$4.2M penalty in deadly 2012 fire on oil platform in Gulf

By Kevin McGill, Associated Press

An energy company pleaded guilty Friday to safety and environmental charges, agreeing to a $4.2 million penalty and avoiding manslaughter charges in connection with a 2012 offshore oil platform fire that killed three workers.

 

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An energy company pleaded guilty Friday to safety and environmental charges, agreeing to a $4.2 million penalty and avoiding manslaughter charges in connection with a 2012 offshore oil platform fire that killed three workers.

Court documents show Houston-based Black Elk Energy pleaded guilty to nine charges related to the Nov. 16, 2012, fire off Louisiana's coast. Prosecutors agreed to seek dismissal of three involuntary manslaughter counts.

The plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court in New Orleans says prosecutors believe it's appropriate because the company is in bankruptcy proceedings. The penalty will be listed as an unsecured claim in the bankruptcy case. Also, prosecutors said the company won't re-emerge as an oil and gas operator or seek Gulf of Mexico energy leases.

Formal sentencing was set for August.

The company pleaded guilty to eight violations of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and one violation of the Clean Water Act.

A 2013 report by federal regulators identified a string of safety lapses that led to the blast, which killed Ellroy Corporal, Jerome Malagapo and Avelino Tajonera.

The platform was about 17 miles (27 kilometers) from Grand Isle, Louisiana, in about 52 feet (15 meters) of water. It had been "shut in" and wasn't producing oil at the time of the explosion. Workers were on the platform preparing to resume production. On the morning of Nov. 16, 2012, a worker ignited oil vapors while welding pipe, triggering a chain reaction that caused oil tanks to explode.

Did You Like this Article? Get All the Energy Industry News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to an email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now

Whitepapers

The Time is Right for Optimum Reliability: Capital-Intensive Industries and Asset Performance Management

Imagine a plant that is no longer at risk of a random shutdown. Imagine not worrying about losing...

Going Digital: The New Normal in Oil & Gas

In this whitepaper you will learn how Keystone Engineering, ONGC, and Saipem are using software t...

Maximizing Operational Excellence

In a recent survey conducted by PennEnergy Research, 70% of surveyed energy industry professional...

Leveraging the Power of Information in the Energy Industry

Information Governance is about more than compliance. It’s about using your information to drive ...

Latest PennEnergy Jobs

PennEnergy Oil & Gas Jobs