Posted on Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019 at 1:51 pm by Williams Hart
Representatives of Royal Dutch Shell has reported that around 10 A.M on Sunday, June 30th, two people were killed on the Auger Tension Leg Platform, located approximately 214 miles southwest of New Orleans, while testing mandatory safety equipment.
Officials stated that a Shell employee and a contractor with Danos Inc., an oilfield services provider, were conducting a routine test of a lifeboat launch and retrieval capabilities when they were tragically killed. Another individual sustained injuries and was transported to a hospital for treatment.
The names of the victims have not yet been released. No further details on the nature of the accident have been provided.
Our condolences are with the families of all three victims involved during this difficult time.
Two workers were killed and one was injured at Shell’s Auger platform. It is confirmed that no oil was leaked during the incident, rather it occurred during a training exercise which raises questions about rig safety in the Gulf. #PGE301nhttps://t.co/XZLhzsSpEC
— Paige Campos (@Paige_Campos_) July 1, 2019
The U.S. Coast Guard and the Bureau of Safety Environmental Enforcement will be conducting their own investigations.
Deepwater Death Toll
The incident on the Auger Platform follows two separate offshore platform accidents that occurred on May 29th and June 1st, resulting in the deaths of two employees.
A major source of oil and natural gas for the United States, the western and central Gulf of Mexico is now home to approximately 175 offshore drilling rigs that produce 1.65 million barrels of oil per day (2017).
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2003-2013 the U.S. oil and gas extraction industry experience unprecedented growth leading to a doubling of its workforce and an increase in the number of drilling rigs by 71%. The number of work-related fatalities in the oil and gas extraction industry increased by 27.6%, with a total of 1,189 deaths.
These tragedies are a reminder that the safety of energy-industry professionals, especially on deepwater platforms, must be carefully regulated and enforced to ensure that all employees will go home to their families at the end of their shift.
The Consequences of Regulatory Safety Rollbacks
This past May, just before the unfortunate deaths of these employees, The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) made public its regulatory safety rollbacks that will dismantle security standards for offshore drilling rig operations that were implemented after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.
These rule cuts follow the current administration’s plan to vastly expand oil and natural gas drilling off the nation’s gulf coast line. Additionally, the revisions will reportedly save an estimated $1.5 billion over the next 10 years.
The following list is a comprehensive summary of safety revisions to take effect 60 days after its submission to the Federal Registrar:
- Reduces testing of blowout preventers–a large, specialized valve used to seal, control and monitor oil and gas wells.
- Reduces 30-minute safety tests every 14 days, to 5-minute tests every 21 days.
- Eliminates a requirement that companies report some of those safety-test results to the Interior Department.
- Removes a requirement for an Interior Department approved independent expert to verify safety measures and equipment used in offshore drilling operations.
- Removes a requirement that drilling operators provide real-time data from wells to onshore observers.
While many industry professionals praise the dismantling of these safety precautions, citing that the motion will eliminate unnecessary regulatory burdens, others have voiced their concerns that relaxed rules will lead to a surge in workforce injuries.
The Auger Platform accident and those that preceded are yet another warning against these safety regulation reforms, and we cannot allow the families of these victims to be ignored.
Occupational injuries and fatalities in the oil and gas industry are especially probable when safety precautions are overlooked or eliminated from daily operations. Fortunately, there are lawyers who specialize in oil and natural gas injury cases and can help you get the justice that you or your family deserve.
If someone you love was seriously hurt or killed in an accident, you may be unsure of where to turn. The attorneys of Williams Hart have experience helping people through the aftermath of catastrophic accidents, and we can help you too. Contact our law firm at (800) 220-9341 to speak with an experienced lawyer today.
Note: We report on the types of accidents and injuries our law firm has experience handling. Our hearts go out to victims of the accidents described on this blog, and we hope that future accidents, injuries, and deaths can be prevented. These posts are gathered from recent stories in the news. As new developments occur, these stories are often updated. If information contained within this article is false or outdated, please contact us so we can include the new information or make a correction.
Disclaimer: Williams Hart hopes that by showing how often catastrophic accidents occur, we can begin a conversation about how to reduce or prevent them. We sincerely hope that the articles on our blog arm readers with the information needed to avoid being involved in such accidents. Content on this blog should not be construed as legal advice.