Texas Man Charged with Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice and Making False Documents, and False Statements in Relation to Blowout Preventer Testing on Oil Platform in Gulf of Mexico
Acting U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that KENNETH JOHNS, age 45, of Rosharon, Texas, was charged today in a three-count indictment in relation to the veracity of blowout preventer testing on an offshore oil and gas platform located at Ship Shoal 225 positioned on a federal mineral lease in the Gulf of Mexico. Specifically, JOHNS is charged with one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and make false documents, and two counts of making false statements to agencies or departments of the United States.
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.
On or about November 28, 2012, JOHNS and another worker created a false blowout preventer test. The next day when Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) inspectors conducted a routine compliance inspection of the platform, the fabricated blowout preventer pressure test chart was presented 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. JOHNS signed the fabricated pressure chart and a schematic of the testing sequence as if he had actually been involved in the BOP testing.
During subsequent investigation of the veracity of the blowout preventer test by the Department of Interior, JOHNS lied and told investigators the BOP chart with his signature was pre-signed and that he had been testing a pump when he made the chart.
If convicted, JOHNS faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 5 years per count and/or a maximum fine of $250,000 per count.
Acting U.S. Attorney Evans 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 the prosecution.