The world’s deepest semi-submersible oil and gas platform, the BP Atlantis sits 150 miles south of New Orleans in a section of the Gulf of Mexico known as ‘Hurricane Alley.’
The BP Atlantis represents a significant threat to the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf Coast communities because the platform lacks final, engineer-approved safety and operations documents. Some of the same problems afflicted BP’s Horizon platform, which exploded in 2010, causing one of the largest environmental disasters in history.
The controversy over the BP Atlantis deepwater oil production facility deepened when a U.S. Department of Interior Inspector-General report, released in September 2014, revealed that engineers involved in an investigation of the facility’s safety rebuked the findings that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement sent to Congress in March of 2011. The report casts serious doubts on the agency’s handling of the problems associated with the BP Atlantis platform.
The report, released by a Freedom of Information Act request, states that three structural engineers determined that the platform and its subsea equipment were likely unsafe and required further intensive investigation and that BP’s drawings of the platform components, including the subsea components, violate applicable regulations.
These conclusions confirm warnings that originated with Ken Abbott, a BP subcontractor-turned-whistleblower, who warned in 2009 that the platform is unsafe to operate.
Earthjustice filed a motion for reconsideration of the federal district court’s recent dismissal of the case originally filed in 2009, based on this new information.