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HOUSTON -- BP rebutted allegations that its Atlantis platform in the Gulf of Mexico operated with incomplete and inaccurate engineering documents.
Responding to claims made by new programs and newspapers that flawed or missing documentation posed a threat to safe operation of the platform, BP said it thoroughly investigated these claims when they were first made by a former contract worker in 2009 and found them to be without substance.
The investigation found the operators on the platform had full access to the accurate, up-to-date drawings (topsides, hull and subsea) necessary to operate the platform safely, the company said in a statement.
A second investigation of the same allegations by the Ombudsman's office focused on project document and filing procedures and had no bearing on operating or regulatory issues. After this review, BP made some procedural changes in the project execution plan, but these likewise had no connection with the safe operation of the platform, the company said.
"As CEO Tony Hayward constantly makes clear, safe and reliable operations are his No. 1 priority for BP, and the company has a very strong record of safe and reliable operations in the Gulf of Mexico," a company spokesman said. "It is completely erroneous to suggest that the minor internal process issue we identified and immediately amended last year on the Atlantis platform suggests anything different."
The design, construction, installation and operation of Atlantis have received a high level of oversight by both the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) and the US Coast Guard, according to the company. BP has and will continue to work with the MMS or any other regulator when concerns are raised about any aspect of its operation, the company said.
At the same time, BP announced its intention to give grants to the states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana to help their governors promote tourism around the shores of the Gulf of Mexico over the coming months.
"This is part of our ongoing commitment to help mitigate the economic impact of the oil spill," the company said in at statement. BP is providing $25 million to Florida and $15 million each to Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.
"The Gulf Coast is our home too," Hayward said. "We are doing everything we can to plug the leak, contain the spill offshore and protect the shoreline. With the deployment of the riser insertion tool, we made important progress in containing the spill and that will further strengthen our ability to keep oil off the shore.
"We understand the governors' concerns for the impact on the tourism industry, and are making funds available so that they can support the industry's efforts to provide accurate information about the state of the beaches across the region."
The grants are in addition to the $25 million grants BP announced May 5, to help each of the four states accelerate the implementation of area contingency plans.
The grants BP has made to the four states do not affect BP's response to the Deepwater Horizon incident or existing claims process, but are supplemental to them, the company said.
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig is leaking an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil per day into the Gulf of Mexico, according to media reports.
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