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Lazy Saturday Oil News: BP Atlantis and Other Dangerous Gulf Oil Rigs

BP's Atlantis Platform in Gulf of Mexico

Good morning Conflucians!! This morning I’ve been trying to educate myself a little bit about oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.


Did you know that BP has another oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that is drilling even deeper than the Deepwater Horizon–more than 7,000 feet under water? It’s called Atlantis.

Considered one of BP’s most technically challenging projects ever, the Atlantis platform is currently the deepest moored floating dual oil and gas production facility in the world and weighing in at 58,700t, it is also one of the largest. BP is operator of Atlantis with 56% ownership with its partner in the venture, BHP Billiton, having a 44% working interest.

The platform is located 190 miles south of New Orleans in 7,070ft (2,150m) of water, the field itself occupying five blocks – Green Canyon 699, 700, 742, 743 and 744 – with water depths ranging between 4,400ft and 7,100ft (1,338m and 2,158m)….

Atlantis has a production capacity of 200,000 barrels of oil and 180 million cubic feet of gas a day, with the expectation that it will have reached plateau production by the end of 2008.

The field has an estimated life of 15 years and oil reserves of 635,000 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Like Deepwater Horizon, Atlantis was approved to drill “without critical safety documents,” according to Food and Water Watch (via Democracy Now) If there were an oil spill from Atlantis, it could be far worse than the accident at Deepwater Horizon.

Food and Water Watch has started a new website devoted to convincing the Obama administration to stop BP’s Atlantis operations until the rig is shown to be safe and reliable. Here is a video from the site:

Via Food and Water Watch, on May 16, 60 Minutes ran an interview with a whistleblower, Kenneth Abbott.

Mr. Abbott tried to warn BP executives about missing engineering documents that are critical to the safe operation of Atlantis. It is because of Kenneth Abbott that we have an opportunity to prevent another disaster that could be several times more destructive than the Horizon explosion and bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill in just two days. Atlantis poses an enormous safety risk, one that could seriously endanger its workers and the environment in and around the Gulf of Mexico, including the livelihoods and well being of residents in surrounding communities. BP management has noted that an accident resulting from “catastrophic Operator error” on Atlantis could occur.

You can watch the 60 Minutes segments here.


Via Democracy Now, the Center for Biological Diversity has filed a lawsuit to close down 49 more drilling sites in the gulf that were approved by MMS without any environmental review. From the press release:

Just like BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling plan, all 49 plans in today’s suit state that no environmental review is necessary because there is essentially no chance of a large oil spill, and if a spill were to occur, it would be quickly cleaned up with no lasting damage.

“Secretary Salazar continues to exercise extremely poor judgment in approving these plans without meaningful environmental review,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center. “He seems to have learned nothing from the oil pouring out into the Gulf of Mexico. Since Salazar is unwilling to shut down the use of environmental waivers that even the president has denounced, we are asking the courts to do so.”

President Obama has “suspended” new drilling projects, but has done nothing yet to make sure that these dangerous oil rigs already operating in the Gulf are reviewed to see if they have sufficient back up plans in case of a blowout.

As you can see, I’m still obsessed with the oil spill, but feel free to post links to any kind of news in the comments. And have a great Saturday and a relaxing Memorial Day weekend.

I’m soothing myself with this after my morning of oil research:

68 Responses

  1. Better late than never. What are you all reading/obsessing about this morning?

    • Morniong BB. I’m heading out to get all my garden goodies and finally tackle the outside. I finished my new patio set cushions yesterday and they look divine! Martha Stewart would be proud. I’m also making a mosaic bench for the patio.

      Hope your weekend is going well so far!

      • I’ve been potting and repotting flowers!

      • ooh, I have always wanted to make a mosaic table or bench or something. Take pictures and let us see.

    • morning!! I’m still on obsessing on my coffee! I still can’t believe there wasn’t a mission accomplished banner behind the podium of that presser yesterday.

