Recently in Oil Rig Category

October 14, 2015

$100,000,000 lawsuit filed after sinking

A lawyer representing the family of Lonnie Jordan, an El Faro crew member, has filed a $100 million lawsuit against TOTE Service Inc. and TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico, as well as the El Faro captain. The ship sank off the Bahamas on October 1st, and search and rescue ended after eight days. On October 5th, the U.S. Coast Guard found a body of a crewmember in a survival suit.

The lawsuit was filed family by attorney Willie E. Gary. Gary has accused the company of negligence and putting profit ahead of the lives of its employees. "We hope to get to the bottom of this," Gary said. "We are at war now."

"Tote Services, negligently permitted the El Faro to sail out to sea despite being in an unseaworthy condition to handle the conditions of a violent storm," the lawsuit states.

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October 13, 2015

Enclosed area death and injury reach unacceptable rates

A shift in the approach to safety management of enclosed spaces on board ships is needed. Fifteen years ago, while working as an independent surveyor, I was carrying out a condition survey on board a bulk carrier. The scope of the survey included testing the emergency generator, located in the steering flat and accessed by an inclined ladder.

Accompanied by the superintendent and the chief engineer, we had no sooner reached the bottom of the space when the chief engineer urgently ordered us all out. By the time we had exited the space, within seconds, we were all in a state of dizziness and confusion, compounded by our inability to comprehend what had just occurred. Further investigation revealed that Freon gas had leaked from refrigeration machinery located in the steering flat and being heavier than air, had migrated into the emergency generator space, displacing breathable air. It was a lucky escape. Victims of asphyxiation in enclosed spaces deficient in oxygen will normally receive no such warning that anything is wrong or have the ability to quickly escape.

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September 28, 2012

Oil Platform Workers Injured

The Coast Guard confirmed that a W&T Offshore gas platform located in the Gulf of Mexico caught fire Wednesday morning, forcing three workers to evacuate.

Two of the workers suffered minor injuries as they evacuated the platform located in 120 feet of water about 29 miles south of Terrebonne Parrish, La.'s Dernieres Barrier Island Refuge.

W&T Offshore's Janet Yang said the accident occurred on an oil-processing platform, not a drilling rig. Yang said she did not believe an active well was located at the site.

The fire was reported at 10:20 a.m. Five contracted response vessels sprayed water on the platform had it extinguished by 2 p.m.

W&T officials reported that an inspection cover on a heater-treater valve cover blew out, causing the fire. It also resulted in a hydrocarbon spill that caused a sheen 600 yards long by a half-mile wide to form. Workers were able to shut in the platform before evacuating, preventing additional pollution from entering the water.' The sheen was still present, but reports indicated it was dissipating.

June 6, 2012

One Killed in Gulf Helicopter Crash

The US Coast Guard has confirmed that the pilot of an offshore helicopter that was on its way to a rig to fetch workers has died in a crash in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana.

The helicopter was on its way to a rig when it went down in the Gulf of Mexico.  Only the pilot was on board at the time.  At the time of the crash, the helicopter was very near the rig it was headed toward. The Helicopter was owned by PHI Inc.

A volunteer dive team quickly recovered the body of the pilot after the crash.  The Coast Guard does not believe that poor visibility was a factor here.  PHI has also not released any official statement about the crash.

May 2, 2012

Oil Rig Damaged by Tanker

The Rowan EXL-1, a mobile offshore drilling unit, has reportedly been badly damaged after being struck by a tanker that had apparently lost propulsion near Port Aransas.  

According to the U.S.C.G initial statement, watchstanders at Sector Corpus Christi received a report at 7:25 a.m., that the Rowan EXL-1 and the 750-foot tanker FR8 Pride had collided in the Aransas Channel, near buoy 3.

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April 24, 2012

Former BP Engineer Arrested

HOUSTON, TX. -- The Justice Department announced Tuesday, April 24, that a former BP engineer has been arrested on two counts of obstruction of justice for destroying evidence in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico.

The former BP engineer, 50-year old Kurt Mix from Katy, Texas, is the first person to be criminally charged by the DOJ. Mix is accused of deleting a string of 200 text messages with a BP supervisor in October 2010 that involved internal BP information about how efforts to cap the Macondo well were failing.

Having an accurate flow-rate estimate was needed to determine how much in civil and criminal penalties BP and the other companies drilling the Macondo well face under the Clean Water Act.

Mix will make an initial appearance in federal court in Houston on Tuesday afternoon. If Mix is convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count.

April 20, 2012

Class-Action $7.8 Billion Settlement

BP announced on Wednesday, April 18, that they have reached a class-action settlement with lawyers who represent businesses and individuals who made claims after the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The announcement came two days before the two year anniversary of the April 20, 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster where 11 oil rig workers lost their lives.

A federal judge has to approve the settlement, but BP officials estimate that they will be paying out about $7.8 billion in compensation. Roughly $2.3 billion of that will go to the seafood industry. The money will come from the $20 billion trust fund set up to help revive the area.

