27 August 2014, News Wires – A US district court in Houston has dismissed a $256 billion lawsuit against BP which alleged, among other things, that the design of the Atlantis floating production semi-submersible in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico was unsafe.
Judge Lynn Hughes said the plaintiffs had no evidence to support their allegations.
The lawsuit was originally filed in 2009 by Kenneth Abbott who worked at one time as a safety consultant.
Environmentalist group Food & Water Watch was also a plaintiff.
US regulator BOEMRE, the predecessor for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Bureau of Safety and Environment Enforcement, conducted its own investigation into the allegations that safety was at risk aboard Atlantis, concluding in March 2011 that they were unfounded.
However, the agency did agree there were “problems with the way that BP organised, stored, and labelled engineering drawings and documents”.
Abbott alleged that BP did not properly maintain the engineer-approved “as built” drawings of systems and structures aboard the Atlantis facility and that the absence of the documentation created increased safety risks for the facility and to its personnel.
After interviews with 29 individuals, analysis of more than 3400 engineering drawings and related documents, and reviews of hundreds of additional documents, BOEMRE said that it found “no evidence that these documentation deficiencies created specific unsafe conditions on the Atlantis production platform” and that charges of safety violations were “without merit”.
At the time, BOEMRE also found that BP failed to file with the federal agency certain required drawings depicting changes to some production safety system components and issued an Incident of Non-Compliance for the infraction.
BP later provided the required drawings to BOEMRE, adding that the infraction “did not pose an immediate safety risk for the platform”.
BOEMRE did not refer the violation for civil penalties at the time.