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Oil FAIL: Hail, Atlantis!

Oh, good:

The company whose drilling triggered the Gulf of Mexico oil spill also owns a rig that operated with incomplete and inaccurate engineering documents, which one official warned could "lead to catastrophic operator error," records and interviews show. ...

In February, two months before the Deepwater Horizon spill, 19 members of Congress called on the agency that oversees offshore oil drilling to investigate a whistle-blower's complaints about the BP-owned Atlantis, which is stationed in 7,070 feet of water more than 150 miles south of New Orleans.

The Atlantis subcontractor who lodged the complaint was Kenneth Abbott. He was laid off in February 2009 and said in a written statement a few months later that he believes it was partly in retaliation, which the company denied. ...

BP production member Barry C. Duff said in an August 2008 e-mail to two colleagues that "hundreds if not thousands" of subsea documents had not been finalized, and warned having the wrong documents on board the Atlantis "could lead to catastrophic operator errors."

Abbott provided e-mails, a BP database and other documents to an environmental group called Food & Water Watch, based in Washington. The AP obtained copies.

[Mike Sawyer, a safety engineering consultant who previously assisted the plaintiffs in a suit aginst BP after the 2005 explosion at its Texas City, Texas, refinery that killed 15 workers] reviewed a database detailing the status of thousands of Atlantis safety-related engineering documents provided by Abbott. He concluded in May 2009 that the majority were incomplete, introducing "substantial risk of large-scale damage to the deep water Gulf of Mexico environment and harm to workers."

Sawyer said he found that about 85 percent of the piping and instrument designs "have no final approval" and more than 95 percent of the welding specifications had no approval at all.

More than a year after Abbott first lodged his complaint, it remains unclear whether BP updated the documents.

I just hope we never have two rigs blow at the same time.

Because that would be bad.

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Submitted by Fran on

about an hour ago on TV.

The thing I don't get is....... I worked for an architect and, for even the smallest project, every aspect of the structure had to be signed off on by the appropriate engineers. Also, it was important to make sure that everyone had the latest version of the complete set of drawings. The Atlantis project is HUGE. How did they get away with lacking complete, current and approved documents and drawings?! Wouldn't part of the government's (apparently non-existent, or waived) oversight find this glaring omission rather easily?

sisterkenney's picture
Submitted by sisterkenney on

Yesterday, (complete transcript available on their website), but the best line I heard was Abbott's statement re: Atlantis fail:
"The Atlantis is still pumping away out there--200,000 barrels a day, and it will be four times that in a year or two when they put in all 16 wells. If something happens there, it will make the Deepwater Horizon look like a bubble in the water by comparison," Abbott said.

Submitted by jawbone on

The first damage.
The 60 Minutes segment made clear that there were no players involved with the Gulf Gusher who did not make egregiously bad choices and decisions. Breathtaking. From Page 2:

Down near the seabed is the blowout preventer, or BOP. It's used to seal the well shut in order to test the pressure and integrity of the well, and, in case of a blowout, it's the crew's only hope. A key component is a rubber gasket at the top called an "annular," which can close tightly around the drill pipe.

Williams says, during a test, they closed the gasket. But while it was shut tight, a crewman on deck accidentally nudged a joystick, applying hundreds of thousands of pounds of force, and moving 15 feet of drill pipe through the closed blowout preventer. Later, a man monitoring drilling fluid rising to the top made a troubling find.

"He discovered chunks of rubber in the drilling fluid. He thought it was important enough to gather this double handful of chunks of rubber and bring them into the driller shack. I recall asking the supervisor if this was out of the ordinary. And he says, 'Oh, it's no big deal.' And I thought, 'How can it be not a big deal? There's chunks of our seal is now missing,'" Williams told Pelley.

"No big deal"??

Compelling interview and good explanations of several things.