BP Whistleblower Seeks Order to Prevent “Imminent Threat”

March 21, 2012 - Comments Off

Bloomberg reported last Friday that a whistleblower who filed suit against BP over two years ago is currently seeking immediate injunctive relief from the Court due to safety issues that pose an “imminent threat.”  Mikal Watts, attorney for the plaintiff, said in papers filed on Thursday, March 15, 2012, that “immediate court action was needed to remedy unsafe conditions at Atlantis,” a BP facility located over the Green Canyon Atlantis Oil Field in deepwater Gulf of Mexico, about 200 miles south of New Orleans (and just 100 miles south of where the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig disaster occurred).

The plaintiff in the case is former BP contractor Kenneth Abbott, who filed a qui tam suit in November 2009 alleging that BP submitted false information to government regulators in order to obtain permits to work on the Atlantis site.  Specifically, Abbott alleged that the facility did not meet hazard analysis provisions of specified American Petroleum Institute recommended practices for such installations, and as such, oil and gas cannot be safely produced through the platform and its equipment.  Through the use of those false certifications, Abbott alleged, BP obtained government property through the Project Atlantis platform and related subsea equipment; namely, production rights to government owned oil and gas valued at roughly $7.8 billion.

For its part, Bloomberg reports, BP has maintained that Atlantis is safe and that Abbott’s complaints were dismissed by federal regulators who investigated the issue after the April 2010 blowout of BP’s Macondo well drilled by the Deepwater Horizon.  Daren Beaudo, a BP spokesman, stated on March 15, 2012 that, “The Department of Interior conducted a thorough investigation of Mr. Abbott’s lawsuit allegations and concluded that Mr. Abbott’s allegations are unfounded and the Atlantis platform is safe and should continue to be operated by BP.”

David J. Marshall, a whistleblower attorney and partner at the D.C. law firm of Katz, Marshall & Banks, stated: “This case involves a company that has earned an abysmal safety record in America in recent years – and paid a steep price for it – being accused of brazenly maintaining the same behavior.   This is deplorable. ”

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