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Man accused of falsifying tests on oil rig safety devices

WALNUT GROVE — Federal prosecutors say a Mississippi man who worked as manager on a drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico directed rig workers to falsify testing on a key safety device.

A court filing in New Orleans charges 49-year-old Donald Hudson of Walnut Grove with making a false statement in March 2011 to the Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General about testing of the rig’s blowout preventer.

Hudson worked for Helmerich & Payne Inc., which operated Rig 206 off the coast of Louisiana.

Prosecutors say Hudson instructed workers to falsify tests by closing valves on the blowout preventer’s choke manifold, which is designed to control flow from the well during pressure spikes.

Hudson faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison if convicted of the charge.

Hudson’s attorney, Steve Lemoine, declined to comment on the charge.


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