ATP Oil & Gas to pay $41.85 million to settle federal charges

Houston independent ATP Oil & Gas Corp., which went bankrupt in 2012, agreed to pay $41.85 million in fines to settle federal charges that it discharged crude oil and chemicals from its floating production platform into the Gulf of Mexico, federal officials reported.

The US Department of Justice, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and Environmental Protection Agency jointly said on Nov. 19 that two settlement agreements were filed in US District Court for eastern Louisiana and US Bankruptcy Court in San Antonio. They are subject to a 30-day comment period and court reviews and approvals.

The first agreement resolves federal claims against ATP in a 2013 case alleging crude and chemicals were discharged into the gulf from the ATP Innovator production platform. A March 2012 BSEE inspection revealed alleged unlawful discharges of oil and a piping configuration that routed an unpermitted dispersant into the facility’s wastewater discharge pipe to mask excess oil being discharged into the ocean.

The platform was removed from the Mississippi Canyon deepwater block where it was operating and towed to Corpus Christi in 2013. DOJ said the proposed settlement resolves judicial claims against ATP, which is in Chapter 7 bankruptcy and no longer operating, with a $38-million fine.

The other $3.85 million penalty was part of the bankruptcy court settlement of related violations of Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act regulations, it said. Through that settlement, ATP agreed to an allowed unsecured claim of $38 million for the judicial civil penalty judgment specified in the District Court Settlement Agreement, DOJ said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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