A whistleblower filed a lawsuit on Monday to force the federal government to halt operations at another massive BP oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, alleging that BP never reviewed critical engineering designs for the operation and is therefore risking another catastrophic accident that could dwarf the company’s Deepwater Horizon spill. The allegations about BP’s Atlantis platform were first made last year, but they were laid out in fresh detail in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Houston against Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the Minerals and Management Service, the agency responsible for regulating offshore drilling in the Gulf. The whistleblower is Kenneth Abbott, a former project control supervisor contracted by BP who also gave an interview to 60 Minutes on Sunday night In a conversation last week with ProPublica, Abbott alleged that BP failed to review thousands of final design documents for systems and equipment on the Atlantis platform meaning BP management never confirmed the systems were built as they were intended and didn’t properly file the documentation that functions as an instruction manual for rig workers to shut down operations in the case of a blowout or other emergency.
Abbott alleges that when he warned BP about the dangers presented by the missing documentation the company ignored his concerns and instead emphasized saving money.
There were hundreds, if not thousands, of drawings that hadn’t been approved and to send drawings (to the rig) that hadn’t been approved could result in catastrophic operator errors, Abbott told ProPublica. They turned their eye away from their responsibility to make sure the overall design works. Instead they are having bits and pieces fabricated and they are just hoping that these contractors who make all these separate pieces can pull it together and make it safe. The truth is these contractors see a piece of the puzzle; they don’t see the whole thing. If you want to know about the rights of whistleblowers revealing government fraud, including special whistleblower protections, contact competent legal counsel, experienced in representing whistleblowers.