LAFAYETTE — A federal panel investigating a deadly 2012 platform explosion in the Gulf of Mexico blames Black Elk Energy and three of its contractors for the oil tank explosion at Black Elk’s West Delta 32 complex that killed three Filipino welders.
The panel of oil and gas experts from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the Coast Guard found multiple safe-work violations that led to the Nov. 16, 2012 explosion, including: inadequate planning and communication; having non-working or no gas detectors around hot-work sites; pipes containing oil when they were supposed to be cleared; a welding crew that was not given adequate safety instructions; a person in charge of the platform who was minimally qualified; and Black Elk’s general lack of a culture of safety.
BSEE released the report Monday.
“The panel found the safety culture aboard the (West Delta) 32 complex at the time of the incident to be poor at best,” the report states. “Due to Black Elk’s failure to manage its contractors and the contractors’ collective failure to adhere to established policies, the panel found the lack of a safety culture aboard the WD 32 complex to be a contributing cause of the explosion/fire.”
The 54-page report recommends sanctions — called incidents of non-compliance — against Houston-based Black Elk, Lafayette project management company Compass Engineering, Galliano construction company Grand Isle Shipyard (GIS), and production platform management company Wood Group.
The 9 a.m. explosion aboard Black Elk’s West Delta 32 E platform immediately killed Jerome Malagapo and Ellroy Corporal. A week after the explosion, Avelino Tajonere died from his injuries in a Baton Rouge hospital. The welders worked for GIS through Phillipines-based personnel company DNR Offshore and Crewing Services. The families of the three men have filed federal lawsuits against Black Elk Energy.