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Oil rig manager sentenced for lying about safety testing

WALNUT GROVE — A 49-year-old Mississippi man who worked as manager on a drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico has been sentenced to two years of probation for lying about testing on a key safety device that allegedly was not working properly.

Donald Hudson, of Walnut Grove, pleaded guilty in April to 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.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval also ordered Hudson yesterday to do 120 hours of community service.

Federal 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 a well during pressure spikes.

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