  2. CNN was running segments this morning about people who have offered BP their alternative clean up processes. Many were simply amazing and all were non-toxic and safe. BP continues to use that Corexit. I’m really concerned about the health of the people on the Gulf and the ecosystems that are absorbing this stuff.

    Such a disaster.

    • Did you see this at FDL? Sea Brat is the stuff that BP has cases and cases of but won’t use. It is supposed to be environmentally friendly.


      • Oh, that’s just wrong … they want to use that stuff they’ve invested in that UK banned. It helps their bottom line.

    • it wouldn’t surprise me if BP makes Corexit. or has stock in it…I’m just guessing. The point to them is money, not clean up. Also to kill the problem , not heal it …it’s just how they roll. If they indeed supply 80% of our arms forces ‘s gas….then they have us by the short hairs…all we have as a ” super power ” at this point is based on our armed forces. There’s little behind that.

      On a happier note : Your mosaic bench for the patio
      sounds divine!.

      • actually, I’ve read that they do

        • There you go. A friend tells me I’m psychic…nope, I just know how these bastards operate…as many on TC do. And the only hard part about it is keeping up with their greed and criminality…phew, that’s almost impossible.

        • Last week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered BP to immediately select a less toxic dispersant. The company has used more than 800,000 gallons of Corexit, a chemical manufactured by Nalco Co. — to which BP has close ties — to treat the spill. Corexit 9527, which BP has sprayed in the gulf, contains 2-butoxyethanol, a chemical that ruptures red blood cells and causes bleeding when ingested, according to Shaw. Its replacement, Corexit 9500, contains surfactants and petroleum solvents that are caustic, accumulate in animals and can cause chemical pneumonia if breathed into the lungs, she said. Corexit is more toxic and less effective than dispersants made by Nalco’s competitors, according to EPA data.


          • You have no idea how stories like this make me want to hunt those brittish twits down and stick their face in the gulf and then dump corexit on top of them.

            Corporations making money is a good thing. But it is not the ONLY thing.

      • Corexit was developed by Exxon.

    • Long time lurker here, de-lurking to post the link to a youtube video I was sent yesterday for another bioremediation product similar to Sea Brat:

      The product mentioned in the video is made by Oppenheimer Biotechnology Inc. Here’s a link to their website:


      The cynic in me tells me that leaving this crisis to BP, the corporate media, and the feds will only help BP and its bottom line. But the incurable optimist in me says that if word of these products can get out to the general public, then we the very angry people can force our elected officials to use them, or pay a heavy price for refusing.

      It is an election year. That does give us little people more leverage then in non-election years, does it not?

  3. Thanks for the links. I’ve signed letter via Food and Water Watch to Obama and forwarded message to friends.

    That there is one democrat still supporting Obama is unbelievable.



  5. Why weren’t oil tankers brought in at the beginning to take up the gushing oil? Still none. Unfathomable.

  6. HAL 9001 sez:

    “I’m afraid I can’t let you post that, Ivory Bill.” 😛

  7. Helloooo, any moderators out there? HAL 9001 has gone into yet another snit. 😈

    • Sorry, IBW. I’ve been through the spam filter multiple times and I can’t find any reason why your comments are being grabbed.

  8. Some suggestions for our inert President:


  9. This was from the Houston Chronicle the other day… I posted it late night the other day, but don’t know if it’s been discussed on the front page, apologies if I missed it —

    Feds lift ban on offshore drilling in shallow waters

    The federal government is set to begin approving new permits for drilling in shallow waters, where less than 500 feet separate the seabed from the surface, even though the temporary ban on new deepwater drilling will continue for at least six months.

    “We will not have a moratorium in place with respect to shallow waters,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said.

    At a nationally televised news conference earlier today, Obama invoked the continued drilling ban several times, but he never mentioned that shallow-water permitting would go forward.

    Update: Environmentalist Mike Gravitz said Obama was making a “false distinction between the safety of drilling in deep versus shallow water.”

    “In fact, drilling in shallow waters is more risky for blowouts than drilling in deeper water,” said Gravitz, oceans advocate for Environment America. “Shallow water leases tend to be closer to shore, so if there is a spill, responders have a shorter time to react before oil hits marshes or beaches.”

