UPDATE 2-National Oilwell not helping with spill probe-panel

* National Oilwell a roadblock in spill probe-panel

* Panel wants company to help recreate data displays

* Panel lacks subpoena power to force cooperation
(Adds National Oilwell response)

By Ayesha Rascoe

WASHINGTON, Dec 6 (BestGrowthStock) – National Oilwell Varco
(NOV.N: ) is not cooperating with the White House oil spill
commission’s probe of the BP Plc (BP.L: ) disaster, commission
investigators said on Monday.

The investigators said they need National Oilwell’s help to
recreate the company’s proprietary data displays as they
attempt to determine what indications of hydrocarbon flow the
crew on the doomed Deepwater Horizon rig could have seen prior
to the rig’s explosion.

“For over a month, we have attempted to elicit NOV’s
assistance on this matter,” the panel’s investigators said in a
letter to commissioners.

“They have been generally uncooperative, either in the form
of refusal or delay,” the letter said.

The commission was never granted subpoena power by
Congress, so there is little the panel can do to compel
companies to comply with its information requests.

An April 20 explosion on the Transocean (RIG.N: )-owned
Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 workers and ruptured BP’s
underwater well, sending millions of gallons of oil into the
Gulf of Mexico over several months.

In a meeting last month, the commission’s investigators
blamed the accident on a series of mistakes made by BP and its
contractors, including missing indications that hydrocarbons
were flowing from the well. [ID:nN08228558]

National Oilwell, the largest U.S. oilfield equipment
supplier, provided the rig’s crew with proprietary data
displays.

The company said in a statement late on Monday it is
supportive of the Oil Spill Commission’s investigative efforts
but said “manufacturing guesses as to what was displayed on the
rig’s computers runs a serious risk of producing a misleading
picture.

“We rejected their requests to synthesize hypothetical
computer displays utilizing limited mud data provided by the
Commission because these would not be accurate or fair,” the
company said.

The commission’s staff said that while a recreation of the
displays on the rig would be imperfect, a basic understanding
of the what information was available to drillers could
“significantly advance our investigation.”

The workers who know the exact answers to those questions
died in the accident, commission staff said.

The presidential commission has been charged with guiding
the future of offshore drilling and examining the root causes
of the BP drilling disaster. It is due to release its final
report in January.

National Oil said that it was “surprised” by the
Commission’s letter since it has responded constructively to
requests for assistance into the investigation.
(Additional reporting by Tom Doggett and Braden Reddall;
Editing by Dale Hudson and Derek Caney)

UPDATE 2-National Oilwell not helping with spill probe-panel