BP’s Other Monster Rig

By Gregory

Jun 17, 2010 10:00am

ABC News' Tom Shine reports: Crews started lining up in the cramped hallway outside 2123 Rayburn at 5:45am, more than 4 hours before BP's Ceo, Tony Hayward gets, in the words of ABC Senior Congressional Correspondent Jonathan Karl,  "sliced and diced" by angry members of congress.  There have been a number of "huge" hearings on Capitol Hill recently: Toyota, the Bank CEOS, the Salahis.  This one could eclipse them all.

However, while Hayward is busy apologizing for wanting his life back, Kenneth W. Abbott, an engineering project manager, will be appearing at another hearing that probably won't get nearly as much attention.  Abbott, will be expressing strong concerns about the safety of another BP rig, a monster rig called the Atlantis.  Here is how Abbott describes the Atlantis:

"BP Atlantis is the world's deepest moored oil and gas production facility; it is located in over 7,000 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico about 150 miles south of New Orleans.  It is rated to produce 200,000 bbls. of oil per day and large quantities of natural gas, far more than the Deepwater Horizen well now fouling the Gulf and its beaches."

Abbott was hired in August of 2008 to be the "project controls lead" on BP's Atlantis project," which included management of all the engineering documents.  What he found when he started was a mess, drawings and documents needed by the rig's operators that were incomplete, had never been approved, and an e-mail from the guy who had the job before him that said, "currently, there are hundreds if not thousands of subsea documents that have never been finalized, yet the facilities have been turned over."

He will tell the committee that "on the Atlantis, the safety shutdown system logic has not been engineer-approved: this could cause the failure of shutdown systems."  He will say that before he was fired, he attended several meetings trying to fix the problems, but nothing happened.   

"From my experience working in the industry for over 30 years, I have never seen these kinds of problems with other companies," he will tell Congress.

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