I did not know Pat Campbell very well; the few times I was around him before all the funerals we both attended in 1995, he seemed like a very nice man, jovial and always smiling. He was charismatic.
Boots Hansen hired him in 1981 and the two of them wrestled with the great Lodgepole blowout in Alberta in 1982. Lodgepole was a deadly blowout that killed three Wild Well Control hands from H2S poisoning before Boots and Coots took the job over. Boots and Pat sorted out how to cap the well while it was still on fire.
Pat later worked for Wild Well Control and actually owned a part of the company. He played a big role in Kuwait in 1991 and was involved extensively in a big, nasty blowout in Italy in 1994 near the village of Trecate, written about on Oily Stuff, here. This is a neat story about an awesome well, if you not seen it before.
Such a mess the Trecate well made that after it was capped the local Italian police department "arrested" the top drive from the drilling rig. They literally confiscated it for inspection and (supposedly) for ransom and possible financial restitution for ruining local olive orchards.
Pat Campbell was a smart man and he and Wild Well Control played a key role in capping the Deepwater Horizon well for BP in 2010, one of the most remarkable engineering feats in well control history, in my mind.
In various post kill interviews with the media, Pat Campbell was asked where Transocean had stored the Deepwater SSBOP stack and LMRP assembly and he said the Feds had "arrested" it, I'm sure a throwback to the job in Italy.
Here is the Deepwater BOP stack, in jail in Louisiana somewhere, 2012.
Cameron, the maker of the BOP, paid BP $250MM to be indemnified from any further lawsuits from the Deepwater incident. Drill pipe buckling and the inability to shear a tool joint on the drill pipe both played a role in why the BOP did not close upon activation. Other issues downhole and with displacement procedures also played a role in the cause of the blowout.
Millions of man hours were wasted speculating about this well on the internet, by people who've never even seen a big offshore floater before. But for the Grace of God, go I, has always been my philosophy so I never second guess anybody on how any blowout occurs, or what they may or may not have done to prevent it. In a similar situation, I might have done the same thing. So, I leave the armchair stuff to people with nothing else to do. I've seen too many dead, mangled men in the oilfield in my 70 years and to this day have never even watched the movie, Deepwater Horizon. Too hard.
What matters is the well was brought under control, in 5,000 feet of water, with robotics, intersected and put to bed by some really smart people. To this day I marvel at that. Everybody involved in that control effort deserves the upmost respect, and appreciation.
I haven't a clue how much time this BOP stack served, whether it's out now on parole, or if it was destroyed.
Eleven good men perished in the Deepwater Horizon incident; God, rest their souls and look over their families. Please.