But the manslaughter charges against Mr. Vidrine were dropped when he agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor pollution charge in 2015 and testify against Mr. Kaluza. Mr. Kaluza chose to go to trial and was acquitted last year.

During Mr. Kaluza’s trial, Mr. Vidrine testified that Mr. Kaluza had neglected to give him vital information about the pressure test, which was intended to demonstrate whether two cement plugs and drilling mud below the ocean floor could withstand the pressure of oil and gas farther down in the well, below the seafloor.

Mr. Kaluza’s defense lawyer said his client had stopped work on the well before his shift ended and was off duty when Mr. Vidrine decided to proceed with the drilling operation.

Photo

Mr. Vidrine last year during a break in the trial of Robert Kaluza, the day rig supervisor, who was acquitted.

Credit
Max Becherer/Associated Press

Later, Mr. Kaluza said he held no bitterness toward Mr. Vidrine and understood the pressure he had been under to testify.

In his earlier statements to BP investigators, Mr. Vidrine acknowledged that he had not been unduly worried about the tests. He said he had discussed the results with a BP executive in Houston who had also not appeared overly concerned.

Mr. Vidrine was pilloried in the 2016 movie “Deepwater Horizon,” in which he was portrayed by John Malkovich as a strutting, fast-talking manager with a Louisiana accent as thick as gumbo who was in a rush to complete the ill-fated well.

The real Mr. Vidrine tried to project a very different image. In emotional testimony before a congressional committee, he described himself as “just a guy who works for a living, a simple talker.”

“I don’t try to get fancy with anybody,” he said.

But the catastrophe in which he played a role cast a long shadow over the entire oil and gas industry as the federal government ordered a yearlong moratorium on deepwater drilling and tightened regulations.

Donald Joseph Vidrine was born in Ville Platte, La., about 40 miles northwest of Lafayette, on Oct. 17, 1947. He graduated from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, La., in 1970.

In an oil career of more than 40 years, he worked as an offshore supervisor on shallow- and deepwater rigs for Atlantic Richfield and then BP, after the company, formerly British Petroleum, bought Atlantic Richfield in 2000.

He had a heart attack before contracting cancer during more than five years of legal problems.

Mr. Vidrine, who lived for the last two years in Baton Rouge, is survived by his wife, Jacqueline Lafleur Vidrine; a son, Kevin; two sisters, Glenda Vidrine Miller and Cheryl Vidrine Lafleur; and two granddaughters.

Continue reading the main story



Source link