California operator fined for OCS Lands Act violation

The US MMS fined a California offshore oil and gas operator $450,000 on Oct. 7 for violating the OCS Lands Act following a multiyear investigation.

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 7 -- The US Minerals Management Service fined a California offshore oil and gas operator $450,000 on Oct. 7 for violating the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act following a multiyear investigation.

Pacific Operators Offshore LLC pleaded guilty and will also serve 5 years' probation for using a gas lift line in direct contradiction to an MMS order, the US Department of the Interior agency said.

MMS said it notified the Carpenteria, Calif.-based company, which operates two platforms off the state's coast, that the gas lift line was not fit for service in 2000 and that its continued use posed a significant workforce safety risk. MMS also said it notified POO that if it intended to use the gas lift line in the future, it would need to submit a repair plan for MMS's approval.

In 2002, according to MMS, its inspectors determined that POO was still using the gas lift line, and the agency referred the matter to the DOI Inspector General's office for criminal investigation. It added that the US Department of Justice also participated in the inquiry.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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