Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama grew frustrated grilling the executives on why engineers replaced a heavy "mud" compound in the well with much lighter sea water – thereby reducing downward pressure on the oil – when they were temporarily capping the site for future exploitation. He quoted an oil rig worker saying, "That's when the well came at us, basically."
"I'm not familiar with the individual procedure on that well," BP's McKay said.
Steven Newman, Transocean's president and CEO, and Halliburton executive Tim Probert repeatedly told Sessions they did not know how often sea water instead of the compound was used to seal Gulf wells.
"Well, you do this business, do you not?" the senator demanded. "You're under oath. I'm just asking you a simple question."
How often or when is salt water EVER used to seal off an oil well?