Nov. rig fire exposes worker safety issues

Sept. 19, 2013 at 6:53 AM   |   Comments

HOUSTON, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- An explosion at a Black Elk Energy rig in the Gulf of Mexico in 2012 highlights training concerns for offshore platform operations, a safety official said.

Three of the 24 rig workers on a platform operated by Black Elk Energy died in a mid-November accident off the coast of Louisiana.

The company said the incident occurred during a "construction project." Investigators said rig workers cut into a pipeline on the platform that had oil inside, sparking the blaze.

Black Elk said last month a third party investigation found contractors failed to follow basic safety standards.

Tony Scott, general manager of offshore safety company OCS Group, told energy reporting website Rigzone lack of training was a likely factor in the incident.

"If the workers knew more about the dangers around them, the fatalities may well have been avoided," he said in an interview published Wednesday.

Scott said extreme temperatures, not just a spark, could lead to an explosion of vapors.

The Philippine Embassy to the United States confirmed its nationals were among the dead. Ambassador Jose Cuisia said last year the nine Filipinos on the platform at the time of the Nov. 16 incident would not have been there had they had proper training.

Topics: Tony Scott
© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
Iran wants to develop mini-LNG plants
Slovakia plants seed in Ukrainian gas sector
Twitter to remove pictures of deceased on family's request
Iraq worried by terrorist ties to oil
EPA takes charge in Ohio River diesel spill
Trending News