A federal judge handling a case against alleged unsafe conditions on an oil rig owned by BP (NYSE: BP) has ordered confidential documents be kept to a minimum.

U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Hughes in Houston told parties she wants as much material as possible made public. Oil companies that are defendants generally prefer to keep their data secret typically for proprietary purposes.

Kenneth Abbott, a former BP contractor, sued BP in 2009 saying the company has failed to maintain adequate records of its engineering inspections and faces present and imminent danger.

Abbott complained the company doesn't comply with safety and environmental laws on its Atlantis production platform. In 2010, BP's Deepwater Horizon platform in the Gulf of Mexico caught fire in a catastrophe that led 5 million barrels of oil to spill into the Gulf.

The London-based company filed sealed documents with the court. Now Hughes asked that they be resubmitted and open to the public, the Houston Chronicle reported.

If there are data that one or other parties genuinely believes is essential and the other believes is genuinely proprietary, then we can have a hearing or somehow discuss it, Hughes said during a Monday hearing, the paper reported.

Abbott wants the rig shut down. BP and the U.S.Department of the Interior have maintained the rig is safe.

A court-appointed special master is overseeing a review of the rig's compliance, the Chronicle reported.

BP shares Wednesday fell 34 cents to $45.88.