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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.


BP ATLANTIS

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.


MORE UNSAFE OIL RIGS
IN THE GULF OF MEXICO

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: