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Transocean Rig Explosion

News Release: (August 8, 2011) The offshore explosion lawyers at Zehl & Associates were recently retained to represent another worker who was injured while working aboard the Deepwater Horizon on April 20, 2010.

The maritime accident attorneys at Zehl & Associates, LLP currently represent a number of individuals who were seriously injured in the tragic explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Officials working on behalf of BP and Transocean are attempting to settle these injury claims for shockingly low amounts, sometimes as little as just one year’s wages. Don’t accept any settlement offer until you have thoroughly discussed it with a knowledgeable Jones Act lawyer. You may be entitled to much more in damages. If you or a loved one were hurt onboard the Deepwater, don’t hesitate to contact our team of experienced offshore injury lawyers today for a free, confidential consultation by calling our toll-free number.

On Tuesday, April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon, an offshore drilling platform owned by Houston-based Transocean Limited, exploded killing 11 workers and injuring over 100 more.

The explosion, which occurred in the Gulf of Mexico about 40 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana in an area known as the Macondo Prospect, left the rig burning and caused it to list badly to one side. By late Wednesday, the rig had slipped beneath the surface of the ocean, leaving a massive environmental disaster in its wake.

At the time of the blast, the platform was drilling but was not actually in production according to Transocean’s spokesperson. The rig was under contract to and being operated by British Petroleum PLC (“BP”). Unfortunately, BP has a long history of operating its facilities in an unsafe manner. Just a few years ago in 2005, a BP refinery exploded in Texas City, Texas killing 15 workers and injuring 300 more. The experienced rig explosion lawyers at Zehl & Associates, LLP successfully represented over 100 individuals injured or killed in that terrible tragedy.

While the cause of the blast has yet to be determined, reports of numerous problems on-board the rig prior to the explosion have given rise to much speculation. Some accuse BP of following improper procedures when it allegedly ordered employees to remove heavy drilling fluid, known in the industry as “mud”, from the drill pipe before placing the final cement plug in the well. Others blame Transocean for relying on a faulty blowout preventer (the well’s last line of defense in case of an emergency) to stop the flow of pressurized oil and gas. Regardless of what actually caused the incident, one thing remains certain: explosions are not supposed to happen.

If Your or a Loved One was Injured in the Transocean Deepwater Horizon Explosion, Click Here or call our toll-free number for a Free Consult with one of our Experienced Rig Explosion Lawyers. The Deadline to File Your Claim is November 15, 2010.

The offshore rig explosion lawyers at Zehl & Associates are prepared to devote whatever resources are necessary to assisting and protecting those injured during the catastrophic Transocean explosion. Having represented over 100 of the workers injured during the 2005 BP Texas City Explosion, our lawyers have the experience needed to hold BP accountable for failing to take measures to prevent the explosion.

After such a traumatic experience, the last thing that you or your family needs to do is worry about what to do next. Let our offshore maritime injury lawyers take care of your future while you and your family focus on the recovery and grieving process. From giving you advice on your rights under the Jones Act to helping with medical and necessary living expenses, the rig explosion attorneys at Zehl & Associates have the knowledge and resources to help get you and your family back on your feet and ready to protect yourselves against one of the largest and most powerful oil companies in the world.

The Deepwater Horizon: A Record-Setting Rig

The Deepwater Horizon, built in 2001, is a 396 foot long, 256 foot wide platform with enough space to carry a crew of 130 individuals. This rig was designed to operate in depths of up to 8,000 feet and can drill to nearly 5.5 miles. At the time of the explosion, the platform was operating in just 5,000 feet of water.

The Deepwater Horizon is a type of rig known as a semi-submersible. These platforms are typically floated to a site where they are partially flooded with seawater and moored using several large anchors. These rigs do not touch the sea floor. Instead, they rest low in the ocean above the drilling site.

In September of 2009, the Deepwater Horizon set a world deepwater drilling record when it managed to drill down to a depth if more than 35,000 feet at another BP site located elsewhere in the Gulf of Mexico.

