Mariner Energy has been involved in 13 Offshore Accidents since 2006
Posted: 09-02-10Category:[caption id="attachment_1722" align="alignleft" width="670" caption="Fire Boats soak Mariner Energy's Vermillion 380 Production Platform in the Gulf of Mexico"][/caption] According to Tom Fowler and the Houston Chronicle, Mariner Energy has been involved in a string of at least 13 offshore accidents since 2006 in Gulf of Mexico waters including a blowout and four fires that were investigated by the Minerals Management Service (now the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement). Possible violations were reported in at least seven of the reported accidents and Mariner has paid at least two separate civil penalties related to accidents, records show. -May 25, 2006: A leaking storage tank prompted the report of a pollution incident at a platform damaged by Hurricane Katrina at a development site 10 miles from shore in 35 feet of water. Inspectors found the bottom of the tank was severely corroded and the damaged platform safety system and tank sump pump were unable to contain the overflow. A pollution violation was recorded by New Orleans-based inspectors. -May 29, 2006: An employee was injured when he fell approximately 11 feet from a production platform to a lower deck. Inspectors based in Lafayette, Louisiana found a possible violation related to the fact that the injured man was not wearing required fall protection equipment. Mariner later paid a related $30,000 civil penalty, government records show. -Oct. 28, 2006:Fire on a production platform in 45 feet of water and 26 miles offshore caused by a welding accident. Two possible violations were identified by Lake Jackson, Texas-based inspectors. -June 23, 2007: Flash fire and explosion reported on a production platform that was being decommissioned 74 miles offshore in 198 feet of water. A tank exploded and a worker was burned when a crew of contractors used cutting torches to create a hole intended to provide access for equipment needed for decommissioning. (This was originally listed as a Forest Oil accident, a company that was acquired by Mariner. Mariner Energy was cited as the operator for possible violations, the accident report shows.) Mariner Energy failed to comply with its own welding and burning safety procedures plan, the accident report says. -March 1, 2008: An accident involving a derrick barge under tow that struck a Mariner Energy’s Eugene Island well, resulting in minor damage estimated at about $2,000. Mariner Energy personnel discovered the accident. No violations found by Lafayette, La.-based inspectors. -May 6, 2008: Workers were required to evacuate when a blowout was reported at a Pride Offshore drilling rig operated by Mariner Energy in 287 feet of water and about 90 miles from shore. The blowout apparently occurred when the driller hit a previously unknown shallow-gas zone. No violations were identified by Lafayette, La.-based inspectors. -May 26, 2008: A drilling accident that caused an eye injury to a crew member was reported at another site where a Pride Offshore rig was drilling under supervision of operator Mariner Energy. The site at was in 340 feet of water and 102 miles offshore. During drilling operations, the hook and hoist chain became temporarily stuck under the rig floor. When it dislodged the chain fell in a whipping motion and struck one of the crew members in the face. Lake Charles, Texas-based inspectors found possible violations based on “unsafe workmanlike operations” that led to the injury. -June 2, 2008: A fire occurred on a production platform in 62 feet of water and 21 miles offshore during a cleaning operation. The fire occurred after the system was restarted because of liquid hydrocarbons that had migrated into a fuel gas scrubber during the shut down, causing $40,435 in damage. No violations were reported. -Dec. 3, 2008: A pollution incident reported at a Rowan drilling rig at a site operated by Mariner Energy apparently caused by a leaking valve. No violations were reported. -Feb. 27, 2009: Four contract employees were performing minor repairs caused by Hurricane Ike at Mariner’s High Island platform when one employee fell through a hole in loose grating on the platform. No violations found by Lake Jackson Texas-based inspectors. -June 9, 2009: Government records show that Mariner was assessed a $20,000 civil penalty in 2010 related to a safety inspection showing that the heliport on a platform had been taken out of service due to an earlier fire, leaving a boat landing as the only access to the structure. The boat landing was then taken out of service during an inspection due to corroded grating and missing handrails and personnel did not have a safe way to visit this platform. -June 15, 2009: Fire and explosion that resulted in the injury of one worker and $500 damage on a production platform in 75 feet of water and about 45 miles offshore. A contract rigger received burns to his legs and back when a methanol tank exploded during welding operations. Lafayette, Louisiana based inspectors identified four possible safety violations and advised Mariner to submit a letter of explanation addressing the problems A lawsuit was later filed in a Louisiana federal court by the 34-year-old injured rigger who suffered second and third degree burns that he blamed on the “negligence, carelessness and omission of duty” by Mariner and sought $500,000 damages. -June 22, 2009: An injury accident occurred when a crane was decommissioned during plug and abandon operations at a South Marsh production platform in 223 feet of water and 89 miles from shore. Inspectors found that workers failed to follow and adhere to safe practices while disassembling a S70-P portable crane. Possible violations were found and Mariner Energy was asked to submit a letter for its plans to eliminate future incidents of this type. Mariner Energy also became became associated with other accident investigations through its business dealings: -Feb. 2006: Through a merger/acquisition, Mariner Energy inherited involvement in a fatal accident at a lease on High Island off the Texas Coast that was caused by a blowout (loss of well control incident) at a lease then controlled by Forest Oil Corporation, which was later acquired by Mariner. The accident occurred at an unmanned platform that had been targeted to be plugged and abandoned. Mariner also has been assessed civil penalties for safety violations related to routine or follow-up inspections. It paid two safety-related penalties in 2010: $20,000 fine paid in June 2010 related to a June 10, 2009 inspection that showed the heliport on a platform was taken out of service due to a fire, leaving a boat landing as the only access to the structure. The boat landing was taken then out of service during an inspection due to corroded grating and missing handrails. Personnel did not have a safe way to visit this platform according to the June 9, 2009 inspection. $35,000 paid in May 2010 related to a June 11, 2009 inspection that showed that an operator was conducting operations without a contingency plan to deal with potentially hazardous gas emissions. If you have been involved in an offshore accident in the Gulf of Mexico, contact The Ferrell Law Firm, P.C. for immediate assistance from a Double Board Certified Trial Attorney at (713) 800-0220. We can help you.