“Waste not, want not!” As he incorporated a start-up business in 1991, T. Paul Bulmahn remembered the aphorism his mother used frequently during his childhood days. It seemed to perfectly apply to the business plan for the new oil and gas company he had just formed. His strategy: to follow major offshore exploration
companies and tackle the undeveloped and under-developed properties LI Icy left behind. He firmly believed his independent company could operate effectively utilizing advanced technology and environmentally responsible practices. He further believed the company could economically perform offshore development activities by focusing on timing issues to accelerate rates of return so he could be satisfied with the smaller profits of marginal fields.
Fast-forward fifteen years—ATP Oil & Gas Corporation (ATPG: NASDAQ) successfully continues to develop offshore natural resources in an environmentally sensitive manner. ATP develops many offshore wells with cutting-edge subsea technologies (the “Christmas tree” is on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico or the North Sea and there are no facilities or platforms above water at the well site). Production from those wells is controlled with a multiplex or hydraulic umbilical on the seabed running to a surface location control panel a distance away. At the mud line are multiple blow-out preventers arranged to ensure environmental integrity. ATP has always met or exceeded all government standards required by regulations or permits, and, when surface facilities are necessary additionally has taken extra steps, for example, by installing vapor recovery systems to control or prevent airborne emissions. Pipelines are carefully placed to avoid biologically or archaeologically sensitive areas. In certain areas of the Gulf and the North Sea, ATP has even acoustically wrapped pipelines to absorb even the sound of fluid pulsating through the pipe to ensure that it would not disturb the sensitive hearing of dolphins or whales. As required of all offshore operating companies, ATP faithfully removes all facilities after the reservoirs are produced. In its most recent deepwater development, ATP employed a floating production platform which will be relocated by removing its 12 anchors and deploying it elsewhere. Total site clearance utilizing every available means including side scan sonar is routinely performed by the company.
Though ATP remains a small company globally with but 55 employees, it actively participates in a number of responsible organizations formed to positively address environmental issues, and ATP has won awards for its exemplary behavior. The company is an active member of the Clean Gulf Associates, Southern North Sea Environmental Forum, the National Ocean Industries Association, and the Gulf Coast Environmental Affairs Group, among other organizations. On a voluntary basis ATP provides data to the Environmental Protection Agency for bell- studies of water quality. Employees of ATP receive training at regular intervals about safety and proper disposal of marine debris. Marine life often use offshore platform jackets as habitat for mating, spawning, nursing and feeding. Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) working for the oil and gas industry provide valuable information, including photo footage, sightings and behavioural data expanding the body of knowledge on marine life in the sea. Vast schools of fish appreciate the pristine water and utilize ATP production platform jacket legs to hide from predator fish, while barnacles, sponges and crustachia attach themselves to the jacket legs to create new environments for themselves. ATP has been nominated by the Minerals Management Service(1VEVIS)for two consecutive years for the National Safety Award fill Excellence (SAFE) which highlights companies that conduct off-shore oil and gas activities safely and in a pollution-free manner.