Thad Allen: Criminal probe must have ‘unfettered access’ to blowout preventer removal

“The Team members will take custody of all equipment removed from or associated with the BOP stack or capping stack from the time it is removed from the well head and will maintain that custody throughout the lifting process,” he continued.

The blowout preventer — which failed to deploy properly when the Macondo well spiraled out of control April 20 — is key evidence in the investigation of the accident that touched off the biggest oil spill in U.S. history.

A replacement blowout preventer will be placed atop the well, which will allow work on the relief well — the final operation to kill the well — to resume. That operation to intercept and kill the well from below with mud and cement is expected to be completed shortly after Labor Day.