On Sunday, October 15, 2017 at approximately 7:18 p.m., an oil and gas platform explosion occurred in Lake Pontchartrain. The platform explosion and subsequent fire injured eight nearby workers. Although the cause of the platform explosion is currently unknown, authorities have indicated that a cleaning operation was ongoing. Additionally, a supply boat was on location, which luckily sustained little enough damage to help rescue several of the workers from the water. Authorities also report that a natural gas line was the source of the explosion and fire. This means that a significant oil spill into Lake Pontchartrain may hopefully be avoided. Regardless, the event has left many concerned citizens questioning how this happened. A full explanation will not be available until after a completed investigation, but we can still answer a few questions now.
What is a commingling facility?
The platform explosion in Lake Pontchartrain involved a commingling facility. This type of facility is used to combine gas and/or liquid hydrocarbon production before sales from two or more leases and/or units. Simply put, the facility “commingles” produced gas and oil from multiple sources before it is allocated to the owner of the well from which it came. This presents several difficult issues, like how to determine whose oil and gas belong to whom, since they can be coming from different lease holders and well owners. Consequently, the state requires a special application and permit for a commingling facility that details 1) A diagram of the facility showing all vessels and allocation meters from well head to sales point; 2) A written explanation of the flow of production through the facility (the explanation must accurately describe the facility depicted in the diagram), including the procedures and frequency for calibrating meters and allocation formula to be utilized; and 3) A list of all parties who have an interest in production from the leases and/or units being added to the commingling facility including names and addresses. More information on commingling on state leases can be found here.
Oil and Gas Platform Explosion Injuries
The Louisiana offshore injury attorneys at The Lambert Firm have handled injury claims for offshore workers for over 35 years. We are committed to ensuring that you and your loved ones receive the best medical care and maximum compensation. If you have been hurt in an oil and gas platform explosion or other maritime accident, contact the experienced attorneys at The Lambert Firm today.