Deepwater Horizon mechanic rercalls argument hours before explosion

KENNER, La. -- The chief mechanic of the Deepwater Horizon said on Wednesday during a hearing in Kenner, La., that a representative of BP and rig officials argued during a daily meeting before the rig explosion later that night.

Brown, a Transocean employee injured during the explosion, indicated that an unnamed BP official, or "company man," had "a skirmish" with the rig's driller and OIM, Jimmy Harrell, during the meeting. An OIM is legally in charge of an oil rig during the drilling process.

Brown said in sworn testimony on Wednesday that the BP official stood up during the meeting and said, "This is how it's going to be."

During examination by his attorney, Brown later implied that the dispute was possibly about displacing the riser pipe's mud with seawater, a cost-cutting measure.

Brown said that he overheard Harrell complaining after the meeting.

"He pretty much grumbled, 'Well, I guess that's what we have those pinchers for,'" Brown said of Harrell.

"Pinchers" was likely a reference to blind shear rams located on the blow-out preventors.