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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chevron Sues To Guard Secrets on How to Prevent Oil Blowouts

Posted By on Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 6:14 PM

Why should preventing catastrophes be a secret?
  • Why should preventing catastrophes be a secret?
Why should preventing catastrophes be a secret?
After the BP oil spill devastated the Gulf of Mexico, you would expect that a prominent oil company like Chevron would want consumers to trust its ability to prevent such blowouts.

Yet the San Ramon oil company, is suing Scribd, a San Francisco document-sharing service, to try and obtain the name of a leak who uploaded to the Internet Chevron's secret guide on how to prevent oil blowouts.

Following the BP blowout last year, U.S. officials put a halt to drilling there, saying that oil companies haven't proven that they can adequately deal with future accidents.

But Chevron does has a specific blowout prevention guide, which details

the company's policies and methods for handling potential


Now, Chevron has filed a lawsuit against Scribd, in an attempt to reveal who leaked its guide to the public, according to the March 8 complaint filed in San Francisco federal court.

As of Feb. 8, Scribd had taken the manual down from

its Web site. But today at press time, we noticed anyone could still

access the document here.

But the lawsuit has put Chevron in an unusual position of seemingly trying to hide pertinent information that's supposed to help prevent oil gushers. Blowouts are ruptures that occur when there are extreme fluctuations in liquid or gas pressure inside oil-drilling instruments.

"Blowouts endanger personnel safety and pose a significant threat to the environment," according to the guide.

No kidding!

Following the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf, BP has been tangled in major litigation that has questioned whether the company's equipment and methods were adequate enough to stop the oil spill.

We can't help but ask: Why wouldn't Chevron want people to understand how it would deal with a potential oil spill?

Is it because the company has such excellent blowout-prevention methods that it considers a competitive advantage? Or is it that the company's blowout-prevention methods detailed in its policy guide is really an embarrassment Chevron would rather keep out of the public eye?

We called David Casey, attorney for Chevron, and asked him why the company was pursuing this matter so vigorously.

He took down your narrator's name and number, and said he'd look into it.

We'll update you when Chevron gives us a little more insight into this story.

Follow us on Twitter at @SFWeekly and @TheSnitchSF

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Matt Smith


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