Oil FAIL: Hail, Atlantis!
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.