HOUSTON – Hours after an explosion severely injured several workers in the Gulf of Mexico Friday, the KHOU 11 News I-Team has uncovered new details about the company that operates that oil platform.
According to federal records, Friday’s explosion was the third accident involving Black Elk Energy in the last two years.
In August 2012, investigators say a crane on another platform was lowering two workers in a basket. Witnesses say the equipment failed and those workers ended up in the Gulf of Mexico. Neither was hurt.
In February 2011, federal records show a small fire broke out on a platform 116 miles from shore. Investigators say that fire was quickly put out using fire extinguishers. A battery charger was blamed for that fire.
The I-Team also learned that in September 2012, Black Elk Energy paid a $307,500 fine. According to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the company did not complete a required leak test on surface controlled subsurface safety valve. According to the BSEE, when that valve was tested, it leaked more gas than regulations allowed. In addition, the feds say it took Black Elk Energy 117 days to repair or replace the valve.
A worker at Black Elk Energy told the I-Team that the company’s safety team was tied-up and not available to comment.