Transocean operates a total of 140 rigs across the globe with 14 pumping in the Gulf of Mexico alone. According to the Minerals Management Service (MMS), the Gulf is home to a total of 42 rigs that are either actively drilling or undergoing some sort of maintenance in depths of 1,000 feet or more.According to MMS records, since 2001 there have been 858 fires or explosions, 69 deaths and 1,349 injuries reported in the Gulf of Mexico.

Transocean Attempts to Limit Damages it May have to Pay in Lawsuits Filed by Injured Workers and their Families

On May 13th, 2010, Transocean filed a petition in U.S. District Court to limit its liability for the explosion to just over $26 million dollars, the value of the Deepwater Horizon as it currently sits one mile under the surface of the sea. The strategy seeks to take advantage of the 150-year-old Limitation on Liability Act, which was created at a time when the modern insurance industry did not exist.

  • If Transocean is successful in limiting its liability to the current value of the rig and its cargo, the company could profit over $350 million from this tragedy.
  • Because of Transocean’s attempt to limit its damages, injured workers and their families must now file suit by November 15th, 2010, less than six months away. Typically, injured offshore workers have three (3) years from the date of an injury to file a claim.

To avoid public criticism for attempting to deprive workers and their families of damages that they could recover in a lawsuit, Transocean filed its limitation petition the day after it’s corporate representatives appeared before Congress for a hearing regarding the April 20th explosion.

Crucial Test Omitted By BP Just Before Rig Explosion

On April 20th, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon rig suffered a massive blowout and explosion that took the lives of 11 offshore workers and injured over 100 more. Just hours before the blast, a crew from Schlumberger that had been onboard the Deepwater Horizon to test the well’s cement linings was sent home without performing any evaluations. According to a spokesman for Schlumberger, the crew had been on standby for 2 days waiting to perform the important test but was never ordered to do so.

According to testimony in front of a Senate committee, only two out of three tests were performed to test the quality of the cement. While the positive and negative pressure tests were both carried out, a third test called a “cement bond log” was never ordered. This third test is the most critical because it analyzes any anomalies in the cement by using sound to detect cracks, spaces or openings that could allow pressure to escape.

While a cement bond log is an expensive and time-consuming test, it is also the kind of safety check that can determine precisely whether or not a well’s cement lining will hold back the enormous pressure just beneath it. Once again, BP was more concerned with its bottom line than with the safety of its employees.

If you or a loved one have been negatively affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, contact the experienced offshore explosion lawyers at Zehl & Associates today to discuss your rights. Unfortunately, Transocean, the owner of the rig at the time of the blast, is forcing the victims of this horrible tragedy to file their claims by November 15, 2010 at the latest. This means you have less than six (6) months, instead of the normal 3 years from the date of the injury, to formally file your lawsuit or risk being forever barred from collecting compensation.

Cementing the Well: A History of Failure

There were many potential causes of the April 20th, 2010 oil rig explosion that killed 11 offshore workers and injured another 100 just off the southern tip of Louisiana. One of these causes could have been the cement used to seal the well and keep the highly-pressurized oil and gas contained. According to a recent Associated Press article, in the past 30 years alone the Minerals Management Service has found the cementing process to be responsible for over 30 offshore ‘accidents’.

Formal regulations over this process are virtually nonexistent with the only guidelines available being those provided by industry-affiliated groups like the American Petroleum Institute. At the same time, extensive regulations, on both the state and federal level cover almost every other use of concrete imaginable including in buildings, roads and bridges.

As the investigation continues to sift through the clues, Transocean, the owner of the rig at the time of the blast, is pointing an accusatory finger at the cement job.

A review of the most recent offshore incidents includes one that occurred in November of 2005 involving none other than the Deepwater Horizon. While positioned over a well in the Gulf of Mexico, the Horizon’s well casing blew apart due to improper cementing resulting in the spilling of thousands of gallons of heavy drilling fluid, also known as “mud”, directly into the sea.