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Read Congressional Memo That Confirms Warning Signs Before Rig Explosion

Findings released by a House committee look at problems leading up to the Gulf oil disaster. A memo from the committee describes signs of danger that have been mentioned in several hearings.

A memo released Tuesday night by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce affirmed what recent news reports have also described: Before the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, there were a number of warning signs about possible trouble.

The document mainly relies on the findings of BP's own investigators as well as internal documents from BP, Transocean and Halliburton. It describes problems that had already been mentioned in several hearings--problems with the cementing process, the blowout preventer and a failed pressure test.

A BP investigator cited in the memo said that even after the test indicated a "very large abnormality," workers concluded the test was successful and proceeded.

These seem to be some of the same events described in more detail by a Transocean rig worker interviewed by "60 Minutes." The rig worker said that during the test, chunks of rubber seal from the blowout preventer were discovered, indicating a major problem.

The newly released House memo goes on to describe a method of finishing off the well that, according to an expert interviewed by "60 Minutes," was a subject of contention between BP and Transocean managers. BP's method was faster, according to the expert.

One professor and specialist in petroleum engineering told The New York Times that this method would be "reckless" if performed "without a good pressure test."

The findings are still preliminary and seem to summarize much of what we already know, but it's a short memo, so check it out in our document viewer if you want a closer read.

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