Common Causes of Explosions
Oil Rig Explosion Attorney
Oil rig workers, both in domestic and foreign waters, face grave dangers because of their occupation. Oil drilling creates countless potential hazards and a tragic accident could be caused by several different factors. The most catastrophic accident that can occur is an explosion. Unfortunately, oil platforms have a high-risk of fire or explosion even though they are completely surrounded by water. Between the high use of electricity and fuel to run the different machinery, a tiny spark could have a devastating consequence for the workers on board.
In 2010, there was a catastrophic oil rig explosion on the Deepwater Horizon owned by Transocean. On April 20, a large eruption occurred and the blowout caused a rapid firestorm on the oil platform and the explosion ended up killing 11 crewmembers on board. The oil rig continued to burn for another 36 hours after the explosion occurred and it eventually sank two days later. Not only were 11 lives lost, but 4.9 million barrels of oil were lost into the ocean, causing one of the most devastating spills to the oceanic environment in U.S. history. Our firm proudly represented 27 crewmembers from the Deepwater Horizon and helped them and their families to pursue due compensation for the injuries and suffering that they had to endure.
Unfortunately, there has been a more recent explosion in the Gulf of Mexico about 25 miles southeast of Grand Isle, Louisiana. On Friday November 16, 2012, an oil rig owned by Black Elk Energy was producing oil when one of the crew members mistakenly took a blow torch in place of a saw and proceeded to use it to cut a pipe line which held 28 gallons of oil. The fire from the blow torch ignited a large explosion leave 11 injured and four in critical condition. Two contractors went missing during the explosion and one body has been recovered in the water near where the platform explosion occurred. Black Elk Energy has stated that they will continue the search for the other missing worker. This accident was caused by negligence and could have been easily prevented if the right precautionary measure were being taken.
Types of Causes
With all the dangerous machinery and the mixture of electricity and fuel, a fire can easily breakout and cause massive destruction on an oil platform. There are many causes for oil rig explosions but the three most common include oil rig fires, blowouts, and negligence.
Oil Rig Fires
If a single spark is exposed to the fuel on an oil platform, it can start a rapid fire breakout. Just like in the case of the most recent accident with Black Elk Energy, an acetylene torch came into contact with an oil line and ignited a fire which led to an explosion. Many times, oil rigs fired start after the oil drilling process begins and it is kindled when they come across a large pocket of gas. Once that gas rises to the surface it could cause a blowout and subsequently cause the oil rig to catch fire.
Oil rig blowouts are one of the leading causes of platform explosions. A blowout occurs when the drill encounter a pressurized zone underground and the gravity of the drilling mud fails to counteract the pressure. Once the pressurized natural gases are exposed to an less pressurized atmosphere there will be a kick. To prevent the kick from causing serious damage, oil rig platforms have what is called blowout protectors or BOP, which must be activated as soon as the kick is detected. If it is not employed early on, the kick could result in a blowout.
Unfortunately, many oil rig explosions can be prevented if it were not for negligence on behalf of the employer or contractor. Oil rig employers have certain precautions and safety regulations which they must uphold in order to keep all the workers safe on the drilling site. It is when employers fail to follow through and acknowledge these safety measures that someone usually gets hurt. In order to prove that negligence was the cause of the explosion, you must convince the court that the employer or accused person failed to act as a reasonably cautious person would have in that situation.
Contact an Oil Rig Explosion Lawyer Today!
Have you or your loved been injured offshore on an oil rig? Oil rig explosions are devastating, take legal action today and contact Arnold & Itkin LLP. We have already recovered billions of dollars for past clients and will give you the aggressive legal counsel that you need and deserve. Call us today for your free