"This settlement demonstrates BP's continued progress in resolving significant issues related to the Deepwater Horizon accident," said BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley. "BP made a commitment to help economic and environmental restoration efforts in the Gulf Coast, and this settlement provides the framework for us to continue delivering on that promise, offering those affected full and fair compensation, without waiting for the outcome of a lengthy trial process."

"The people and businesses of the Gulf Coast stand to reap great benefits from these settlements," said plaintiffs counsels, James P. Roy and Stephen J. Herman. "We have held BP fully accountable for the Deepwater Horizon tragedy less than two years after the spill. Through extensive arms-length, good-faith negotiations, hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast residents and businesses will be made whole."

BP has asked a court to delay a liability trial until it decides whether to grant final approval to the agreements.

February 2, 2012

Judge Rules Halliburton Not Liable For Civil Damages

NEW ORLEANS, LA - On Tuesday, January 31, 2012, a Federal Judge ruled in the civil case involving BP, Plc and Halliburton, the company that provided the cement that was supposed to seal off the Macondo well head in the Gulf Oil Spill disaster in April, 2010.

The amount of damages that has been awarded in the aftermath of the Gulf Oil Spill has amounted to $40 billion for cleanup costs, damage claims and economic losses. BP has filed a lawsuit against Halliburton to recover some of the damages that arose out of the disaster.

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January 11, 2012

Fire Probe Finds BP Safety Breaches

Norway's petroleum safety agency has completed an investigation into a fire that broke out on BPs North Sea Valhall oil platform. The investigation found that the company had committed serious safety breaches which led to the fire.

The fire broke out last July when a crane engine overheated. The sparks ignited inflammable gases, leading to an explosion and fire. Firefighters battled for more than an hour to extinguish the flames.

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December 28, 2011

BP Settles

Under a legal settlement announced on Friday, Dec 16 by BP, Cameron International, maker of the Deepwater Horizon blowout preventer that failed to stop the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year, has agreed to pay $250 million to BP.

BP said it was "in their mutual best interests, and the agreement is not an admission of liability by either party." The companies agreed to drop all claims against one another.

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December 21, 2011

Oil Rig Sinking

Rescue efforts for the crewmembers of the Russian oil rig that collapsed last week continue, but hopes for survivors of the disaster are quickly fading.  Russian authorities have added more aircraft to search efforts to look for survivors from the rig that collapsed in icy waters.

The loss occurred when the drilling jackup rig Kolskaya with more than 67 crewmembers onboard, capsized and sank off the island of Sakhalin. The collapse occurred in the icy waters of the Sea of Okhotsk, and 14 workers have been rescued. According to reports, the oil rig flipped over, and quickly sank in about 20 minutes. At the time of the sinking, the depth of the water at the scene was about 3,400 feet. The rig was being towed in stormy weather with swells of up to 6 m. So far, 16 bodies have been recovered.

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November 22, 2011

BP Must Face State Oil Spill Claims

U.S. District Judge Barbier has ruled that BP must face claims under general maritime law, not under state law, in suits brought by Louisiana and Alabama due to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill brought on by the Deepwater Horizon disaster on April 20, 2010.

Barbier said that States can sue for negligence and product liability and are eligible for punitive damages, but dismissed claims brought under state environmental laws, including demands for civil penalties, finding they were preempted by federal law governing the Outer Continental Shelf.

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November 17, 2011

Judge Rules BP Not Insured for Gulf Oil Spill

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ruled Tuesday, Nov 15, that BP can not use Transocean's insurance to pay costs related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill of April 2010 - stating that the carriers owe no duty to pay claims or defense costs to BP.

BP filed claims with Transocean's carriers last year that sought access to $750 million. Lloyd's of London, along with other excess underwriters, and Ranger Insurance, Transocean's primary insurer, opposed the claims, contending the rig owner's contract with BP didn't provide such coverage.

"The court finds that BP, under the drilling contract, assumed responsibility for Macondo well oil release pollution liabilities. Because Transocean did not assume these liabilities, there is no additional insurance obligation in favor of BP for these liabilities."

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November 5, 2011

BP $50 Million Pollution Violations

BP will to pay the State of Texas $50 million for air pollution violations at the site of an explosion in 2005 that killed 15 people. The settlement does not resolve lawsuits or investigations by other agencies, or any future problems at the refinery says Matthew Tejada, executive director of the Houston Air Alliance.

Tejada said it took Texas too long - more than six years - to resolve the violations, which he called an "indictment of the entire environmental enforcement system in the state. "The state of Texas wasn't the one that suffered from all this pollution. It was the people of Texas City," he said.

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November 1, 2011

1400 Offshore Oil Leases Extended

The federal administration has approved more than 97% of the offshore oil and gas drilling lease-extension requests that it has received.

According to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, it has approved 1381 out of the 1413 applications for lease extension. The extensions have been granted to compensate for the delays that these drilling companies have suffered after the moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico last year.

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