Expert Witness Forensic Engineer Industrial Controls Automation New Orleans
Arthur Zatarain
Project Profile
Industrial Accident: Subsea Blowout Preventer
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Industrial accident: Operation of the subsea control system during the Transocean Deepwater Horizon / BP Macondo oil spill incident on April 20, 2010. The investigation focused on the ability to perform an automatic "deadman" function as described in industry standard API 16D. This feature was intended to close the high pressure shear ram on the BOP under certain emergency conditions. The suspected failure of the deadman system during the event was the primary focus of this forensic engagement.

The 18 month investigation involved examination of the overall BOP control system design including the subsea electronics module, the dual coil solenoid valve, and the lithium battery pack.

Forensic data on the subsea control system was collected by DNV at NASA's Michoud Facility in New Orleans in 2011. The subsequent investigation analyzed the DNV data as well as test data and reports by other parties including the US Government, Cameron, Transocean, and Interlink.

Arthur Zatarain's investigation, analysis, and reporting led to testimony in US Federal Court regarding the ability of the AMF/Deadman system to perform properly during the Macondo well blowout.



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