• 5 minutes Mike Shellman's musings on "Cartoon of the Week"
  • 11 minutes Permian already crested the productivity bell curve - downward now to Tier 2 geological locations
  • 17 minutes WTI @ 67.50, charts show $62.50 next
  • 1 day The Discount Airline Model Is Coming for Europe’s Railways
  • 5 hours Desperate Call or... Erdogan Says Turkey Will Boycott U.S. Electronics
  • 13 hours Pakistan: "Heart" Of Terrorism and Global Threat
  • 1 min Saudi Fund Wants to Take Tesla Private?
  • 2 days Newspaper Editorials Across U.S. Rebuke Trump For Attacks On Press
  • 51 mins Renewable Energy Could "Effectively Be Free" by 2030
  • 9 hours Starvation, horror in Venezuela
  • 18 hours Venezuela set to raise gasoline prices to international levels.
  • 2 days Batteries Could Be a Small Dotcom-Style Bubble
  • 12 hours Are Trump's steel tariffs working? Seems they are!
  • 1 day Scottish Battery ‘Breakthrough’ Could Charge Electric Cars In Seconds
  • 2 days France Will Close All Coal Fired Power Stations By 2021
  • 2 days Don't Expect Too Much: Despite a Soaring Economy, America's Annual Pay Increase Isn't Budging
The $80 Billion Megaproject Splurge In Oil

The $80 Billion Megaproject Splurge In Oil

The growing lineup of megaprojects…

Are Natural Gas Prices About To Break Out?

Are Natural Gas Prices About To Break Out?

Natural gas inventories are low…

Federal Investigators Blame Poor Safety Culture for Black Elk Explosion

Almost a year after the explosion at the West Delta 32 platform in the Gulf of Mexico, federal investigators have concluded that poor decisions by Black Elk Energy and its contractors are to blame for the incident.

The blast, which occurred on the 16th of November 2012, killed three people working aboard the rig and injured several others. Early in the morning employees of DNR Offshore Crewing Services began welding a flange on an open pipe that was connected to a wet oil tank. As a result of the poor safety practices aboard the platform the pipe had not been isolated and cleared of all flammable substances. Sparks from the welding torch are expected to have ignited vapours in the pipe, which then rushed into the wet oil tank, igniting it, along with the two adjacent dry tanks, in a huge explosion.

West Delta 32 platform

The investigation held Black Elk Energy accountable for failing to create an effective safety culture amongst the contractors working on the rig, meaning that the contractors ignored official safety precautions when carrying out hot work, the name given to any practices, such as welding, that require high temperature sources of heat.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, along with the Coast Guard, said that some of the contractors on-board were unwilling to speak out about safety concerns they might have had, due to fears that they would lose their jobs.

Related article: Rig Fire Exposes Lingering Dangers of Offshore Drilling

Brian Salerno, the director of the Bureau of Safety, said that “these failures reflect a disregard for the safety of workers on the platform,” and “are the antithesis of the type of safety culture that should guide decision-making in all offshore oil and gas operations.”

Black Elk Energy initially released their own third-party investigation that tried to absolve them of any guilt and blame the entire incident on its contractors. The report said that: “Compass which was contracted by Black Elk to manage and oversee construction modifications and coordinate all of the companies working on the platform. Wood Group, which was tasked by Black Elk with managing production equipment and serving as the “person in charge” at the time of the accident. Grand Isle Shipyard, which was hired by Black Elk Energy to provide workers for construction projects at the West Delta 32 complex. DNR Offshore Crewing Services, which was contracted by Grand Isle Shipyard to recruit workers from the Philippines.”

Newer studies have determined that Black Elk Energy, as leaseholder and operator of the platform, was responsible for ensuring that its contractors worked together in a safe manner.

By. Joao Peixe Oilprice.com



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News