David Perry, a lawyer for whistle-blower Kenneth Abbott, a former BP contractor, has asked a federal court in Houston to shut down BP’s Atlantis platform until it’s proven to comply with U.S. environmental and safety laws. Abbott was an engineering documentation supervisor on Atlantis.
In his statement to U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes, Perry said that a specific pressure-relief valve on a 16 inch pipeline which connects Atlantis to shore is “undersized by a factor of 20 to 1.” If that valve were to fail, “it could cause catastrophe.”
Abbott told the U.S. Congress in a June 2010 testimony that, contrary to regulations, almost 90% of Atlantis’ design and construction drawings had not been approved by licensed professional engineers. He said that BP lied about its engineering certifications to get the operating permits for the platform.
Perry alleges that BP’s own service and operations audit showed 150 of 500 pressure relief valves on Atlantis never received proper sizing calculations. He said that some of them were “under-sized by very large amounts” and that Atlantis has experienced lapses in well control when subsea valves opened and closed on their own.
Federal regulators with The Department of the Interior have dismissed Abbott’s allegations, saying that the deficiencies in BP’s documentation did not pose serious safety risks.
For the full story on the Federal lawsuit, visit Bloomberg