Friday, November 16, 2012

Fatal Explosion and Fire on Platform in Gulf of Mexico

[UPDATE: Coast Guard says 11 hospitalized, 2 missing but not confirmed dead as search continues so there is still hope. Photos of damaged rig with fire extinguished.]

Just one day after the Department of Justice and BP announced a settlement on criminal charges and fines related to the fatal explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon drill rig in 2010, we're now getting reports of another tragic incident.  An explosion and fire has claimed the lives of at least 2 workers on a platform operated by Black Elk Energy about 10 miles off the Louisiana coast. This is in Block 32 of the West Delta lease area (see map below). The water depth is about 60 feet.  The fire has been extinguished. [UPDATE: ] Two other workers are reported missing, and four have been airlifted to the hospital. No oil spill has been reported.  Black Elk says 28 workers were on the platform, but it was not producing any oil

PHOTO: The US Coast Guard confirms that a rig explosion occurred in West Cote Blanche in the Gulf of Mexico, Nov. 16, 2012.
Burning rig in West Delta Block 32. Photo by Pamela Garrie Kibodeaux/KATC. Source:  ABC News.


There's a cluster of platforms in this area.  Here's a map showing platforms as orange dots.  West Delta Block 32 is outlined in yellow.  We're not sure exactly yet which of these platforms suffered the explosion:

Map showing West Delta Block 32 (yellow box). Oil and gas platforms shown as orange dots.

2 comments:

  1. Black Elk Energy reported 98 incidents to the National Response Center (mostly very small spills) from May 2008-Nov 2012. But maybe that's not unusual. Want to help us with a little research? Start by searching for "black elk" under Suspected Responsible Company name at this NRC link: http://www.nrc.uscg.mil/pls/apex/f?p=109

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    Replies
    1. This month, Black Elk began work on a 23-well drilling program in the Gulf of Mexico.
      The chief executive of Black Elk, John Hoffman, previously worked for BP, having left in 1999. According to records from the Minerals Management Service (precursor to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management), a previous owner of the platform, Seneca Resources, was investigated in 1996 and fined $85,000 for having a faulty shutdown valve on the platform.

      It’s unknown at this time whether those issues were resolved or when Black Elk acquired the platform.


      http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2012/11/16/oil-rig-explodes-in-gulf-of-mexico-injuring-workers/

      Hope this helps

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