The West Delta 32 platform. Image courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has fined Wood Group PSN over $9 million for violations related to a 2012 offshore accident.

The DOJ said on Thursday that Wood Group PSN was ordered to pay $9.5 million today in two separate cases related to its conduct in the Gulf of Mexico.

The DOJ ordered Wood Group PSN to pay $7 million for “falsely reporting over several years that personnel had performed safety inspections on offshore facilities in the Gulf of Mexico in the Western District of Louisiana.”

The company was also ordered to pay $1.8 million for negligently discharging oil into the Gulf of Mexico in violation of the Clean Water Act after an explosion at the West Delta 32 platform in November 2012.

Wood Group PSN was also ordered to pay $700,000 in community service to projects in the areas where the criminal conduct took place.

The West Delta 32 production facility was operated by Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations (BEE) when the incident occurred.

According to the DOJ, BEE had contracted with Wood Group PSN for individuals to man and conduct production operations at the West Delta 32 facility in early November 2012.

The DOJ said that about a week into the work Wood Group’s person-in-charge stopped issuing hot work permits and conducting all-hands safety meetings and delegated the hot work permitting to a less experienced operator.

The DOJ found that, during work conducted on November 16 of that year by Grand Isle Shipyards, an ignition occurred when  hydrocarbon vapors escaped a wet oil tank.

The ignition and subsequent explosion occurred while workers attempted to weld a piece of cut piping leading to the wet tank.

The explosion blew a dry oil tank and the wet tank into the water, the DOJ said.

A second dry tank was blown off its base and destroyed a platform crane.

Three workers were killed by the fire and explosions

Several other were seriously burned and injured.

The DOJ said that Wood Group PSN “admitted that its employees were negligent in the way they authorized hot work on West Delta 32, and that a lack of communication between personnel on the platform, including Wood Group PSN’s Person-in-Charge, Christopher Srubar, contributed to the events that caused oil to be discharged into the Gulf of Mexico in a harmful quantity.”

Co-defendants, BEE and GIS face manslaughter charges while Curtis Dantin, Christopher Srubar and Don Moss face criminal violations of the Clean Water Act .

Those cases are being heard in the Eastern District of Louisiana before Judge Jane Triche Milazzo.

BEE also faces eight felony counts of regulatory violations under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the DOJ added. 


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