Another ATP Coffin Nail
Board: ATP Oil and Gas Community
The Dept of Justice is suing ATP for illegal dumping of oil from its Gomez field for several years. The story does not specify how many days the oil dumping occurred but they are seeking fines of $32500/day pre-2009 and $37500/day from 2009 forward. ATP has operated the field since 2006 and I think that is when the Innovator arrived. Additionally, it appears they installed a tube on the Innovator to add dispersant (Dawn dish soap) to the discharge water to break up the oily discharge so it would be hard to detect (less sheen on the ocean). They also took measures to add the dispersant below the sampling point in the discharge tube so the government wouldn't detect that they were adding dispersant to their discharge. It seems like criminal charges should stem from this event.
I would think that the number of violations would be almost every day that they were on production from 2006 forward unless they can show testing that the water met standards. Any oil production also produces water which must be treated and disposed of. Offshore that means putting it in the ocean along with the sewage from the platform. To do that the disposed water must meet strict criteria so that it is non-toxic. The amount of oil allowed is in the parts per million range which does not produce any sheen and is undetectable. Apparently, ATP did not have adequate equipment on board the Innovator to properly clean up the oily water and instead chose a shortcut to hide the sheen it created. This is very bad behavior and would stop almost any responsible operator from allowing ATP to operate any production that they may have. I'm sure GE is not going to appreciate being named in this suit since they are a 49% owner of the Innovator. It also, makes it hard to sell their assets if any potential liabilities may be lurking. This is a very bad day for ATP and the industry as a whole.