BOEM launches investigation into Vermillion 380 platform explosion

By Phaedra Friend Troy 

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM, former MMS) has officially launched a full investigation into the fire and explosion aboard Mariner Energy’s Vermillion 380 oil and natural gas production platform in the US Gulf of Mexico.

“We are all relieved that the 13 personnel on the platform were rescued safely,” said Michael Bromwich, the director of the BOEM. “We are continuing to closely monitor this situation, which will be investigated fully. We will use all available resources to ensure that we find out what happened, how it happened, and what enforcement action should be taken if any laws or regulations were violated.”

The United States Coast Guard will cooperate with the BOEM investigation, per a memorandum of agreement from March 27, 2009, the release said.

The US Coast Guard responded to a fire and explosion occurred on the morning of Sept. 2 in the shallow-water platform in the US Gulf of Mexico. Thirteen offshore personnel were rescued from the water.

While it took hours for the fire to be extinguished, oil and gas were apparently not leaked from the platform during the accident.

The Mariner-operated Vermillion 380 oil and gas production platform is located 102 miles offshore Louisiana in waters measuring 340 feet deep.

The production platform was authorized by the BOEM to operate at this water depth and was not affected by the deepwater drilling moratorium – due to the fact that it is not a rig, contrary to various media reports.

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