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Causes of Oil Rig Explosions

If you or a loved one was injured in an oil rig explosion, you will probably have many questions on your mind regarding what step you should take next. Besides dealing with the physical pain and emotional trauma that follows a serious accident, there may also be questions regarding what legal action can be taken to protect your rights. If there was any negligence involved, you could be compensated for what you had to go through. In order to have a solid case, the true cause of the accident will have to be determined.

Examples of causes of oil rig explosions:

Inherent Dangers of Oil Rigs

Offshore Oil Rig

Before the causes of oil rig explosions are considered, it is first important to understand the inherent dangers of oil rigs. Oil rigs are offshore platforms used to drill wells into the surface of the seabed. These wells could be oil wells or natural gas wells and the platform contains machinery and personnel to operate it. Not only are these oil rigs drilling for flammable materials, but the oil and gas obtained is then stored on the platform before it is transported back to land.

Health and safety violations should be strictly adhered to so that the crew is not at risk. This being said, explosions and fires do occur on these oil rigs. When they do, it can be devastating. Take, for example, the recent explosion which took place on November 16, 2012. In the Gulf of Mexico, an oil rig exploded killing some of the workers who were on the platform. Located off the coast of Louisiana, the oil rig was a permanent structure and was owned by Black Elk Energy. The explosion occurred when the crew was splitting pipes with the use of a cutting torch. This comes on the heels of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy which led to 11 deaths and billions of dollars in damage. Arnold & Itkin was able to help victims recover just compensation.

Blowouts & Fires on Oil Rigs

One cause of oil rig explosions is a blowout. A blowout occurs when the oil or gas erupts from the well. In some cases, this is caused when the systems monitoring the pressure of the well have failed. These blowouts used to be much more common as the technology did not exist to accurately control pressure in the wells. Although less common, blowouts still occur. The Deepwater Horizon disaster was caused by an underwater blowout.

Fires are another main cause of oil well explosions. Fires could be the result of an accident, arson, or natural occurrence. Even a small spark could be enough to cause a major explosion because of the large amount of fuel on oil rigs. Putting out these flames can prove to be complex as there is a seemingly endless supply of fuel.

What happens when the equipment is the cause of the explosion?

As mentioned before, if there is a problem with the equipment that monitors the well, there could be a blowout. A spark from a faulty power tool or bad wiring could also lead to a massive fire and explosion. There have also been cases where dangerous fumes have built up because of a failure in the ventilation system. In other cases, pipes have sprung a leak and allowed oil and gas to spray out. As the equipment is exposed to the elements at sea, they can begin to corrode and cause similar problems. In all of these situations, human negligence may be the real reason.

When safety regulations are ignored, the result can be:

  • Equipment Failure
  • Blowout; or
  • Fire.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration gives strict laws regarding how oil rigs should be run. If there was a failure to uphold these regulations, the guilty person could and should be held responsible for what happened. Our team at Arnold & Itkin is dedicated to determining who was at fault in these types of accidents. We have been able to secure our clients billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for what they went through. We understand how complex these cases can be and want to secure justice for you and your family.

If you have more questions or want to see how our team could help you, call today!

Oil Rig Explosions

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~ Deepwater Horizon Crew Member

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