Black Elk Energy

A US board, which investigates chemical spills, refinery explosions and other industrial accidents, has issued a subpoena to Black Elk Energy in connection with last week’s oil rig blast in the Gulf of Mexico.

The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) will obtain complete information on the incident that left one crew member dead, another missing and several others seriously injured.

The rig operator is required to provide information pertaining to the use of combustible natural gas detectors, safety and environmental management systems and policies in place, as well as prior safety violations or citations.

Black Elk will have until 30 November to respond to the subpoena, based on which the board will decide on the need to launch a probe into the incident, reports Reuters.

Meanwhile, the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has commenced the investigation on the blast and interacted with the rig operator’s employees onboard the platform as part of evidence collection.

BSSE will also review the safety measures prevailing on the platform to compile information on the blast.

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By GlobalData

BSEE Director James Watson said: "BSEE personnel have been working around the clock inspecting the facility, meeting with witnesses and reviewing all available technical documents to ensure that we are able to obtain an accurate representation of what happened on West Delta 32 early Friday morning.

"Black Elk will have until 30 November to respond to the subpoena."

"When all of the information is collected and analyzed, BSEE will be in a position to decide which enforcement actions are appropriate and more importantly, how BSEE and the offshore industry can learn from this tragic event in order to prevent loss of life and injuries from future accidents."

The explosion occurred when workers used torches to separate a pipeline on the deck of West Delta Block 32 platform, about 17 miles south-east of Grand Isle, Louisiana.

Black Elk, in its latest release said that the ongoing dive operations will continue to search the missing worker who is feared dead and reiterated that it would support the victims of the incident and their families and is cooperating with authorities investigating the incident.

Including the worker who died and the other still missing, 14 of the crew members belong to Grand Isle Shipyard, based in Louisiana, US.

Image: Headquarters of US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of AgnosticPreachersKid.