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DEEPWATER HORIZON: Blowout Account From Survivor Says the "ATLANTIS" Platform is a GREATER Threat in the Gulf of Mexico... *LINK*

                       Blowout: The Deepwater Horizon Disaster

                                                        A survivor recalls his harrowing escape.
                                 Plus, a former BP insider warns of another potential disaster.
                     Best estimates: It's the equivalent of the Exxon Valdez spill every 4 to 7 days.

[snip]

...Mike Williams, one of the last crewmembers to escape the inferno...

He says the destruction of the Deepwater Horizon had been building for weeks in a series of mishaps...

Williams worked for the owner, Transocean, the largest offshore drilling company. Like its sister rigs, the Deepwater Horizon cost $350 million, rose 378 feet from bottom to top. Both advanced and safe, none of her 126 crew had been seriously injured in seven years.

The safety record was remarkable, because offshore drilling today pushes technology with challenges matched only by the space program...

The tension in every drilling operation is between doing things safely and doing them fast; time is money and this job was costing BP a million dollars a day. But Williams says there was trouble from the start - getting to the oil was taking too long.

Williams said they were told it would take 21 days; according to him, it actually took six weeks.

With the schedule slipping, Williams says a BP manager ordered a faster pace...

This was just the latest disaster for a company that is the largest oil producer in the United States. BP, once known as British Petroleum, was found willfully negligent in a 2005 Texas refinery explosion that killed of its 15 workers. BP was hit with $108 million in fines - the highest workplace safety fines in U.S. history.

Now, there is new concern about another BP facility in the Gulf: a former BP insider tells us the platform "Atlantis" is a greater threat than the Deepwater Horizon.

Ken Abbott has worked for Shell and GE. And in 2008 he was hired by BP to manage thousands of engineering drawings for the Atlantis platform...

But he says he found that 89 percent of those critical drawings had not been inspected and approved by BP engineers. Even worse, he says 95 percent of the underwater welding plans had never been approved either...

The spill has cost BP about $500 million so far. But consider, in just the first three months this year, BP made profits of $6 billion.

There are plenty of accusations to go around that BP pressed for speed, Halliburton's cement plugs failed, and Transocean damaged the blowout preventer.

Through all the red flags, they pressed ahead. It was, after all, the Deepwater Horizon, the world record holder, celebrated as among the safest in the fleet...

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