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Nov 16, 2012 11:30 PM by Steven Albritton

Black Elk Energy Has Other Violations On The Books

Black Elk Energy is a relatively new company, only started back in 2007. After Friday's platform fire their previous track record shows they've had other safety incidents.

The fire is without a doubt the worst incident in the company's young history, but according to accident reports with the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the first was in 2011. That day, a small fire on another platform started after a battery shorted out and overheated. Fortunately, no one was injured.

This year they have had two mishaps. In August, equipment failure and human error sent two men in a personnel bucket falling 60 feet into the gulf. They were able to swim to a boat and were not seriously hurt. In September, the company paid a fine of more than $300,000 over a maintenance issue. A plug in a well had not been inspected properly and was found to have been leaking gas for more than 100 days.

While the investigation is still ongoing, Black Elk Energy President and CEO John Hoffman offered some indication of what caused Friday's fire.

"It appears that when they were using the torch, the fumes in the line caught fire causing the tanks to explode," he said.

At this time two workers remain missing but they are both employees of the Grande Isle Shipyard. No identities have been released.

Although the fire caused damage to the platform, the US Coast Guard says the it is structurally sound. Black Elk Energy hopes to have it running again soon as they conduct an investigation into what happened.

» There are multiple updates to this story. Please click here to get the latest information.

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