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Improper Procedures Blamed for Shell Enchilada Platform Explosion that Injured 2 in Gulf of Mexico

Louisiana Maritime Lawyer | Texas Maritime Lawyer | Shell Enchilada Offshore Explosion Lawyer

A failure to follow proper procedures led to an explosion and fire aboard Shell’s Enchilada Gulf of Mexico production platform that left two offshore workers injured last year.

Shell Offshore Platform Explosion Ignited During Pipeline Cleaning Procedure

The blast erupted shortly before 1:30 a.m. on November 8, 2017, as the Enchilada crew loaded a piece of cleaning equipment called a pig launcher into a 30-inch gas pipeline. The workers had just closed the pig launcher door and had begun to pressurize the equipment.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), an explosive gas release occurred when pressure reached 300 psi, causing the door to separate from the pig launcher.

Metal-to-metal contact or electrical arcing likely ignited the resulting fire

Shell Employees Suffered Burns, Concussions, Other Injuries

A 54-year-old Shell employee sustained 2nd-degree burns, back injuries, and a concussion during the incident.

A second Shell employee, age 29, suffered a concussion and sprained wrist.

Emergency responders airlifted the injured men to a hospital in Galveston, Texas. The Enchilada’s remaining crew evacuated to the nearby Salsa oil platform.

Once the platform’s emergency shutdown system was activated, the fire continued to burn for 27 hours.

Poor Supervision, Lack of Hazard Analysis Contributed to Shell Enchilada Explosion

According to a December 7th Safety Bulletin, BSEE investigators concluded that the Enchilada crew failed to follow Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) procedures when they closed the pig launcher door. As a result, the door did not seal properly

Furthermore, they failed to lock out and tag out some of the valves, as outlined in their job procedure.

The BSEE also suggested an inadequate hazard analysis contributed to the accident. Finally, an “excessive number of procedural discrepancies” pointed to a lack of supervision during the procedure.

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Our Undefeated Offshore Injury Lawyers continue to monitor developments in connection with the Shell Enchilada explosion and will post additional updates as new information becomes available.

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