At least seven people were injured when a large explosion on an oil rig operating on Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain ignited a fire Sunday evening, authorities said. Smoke and fire were visible from the shore. According to The (New Orleans) Advocate, citing Jefferson Parish officials, there were seven people aboard the platform. The injured were taken to New Orleans, with five people taken to the University Medical Center and two others taken to East Jefferson General Hospital. EMS officials said the five taken to the University Medical Center were being treated for blast-type injuries and burns and were in critical condition. The U.S. Coast Guard told the Advocate one man on the rig was not able to make it to shore after the explosion, and rescuers were searching for him. The worker has not been found. Kenner Police Department spokesman Sgt. Brian McGregor said Sunday. There were "a lot of injuries," many of them serious, with at least seven confirmed and more expected, McGregor said. Authorities on the scene reported that cleaning chemicals ignited on the surface of the oil rig platform.
A former pipefitter is suing Black Elk Energy LLC of Houston, after a 2012 oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico left him with serious burns covering much of his body as well as his face. In the same explosion, three other oil workers, who were employed by Grand Isle Shipyard, Inc. were killed.
According to the Washington Post, Transocean, the driller whose floating Deepwater Horizon rig blew up in 2010, has agreed to settle civil and criminal claims with the federal government for $1.4 billion. The Deepwater Horizon exploded, burned and sank in April 2010. Eleven men were killed as a result. The Macondo well was owned by British oil giant BP, which settled its criminal charges and some of its civil charges in November for $4.5 billion. While this settlement resolves the government's claims against Transocean, that company and the others involved in the spill still face the sprawling, multistate civil case, which is scheduled to begin in February in New Orleans. In a deal filed in federal court in New Orleans, a subsidiary, Transocean Deepwater, agreed to one criminal misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act and will pay a fine of $100 million. Over the next five years, the company will pay civil penalties of $1 billion, the largest ever under the act. Transocean also agreed to pay the National Academy of Sciences and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation $150 million each. The agreement will be subject to public comment and court approval. The company agreed to five years of monitoring of its drilling practices and improved safety measures. Under a law passed last year, 80 percent of the penalty will be applied to projects for restoring the environment and economies of gulf states.
According to a recent article from Dow Jones & Company, Houston based Shell is stating that an oil sheen found in the Gulf of Mexico is not from two nearby oil and gas platforms owned by the oil giant. Shell spokesperson Ms. Weegh said "A thorough inspection to date of Shell assets reveals operations in the area are normal with no signs of leaks." According to a filing with the National Response Center on Wednesday, a five-square-mile oil sheen in the Gulf of Mexico was spotted by Shell. Shell also said later that day that a 10-square mile layer of an unknown substance was floating between its Mars and Ursa platforms. The Mars and Ursa rigs are two of the largest producing facilities in the United States Gulf. They are located about 130 miles southeast of New Orleans. In September 2005, Mars was heavily damaged by hurricane Katrina, but restarted service in mid-2006.