Archive for the ‘BP Rig Explosion’ Category

2 workers burned at BP’s Texas City plant

BP has issued a statement that two workers at its Texas City plant were admitted to hospital after suffering burns caused by steam.  The accident happened at approximately 4:00pm on Tuesday September 21st as the workers were working at Pipestill 3B.  One injured worker was life-flighted to UTMB Galveston and the other taken by ambulance to Mainland Medical Center in Texas City. The beleaguered BP Texas City plant is the site of the 2005 explosion that killed 15 workers and injured 170 more.  The refinery is currently under investigation for an apparent 41-day release of Benzene that occurred at the same time as the explosion on the Deep Horizon rig.

Oil spill legal battle may be costliest ever

Legal experts and attorneys nationwide are predicting that the legal battle between BP, Transocean, Cameron International, Halliburton Co. and the thousands of victims of the spill in the Gulf may be the costliest ever of its kind. So far about 300 federal lawsuits have been filed in 12 states against BP and the three other main companies involved in the April 20 explosion on board the Deepwater Horizon rig. BP leased the rig, Transocean owned it, Cameron built the failed blowout preventer and Halliburton was the well contractor.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuits are a diverse range of businesses and individuals along the Gulf Coast: shrimp boat captains, oystermen, charter boat operators, restaurants, bars, taxi cab operators, seafood suppliers, bait and tackle shops, hotel and condo owners and others.  A few wrongful death and injury lawsuits have been filed by surviving workers and some family members of the 11 men who perished.

BP’s liability is already larger than the Exxon Valdez case, which ultimately led to a $500 million payout to affected fishermen and other residents.  The BP case will differ in important ways from other mass tort lawsuits such as Vioxx or asbestos where people died or suffered illness as a direct result of the product.  While it may be relatively straightforward for an oysterman whose oyster beds were choked with oil to prove his losses, how do you prove losses for a beach front hotel owner whose business dropped off, or a property owner selling a beach house whose property is now worth less?

Read the Houston Chronicle story on the anticipated cost and problems of the legal battle against BP here.

Deepwater Horizon rig safety alarm “set to snooze”

Friday July 23, 2010: Transocean Chief Engineer technician Mike Williams told a Marine Board panel that a computer monitoring fire, gas and toxic fume sensors was working at the time of the rig explosion, however the alarm had been “inhibited.”  The ultimate effect of setting the alarm this way was to cause the sensors to send information to the computer, but for the computer to NOT trigger an alarm. Williams also testified that inhibiting the system this way prevents the computer from activating emergency shut down systems designed to stop or minimize damage. Williams said the reason this decision was made is because the rig’s supervisors did not want people woken at 3:00am by false alarms.

Read’s report on the story here

Read the Houston Chronicle’s report on the story here