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Wood Group fined $9.5 million following fatal West Delta 32 oil platform explosion and fire

27 February 2017

Oil industry services company Wood Group PSN will pay $9.5 million in penalties for safety violations and pollution relating to the November 2012 West Delta 32 oil platform fire in the Gulf of Mexico which killed three workers. The penalties followed plea agreements between the company, the US Justice Department and local US attorneys in Texas and Louisiana.

West Delta 32 - Image: BSEE
West Delta 32 - Image: BSEE

The company was fined $7 million for falsely reporting that safety inspections were performed on Gulf of Mexico facilities over several years and another $1.8 million for discharging oil into the sea. Wood Group also will pay $700,000 for community service projects.

The November 2012 incident took place on the West Delta 32 oil platform, situated 17 miles southeast of Grand Isle, Louisiana, and owned by Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations. It was traced to welding work igniting fuel vapours and causing a series of explosions which killed the three workers and injured two others, with hundreds of gallons of oil spilled into the sea.

A 2013 report by federal regulators identified a string of safety lapses that led to the blasts. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement issued 41 citations related to the incident. In addition to Houston-based Black Elk, Non-Compliance citations were issued to Aberdeen-based Wood Group, Louisiana-based Grand Isle Shipyard and Louisiana-based Compass Engineering Consultants.

Black Elk filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2016.

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