Texas-Fumes From Oil Tanker Truck Kill Two Workers
June 28, 2016
Two workers died after they were apparently overcome by fumes at a South Bexar County trucking business near Atascosa, Texas Tuesday.
Emergency crews were called to Pinnacle Truck, Trailer & Rail at 17601 I-35 South, near Lucky Road around 10 a.m. Tuesday morning. A spokesperson for the Bexar County Fire Marshal's Office said workers were employees at the business and were both in their 20s.
"The company receives empty crude oil tankers. They vent them for 24 hours to prepare the tankers to receive more crude oil," explained Bexar County Fire Marshal spokesperson Laura Jesse. "One of gentleman workers entered the tanker without it being property vented," she said. "He was overcome by the fumes when he entered the tank."
The second employee also became overcome by the fumes. Co-workers said they last saw the workers around 9:30 a.m. and found them about 30 minutes later.
Settlement Ends Trial In Deadly 2012 Oil Platform Fire
June 28, 2016
A settlement Monday brought an abrupt end to a complex trial combining 10 lawsuits arising from a deadly explosion and fire on an offshore oil platform in November 2012.
The accident off the Louisiana coast killed three workers and injured several others on a platform owned by Texas-based Black Elk Energy.
Those involved in the cases included relatives of the workers killed, injured workers and companies that were working for Black Elk. Settlements on some of the claims and counterclaims were reached before and during the trial. The final settlement was announced Monday morning and a jury seated a week earlier was dismissed.
Charles Talley, attorney for Black Elk, and Frank Spagnoletti, representing some of the injured workers, said terms were confidential.
"Significant compensation was paid to those who went through an absolutely horrific and tragic accident," Spagnoletti said. "We're happy to have it resolved."
The platform was about 17 miles from Grand Isle, Louisiana, in about 50 feet of water. It was shut down for maintenance and was not producing oil at the time of the explosion on Nov. 16, 2012.
A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S is intensifying its search for acquisitions to build up its oil unit as the Danish shipping and petroleum conglomerate loses Qatar, the biggest field in its portfolio.
“We’re getting some resources freed up now,” Maersk Oil Chief Executive Officer Jakob Thomasen said in an interview. “We appreciate the clarity that we now have after Qatar and can focus on other areas.”
Maersk said on Monday it will stop its 25-year involvement in the Al Shaheen offshore field when the current agreement expires in July 2017, after losing a bid for renewal. In a separate statement, Total SA said it won the tender.
Maersk Oil has struggled with declining output from its maturing fields in the Danish North Sea and needs acquisitions for the unit to achieve critical scale. Qatar made up close to half the company’s 2015 production and has contributed the most to Maersk Oil’s production for the better part of the past decade.
“We see good opportunities for creating value in the North Sea area,” Thomasen said, while declining to respond to a question about concrete talks with potential takeover targets. “We’re still on the look-out for expanding the business.”
Maersk last week fired Group CEO Nils Smedegaard Andersen and Chairman Michael Pram Rasmussen said the company, which owns the world’s biggest container line as well as a terminal operator and a drilling division, may split up its operations into separate entities.
Credit Suisse said in a note last week that the Al Shaheen oil field probably contributes as much as two-thirds of Maersk Oil’s cash flow and that a renewal of the tender may influence the board’s view of the strategic relevance of the division.
Helis Set To Begin Controversial Drilling Project In St. Tammany
June 27, 2016
Standing under a drilling apparatus that reaches nearly 200 feet into the air, Helis Oil & Gas Co. project manager Mike Barham said Monday the company could start drilling its controversial St. Tammany Parish well as early as Wednesday.
The drilling rig has been assembled, thousands of feet of pipe are stacked nearby and three 600-horsepower diesel engines hummed as Barham led a group on a brief tour of the site.
When the bit finally punctures the surface, it will be the culmination of more than two years of work, legal wrangling and public debate in St. Tammany, normally and oil-industry friendly parish.
The Helis project — which could eventually make use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking — has been controversial almost from the start, drawing a challenge from opponents who packed public meetings, fought permits and forced the parish council to spend nearly $200,000 suing the state.
That fight isn’t over — in a last gasp move, the parish council and the group Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany have asked the state Supreme Court to reconsider the court’s refusal to hear their appeal of a lower court ruling.
For now, however, the work on the three-acre pad is going forward, and Barham was eager to show not just the drilling rig, but also some of the environmental safety measures the company has put into place: a dozen wells that will be used to test water quality, a stormwater collection and filtration system and an air monitoring station.
He also showed an array of trailers housing offices, work stations and space for the
Argentina Oil Workers Go On Strike, Warn Of Longer Walkout
June 27, 2016
Oil workers in much of Argentina launched a 48-hour strike Monday, with a labor union saying the action could be extended if demands for higher wages are not met.
If oil producers and services companies do not agree to increase wages by at least 30% before the end of Tuesday, the strike will continue through Wednesday, Jorge Avila, secretary general of the Union of Private Oil and Gas Workers in Chubut, said in a statement over the weekend.
If there is still no response by the end of Wednesday, then the walkout will go on "indefinitely", he said.
The strike had originally been planned for much of Patagonia, a southern region that produces most of the country's oil and natural gas. But it gained adherence by unions elsewhere in the region as well as in the northwestern province of Salta, according to the statement.
This means the strike is affecting about 99% of Argentina's 530,000 b/d of oil production and 88% of its 123 million cu m/d of gas, according to data from industry group Argentine Oil and Gas Institute.
Avila said workers at two oil-loading terminals in Patagonia also walked off the job, interrupting crude shipments for domestic and international delivery.
Argentina exports about 10% of its crude production, and ships the rest domestically to refiners, most of them in the central region of Buenos Aires.