Apr 25 2010

Growing Risks for Offshore Oil Rigs

With the recent Transocean rig explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon that occurred on April 20th, there has been an awakening regarding the growing risks for oil companies that are drilling deeper into the crust of the earth. More and more companies are digging deeper in order to satisfy the fuel demands for international and domestic usage. In the U.S., there is said to be more deep water areas being opened up for oil exploration. Companies are even beginning preparations for reserves located off the coasts of Angola and Brazil. Furthermore, the U.S. economy is in need of jobs. Recently, President Obama answered the “drill baby drill” chant when he presented his National Energy Plan. In doing so, he opened up from Delaware to Florida for potential deep water drilling, additional leases in the Gulf of Mexico and other reserves in the Alaska Regions. The Transocean rig explosion, and the safety concerns it has brought to the forefront, will require this new exploration and production to be done at a safety standard that will negate the potential of another Deepwater Horizon explosion.

Transocean is a company based in Houston, Texas. The Deepwater Horizon was being rented by British Petroleum [ BP ] at the time it exploded. BP was paying around $500,000.00, a half of a million dollars a day, to utilize this semi-submersible drill ship! This incident is a grave reminder to the world about the risks involved with drilling for more oil during this era of dwindling reserves. It is becoming more and more dangerous even with the advancements in technology.

As Robert Bryce, an energy expert, stated, drilling for oil in deep water is “similar to high-stakes casino”. It has market risks, capital risks and engineering risks. When all put together, the risks are extremely hard to quantify.

Before the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon, it was known for recently breaking a world record for drill depth. It was able to operate in waters as deep at 8,000 feet and had the ability to punch 32,000 feet into the crust of the earth. It was equipped with a movie theater and a bowling alley as well. It was known to be one of the biggest and most advanced engineering projects in the world. It was a fifth generation exploration rig. Most recently, it was working in BP’s crude oil region, called Tiber, which is located in the Gulf of Mexico.

What went wrong aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig is still unknown, but an investigation will be constructed with a main focus on mechanical malfunction and human error. Oil rigs are known for battling hurricanes and fires, but  explosions like the one that occurred on April 20th should not occur without the presence of gross negligence.

All of the injured persons are covered by the Jones Act which is a highly specialized area of the law. It would be foolish to hire a lawyer that does not an experienced maritime lawyer or maritime law firm.

We are honored to say, that because of our prior experience successfully suing Transocean in wrongful death matters, our firm was hired before all other maritime law firms to prosecute a lawsuit against Transocean, British Petroleum and others.

If you would like to get in touch with a Transocean rig explosion lawyer, you can give Gordon, Elias & Seely f/k/a/ Gordon & Elias a call today at 1-800-773-6770.