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No serious safety risk on BP's Atlantis Platform, says BOEMRE (3/7)

March 7, 2011
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BP Exploration and Oil, Inc. (BP) failed to maintain required copies of engineer-approved drawings for its Atlantis platform in the Gulf of Mexico, but that deficiency did not create unsafe conditions aboard the platform, according to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE).

After an investigation that included interviews of 29 individuals, analysis of more than 3,400 engineering drawings and related documents, and review of hundreds of additional documents, BOEMRE found that there were a number of problems with the way that BP organized, stored, and labeled engineering drawings and documents. However, the agency said there was no evidence that these documentation deficiencies created specific unsafe conditions on the Atlantis production platform.

The investigation stemmed from an April 2009 lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act by a former BP contractor who alleged that the absence of the documentation created increased safety risks for the facility and to its personnel.

“This report reflects a careful and comprehensive investigation of the allegations by an interdisciplinary team of lawyers, structural engineers, and other BOEMRE personnel, led by our Investigations and Review Unit,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich. “As the report makes clear, although we found significant problems with the way BP labeled and maintained its engineering drawings and related documents, we found the most serious allegations to be without merit, including the suggestion that a lack of adequate documentation created a serious safety risk on the Atlantic facility. We found no credible evidence to support that claim."

During its investigation, BOEMRE also found that BP failed to file with BOEMRE certain required drawings depicting changes to some production safety system components. Once BOEMRE determined that BP had failed to file the safety system drawings, it issued an Incident of Non-Compliance (INC) for the infraction. BP has since provided the required drawings to BOEMRE. BOEMRE concluded that the infraction did not pose an immediate safety risk for the platform. Because BP corrected the violation shortly after issuance of the INC, BOEMRE did not refer the violation for civil penalties.

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