  10. If you look at the live cam, oil is coming out again from the gusher.
    Also, bringing the tabloids here as topical

  11. Thanx to whomever jerked back on HAL 9001’s leash. :mrgreen:

    • Not very nice talk about a dead guy in that article.

      • Jeesh, you’re right. But what can you expect from someone with a website called ThingsThatSuck. Can’t believe Reuters lets him write for them.

        RIP, the great Dennis Hopper.

        • I couldn’t find any other new stories. I had heard it on twitter.

    • This is the strangest paragraph

      Hopper mellowed somewhat in later years, becoming a Republican and a pitchman for the likes of Gap and Nike.

  12. In the supermarket I noticed I missed the best tabloid of all this morning

    • Gawd, how does that aye-hole get away with saying such stupid stuff. Jimmy Carter got reamed for his “Amy” reference.

  13. Most of the discussion over at TalkLeft today is Squeaky talking to Squeaky and everyone who disagrees with him about Obama being accused of calling Obama a sociopath.

    Obama maybe isn’t a sociopath, but he does have narcissistic personality disorder, as did Bush II, and probably Bill Clinton (although he was able to fake empathy). I’d state that over there, but then I couldn’t go back and read and laugh at Squeaky today for fear of a blood pressure rise at his snide reply to my statement.

    So I’m saying it here….Squeaky is an IPad bribing arsehole.

  14. Oh, this is good:

    BP contractor denies beefing up workers for Obama visit


    Councilman Chris Roberts of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, accused BP on Friday of shipping workers to Grand Isle for Obama’s visit and sending them away after the president left.

    On Saturday, however, Nalty told CNN that his company decided several days before it knew of Obama’s visit that it would send 400 workers to Grand Isle on Friday.

    Does the phrase, “if you believe this, I have a bridge to sell you” come to mind?

  15. http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/05/bp_now_says_top_kill_has_yet_t.html

    A BP executive says the company has yet to stop the oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico and is considering other ways to plug the leak.

    A source told The Times-Picayune that officials would announce the failure of the top kill option at a 4 p.m. Saturday briefing in Robert .

    BP is expected to announce that it will move on to its next option, known as LMRP. The procedure involves cutting off the failed, leaking riser at the top of the Lower Marine Riser Package on the blowout preventer to get a clean-cut surface on the pipe.

    • So I’m expecting Ben Nelson to keep his word and insist that the Federal Government take over NOW! since the top kill didn’t work.

      Or, maybe I’m not expecting that. LOL.

      • I think you mean Bill Nelson.

      • Does the Government have technology?

        I think their only option is to keep pressure on BP and its cohort. Other than that …

        • They say they don’t but if they declare a national emergency they can commandeer any thing they want. They commandeered my brand new gas grill during Hurricane Katrina.

          • It’s clear that they haven’t shown the sense of urgency needed and that they haven’t done everything in their power to get the situation under some sort of control.

            I just hate the bluster of “the Government will take over now” as in “BP, you had your chance to plug the whole, but you didn’t. No we will do it ourselves”.

          • Well, I’d say they’ve had plenty of chances and haven’t done anything. What the government could do is help clean up. They need to allow the locals to do what they think is needed and they could provide equipment and manpower for cleanup.

          • What?! Whatever for? Did you ever get it back? Or get paid for it?

          • nope, never got it back, never got it paid for

          • i think you spell that s-t-o-l-e it, Dakinikat.

        • Grrrr! Yours is the strawman that Dems bring up everytime anyone suggests that the government needs to take over CONTROL of the situation in the Gulf. it’s tiresome.

          Of course the Govt can’t fix the leak. But they could assimilate people who could. They could tell folks from Shell, BP, and other oil companies, if you expect to drill off our coast, you need to work together to fix this and cleanup and of course BP would have to foot the bill.

