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Lynne Liberato in Bloomberg: BP Whistle-Blower Seeks Shutdown of Atlantis Oil Platform
03/19/2012

BP Plc's Atlantis Platform, its second-largest oil producer in the Gulf of Mexico, should be shut down until it's proven to comply with U.S. safety and environmental laws, a whistle-blower's lawyer told a judge...

“Atlantis is presently not fit for service under normal engineering standards,” David Perry, a lawyer for Kenneth Abbott, a former BP contractor, said at a hearing today in federal court in Houston. “We ask the court to take action to oversee remediation to make it fit for service.”

Abbott, who sued BP on behalf of the U.S. government in 2009, has asked U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes to move quickly to halt production and appoint a special master to oversee measures to ensure the platform is brought into compliance. Abbott also seeks $7.8 billion from BP, which he estimates is the value of oil and gas BP has pumped through Atlantis since the facility came online in 2007.

Undersized Valves 

Perry told Hughes there’s a specific pressure-relief valve “that is protecting a 16-inch pipeline” connecting Atlantis to shore and “that is undersized by a factor of 20 to 1.” A failure in that valve “could cause catastrophe at any time,” Perry said.

“There is no urgency on this, Atlantis is safe,” BP’s lawyer, Lynne Liberato, told Hughes. “The Interior Department said it was safe after an extensive investigation,” which included looking into Abbott’s allegations, she said at today’s hearing.

Excerpt from Bloomberg, March 19, 2012. To view the full article, click here.