer testing on an offshore oil and gas platform located at Ship Shoal 225 located on a federal mineral lease in the Gulf of Mexico.
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. A blowout preventer system is designed to ensure well control and prevent potential release of oil and gas and possible loss of well control. The blowout preventer pressure chart that recorded the testing of the blowout preventer testing done on November 27, only recorded 6 of the 7 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. The next day 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 BSEE inspectors with the expectation that it would be a passing test and the inspectors would not find the platform to be in non-compliance for failing to properly test the blowout preventer system.
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 and told investigators the false chart he provided inspectors was a test of the chart recorder and that the inspectors mistakenly retrieved the wrong pressure chart from the files 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.
If convicted, ADDINGTON faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 5 years per count and/or a maximum fine of $250,000 per count.
The U.S. 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.