BOEMRE: Heater-treater collapse caused Mariner platform fire

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, May 26 -- The collapse of a fire tube inside the heater-treater on Mariner Energy Inc.’s Vermilion 380-A platform caused a Sept. 2 fire on the platform 102 miles off Louisiana, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement said on May 25.

It said its accident investigation panel found that the fire tube on the nearly 30-year-old piece of equipment had been weakened over time from heat, corrosion, pitting, and other factors. The heater-treater used heat from a fire tube as well as chemicals and electricity to separate oily emulsions into oil and water.

Investigators also found that after the platform lost primary power because of the fire, the emergency generator failed to start and supply power to the firewater pump, leaving the 13-member crew without a firewater system to aid them in trying to fight the fire, according to BOEMRE. Ultimately, the crew was forced to evacuate the platform, and all were later transported to safety, it said.

The investigation panel interviewed the platform’s crew, reviewed documentary and physical evidence, examined equipment onboard the platform, and consulted with an oil production platform and heater-treater expert, the US Department of the Interior agency said.

BOEMRE said its investigators recommended that Mariner be issued several incidents of noncompliance, which may be used as the basis of future civil penalties. The agency said it will now consider the panel’s recommendations before taking further action, and that production from the platform remains shut-in until BOEMRE personnel approve all safety and structural corrections.

BOEMRE noted that it has issued a safety alert to oil and gas operators to address the investigation’s findings as a way to inform the offshore industry of circumstances surrounding the accident and offer recommendations that help to prevent such an incident’s recurrence. It has posted the safety alert online at www.boemre.gov/safetyalerts/9.htm

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

Shell submits revisions to its 2015 Chukchi Sea exploration plan

08/29/2014 Shell Offshore Inc. submitted revisions to its previously approved Chukchi Sea exploration plan on Aug. 28, a spokesman for the company confirmed. ...

BLM announces California oil, gas strategy as CCST issues report

08/29/2014 The US Bureau of Land Management’s California state office announced a comprehensive strategy for its oil and gas program in the state after receiv...

California lawmakers pass in-state gas system methane emissions bill

08/28/2014 The California Senate passed a bill aimed at curbing methane emissions from intrastate natural gas pipelines and local distribution systems. SB 137...

CNRL files OSCA application with AER for Grouse oil sands project

08/27/2014 Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. has submitted an Oil Sands Conservation Act application with Alberta Energy Regulator for its Grouse steam-assisted...

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected