4 Most Staggering Oil Rig Explosions in the United States’ History

July 15, 2019

When working in the oil industry, being aware of the prospect of oilfield injuries is crucial.

The Bureau of Labor cites more than 2,300 oil rig injuries in any given year, including nearly 200 fatal injuries. Because you are dealing with caustic materials, it’s important to stay vigilant about preventing and dealing with these injuries as they arise.

As the adage goes, to learn about the present and future, you must study the past. The points below illustrate some noteworthy oil rig explosion incidents in history.

Let’s look at some of the most notable oil rig accidents below.

1. Fieldwood Energy Louisiana Explosion – (2014)

In 2014, an oil rig owned by the Houston-based Fieldwood Energy exploded and caught fire just outside Louisiana.

The explosion led to three people being seriously injured, and one person was killed. This was a human life tragedy rather than an environmental catastrophe because no oil spilled into Louisiana waters.

The rig wasn’t producing oil at the time, and the explosion was caused by an accident while repairing a heating system. Corrosion in one of the heater’s tubes caused a collapse and a fire that couldn’t be contained in time.

2. Deepwater Horizon – (2010)

Pictures of this oil explosion are often circulated when discussing oil safety and risks.

This Panamanian registered vessel experienced an explosion that caused water and sludge to skyrocket 240 feet into the air. The rig was eventually rescued, though it was considered a total loss.

Once it was all said and done, this rig explosion created more than $200 million in damages. The company also had to pay more than a billion dollars in punitive damages for violating the US Clean Ocean Act.

They also had to pay billions of dollars in settlements to victims of the spill.

Reports show that 11 people were killed in this explosion, and 17 others were seriously injured. Several others had to be airlifted to the hospital to be treated for more minor injuries.

After extensive studies, it was revealed that part of the reason the explosion occurred was that Deepwater Horizon personnel had not been as thorough and consistent with routine inspections as they should have been.

The oil rig had also been hit with six non-compliance citations throughout its operation.

3. Quinton, OK – (2018)

With this 2018 incident, the vessel experienced damages to the main deck, to the point that it caused five deaths and several injuries.

After an investigation into the incident, it was said that the explosion occurred because natural gas that was supposed to be contained was released, thus triggering combustion.

It was also said that the setup didn’t have equipment that was durable enough to contain and prevent the spread from occurring. Aside from the equipment, the alarms onsite were disabled before the explosion broke out.

As such, the response time was slow, and authorities couldn’t save lives in a timely manner. After undergoing a report into the situation, the big takeaway is that while the United States is drilling more than ever, the advancement of regulations and safeguards hasn’t kept up.

The drilling plan and methods before this explosion were a big area of interest during the following investigations.

The Quinton explosion also urged the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to shore up the holes in these policies. Advancing these policies would improve the safety of oil drilling projects as a whole.

4. Mariner Energy Vermilion – (2010)

Louisiana has been hit with several oil spills, including the Taylor Oil spill of 2004, which happened as a result of Hurricane Ivan, and after spilling 1.5 million gallons, continues to this day.

While this spill didn’t result in fatalities, the Vermilion Block 380 A Platform oil rig explosion caused 13 people to be rescued from the United States Gulf Coast. One person needed significant medical treatment for injuries, and all of the rescued workers were hospitalized following the explosion.

This oil rig had been around since 1980 and was acquired by the Mariner Energy Company, a Houston-based oil enterprise.

The rig exploded the morning of September 2010 when it was undergoing maintenance and wasn’t fully operational.

Reports state that when the oil rig exploded, the fire could be seen 100 miles away. While the entire oil rig was engulfed in fire, its automated shut-off system was able to contain the spill.

At the time of the incident, this oil rig produced nearly 60,000 gallons of oil per day. Part of the reason that pollution was contained is that the fire broke out in a production area rather than in the heart of drilling operations.

Later that year, Mariner Energy sold the oil rig to the Apache Corporation for close to $3 billion.

Stay Up to Date on Oil Rig Explosion News and Notes

As you can see, oil rig explosions and injuries come with the territory. It is a constant source of concern that people in the oil & gas industry must keep in mind to avoid these accidents and take action whenever they occur.

Be sure that you take note of these incidents so that you can learn from them. These accidents are points of interest from both a personal injury point of view and to protect the environment.

Contact our experienced oil rig explosion lawyer for a free, confidential consultation if you need legal representation after an accident.

Get a Free Case Review by Calling Morrow & Sheppard Now.

We’re available 24/7.

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