          However, as Dak said, the govt can run their own cleanup operations. Had cleanup operations been done early in the process, a whole lot less oil would likely have reached the shores. Yes, military operations would be important. Military doesn’t do this work per se, but they do run logistics on large operations and could figure out what to do in terms of cleanup.

          Here’s a link to the CNN Spill Tracker. http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/04/29/interactive.spill.tracker/index.html. Imagine if the government had insisted that cleanup operations begin even TWO weeks into the matter when it appeared that the spill was headed toward the shore but wasn’t there yet.

          Face it. Your Democratic President sat on his hands and let his friends at BP run the show. Now we have a mess and it’s his mess and the Democrats mess. We have incompetent government at the helm, and I wouldn’t fault anyone in saying that the Republicans may have done it better. Right now, I think ANYONE but this rookie intern president could have done it better.

          • What the hell are you talking about?

            What “strawman” is supposed to be mine? I was just reacting to “I’m expecting Ben Nelson to keep his word and insist that the Federal Government take over NOW”, which was posted by you (I just realized it) as reply to Kat’s link under

            BP is expected to announce that it will move on to its next option, known as LMRP. The procedure involves cutting off the failed, leaking riser at the top of the Lower Marine Riser Package on the blowout preventer to get a clean-cut surface on the pipe.

            Maybe you should look in the mirror and scream this whole non sequitur at yourself.

          • MABlue,

            You said in your comment that the government’s only option is to continue putting pressure on BP. But that isn’t the government’s only option. That is what Teresa was talking about.

            Obama could declare the spill a national emergency and commandeer oil tankers from BP and other companies to clean up the mess. He could close down the many other unsafe deepwater rigs, as I describe in this post. He could direct the DOD to provide manpower for cleanup.

            There are plenty of other options, including the PR ones suggested by James Carville–like Obama could show up in NO and other places and pitch in with cleanup efforts. He could visit the families of the men who lost their lives in the explosion.

            Obama could start a criminal investigation of BP right away. There is plenty of evidence provided in the 60 minutes program. Other whistleblowers should be forthcoming. But Obama likes to prosecute whistleblowers rather than listen to them….

          • BB,

            I meant that as their technological option.

            I have the feeling it came across the wrong way. I was reacting to Ben or Bill Nelson saying something about the Federal Government taking over after even the “top kill” didn’t succeed.

            This was in NO WAY meant as a defense of the Government ineptitude nor was it to highlight their overall limited options. I know that they are many many ways the Fed can help (actually do its job) in a situation like this.

            I’m actually offended that someone would think I’m an apologist for the pathetic display of ineptitude, incompetence and aloofness we are witnessing.

          • MABlue,

            We know you’re not an apologist. Bill Nelson wants the President to “take over” in the sense that I described–nobody thinks he can fill the hole, but he could declare a national emergency and get the equipment and expertise needed from other companies and he could get the cleanup going. Right now the marshes are being destroyed and no one is doing anything.

            Frankly, I don’t understand why Obama hasn’t declared this a national emergency yet.

          • Frankly, I don’t understand why Obama hasn’t declared this a national emergency yet.

            I’m wondering if the WH calculus is that if they admit it’s a national emergency now, they’ll have that month-plus they waited to do so hanging around their necks and proving they didn’t react aggressively enough all this time.

          • This thing was built and permitted during Bush’s tenure. BP helped Cheney write his energy policy. The Republicans are already hip deep in this mess. There’s plenty of blame for everybody.

    • It figures.

  16. So wrong it’s not funny:

    Add environmentalists to the list of those responsible for Gulf oil disaster.

    Here’s my question: Why are we drilling in 5,000 feet of water in the first place?

    Many reasons, but this one goes unmentioned: Environmental chic has driven us out there. ….

    Well, when you anoint yourself King Canute, you mustn’t be surprised when your subjects expect you to command the tides.


    However, in the old King Canute legend, the king was well aware he couldn’t stop the tides.

  17. The presser is starting and they’re giving up on Top Kill and going to switch to doing the LMPR maneuver.

  18. we are so fucked down here that it’s hard for me to even find an adjective to describe it

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