On Friday morning local time, a fire and explosion ripped through an oil platform owned by Black Elk Energy in the Gulf of Mexico near the mouth of the Mississippi River. The company is a minor oil producer, and was started in 2007 by John Hoffman, a former BP Amoco executive. Despite being a small and relatively new oil company, Black Elk has racked up a long rap sheet of close calls, safety violations, and fines.
Indications are that this oil rig explosion is unlikely to turn into a major disaster, fortunately. The platform was located in 56 feet of water in the West Delta Block 32 of the Gulf of Mexico. According to an interview with Hoffman, workers were in the final stages of a maintenance job when they were to perform a “clean cut” with a saw on a water line. Instead of using a saw, the worker used a cutting torch instead. This ignited vapors in the line, that fire then ignited fuel stored in a nearby tank, causing an explosion.
According to data filed with the U.S. Government, Black Elk holds at least 88 oil and gas leases and last quarter pumped 14,000 barrels of oil and oil equivalents per day. The Houston-based company, currently holds interests in properties in Texas and Louisiana waters, including 854 wells on 155 platforms, and recently announced an expansion with plans to drill 23 new wells in the Gulf of Mexico.
Black Elk was investigated by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) in August for an incident where two workers fell from a crane at least 60 feet into the water.
In September, while repairing a leak at another well near High Island, workers had to activate the blowout preventer to control the well. Regulators later ordered that well to be plugged and abandoned.
SEC filings by Black Elk show a $300,000 fine paid in September, due to a 2011 site visit that discovered various compliance issues.
In February 2011, a small fire broke out at a Black Elk platform that was quickly put out.
Source: Reuters (Chicago Tribune),
- Big advertising splash for GMC Hummer EV - January 30, 2020
- EU’s Green Deal means Romania risks losing 40% of electricity production - January 27, 2020
- Hyundai/Kia investing in Arrival to co-develop electric vehicle technology - January 16, 2020
- EV charging station costs can be reduced, says Rocky Mountain Institute - January 16, 2020
- GM’s Hummer jaw dropping electric pickup return a sign of shifting car industry - January 13, 2020
- Every plug-in vehicle has the right to access charging stations - December 28, 2019
- eVgo offers CHAdeMO fast charging to Tesla owners – UPDATE - December 20, 2019
- Trump intervenes to kill EV tax break extension for Tesla and GM - December 17, 2019
- 2012 is calling wanting its all-electric Mini Cooper SE - December 17, 2019
- eVgo offering fast charging to Tesla’s on non-Tesla charging station - December 15, 2019