Five Workers Evacuated from Leaking Platform
On Monday, July 8, five offshore workers were evacuated from a platform in the Gulf of Mexico after it was found to be leaking. At the time of the incident, the workers were attempting to plug and abandon a platform which had been inactive for fifteen years. While working, they noted that saltwater that contained natural gas and light condensate was beginning to flow from the well. Talos Energy President Timothy Duncan stated that he believes the leak could be attributed to the old, outdated tubing on the platform.
Duncan also stated that they were using an "abundance of caution" when they chose to evacuate the workers. The company's oil spill response team has already been mobilized and is looking into the incident. In a statement that was released earlier, Talos Energy estimated that six barrels of light condensate were spilled within 24 hours, causing a light sheen for an area about four miles wide by three quarters of a mile long.
According to federal officials, the two other wells that were producing on the platform at the time of the incident have been shut down. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the Coast Guard are both involved in overseeing how Talos Energy responds to the spill. Talos Energy acquired the decades-old well from Energy Resources Technology (ERT) earlier this year; unfortunately, ERT is not new to incidents such as this. In fact, the BSEE previously went after ERT for a failure to maintain their equipment—causing erosion to boom hoist wire ropes. This negligent behavior led to a fatal crane accident in 2011.
Federal officials are also gearing up to perform their own investigation into the cause of the incident. Currently, the Coast Guard is reporting that the light oil and natural gas leak is due to a "loss of well control." While this happens much less frequently than it used to, oil spills caused by loss of well control in the Gulf of Mexico still occur three to four times a year. The loss of well control is broken into the following categories:
- Flow Underground
- Flow Surface
- Diverter Flow
- Surface Equipment Failure
If you or someone you love has been affected by an oil spill or suffered any type of offshore accident, it is important to know that you have rights. At Arnold & Itkin, we have seen all too often how negligent offshore companies can cause dangerous situations for their employees—sometimes even life-threatening accidents. Over the years, we have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients. If you would like to discuss your case with a maritime lawyer from our firm, call today!