Plug and Abandon Projects

Offshore Oil RigLouisiana Offshore Accident Injury Attorney

Since the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the government has announced that it will step up the process of plugging and abandoning more than 20,000 inactive oil or gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico. Although inactive, none of these wells are risk free, many still capable of pressures in excess of 10,000 psi or 20,000 psi. Unfortunately for the oil field worker, most oil companies try to get by with as little expense to P&A a well as possible because that expense cuts directly in the profit generated by that once producing, and now dead, well. This leads to use of inadequate equipment, untrained personnel and cost-cutting shortcuts, which many times lead to serious injuries in this dangerous environment.

For an offshore P&A worker, his rights depend on many factors such as the job he was doing, whether the accident happened in federal waters, state waters or inland bays, and the type of structure he was working on at the time of the accident, even on land wells. The general maritime law considers P&A barges, jackup drilling rigs, and liftboats to be vessels, no different than crew boats, supply boats, or cruise ships. Workers permanently assigned to these vessels enjoy the status of being Jones Act seamen. Other P&A workers who do transitory work on these vessels, such as wireline crews, casing crews, company men, construction crews, blast and paint crews, and the like, are generally considered maritime employees. Since the oil and gas industry began exploration over water during the mid-20th century, many types of floating structures have been used as workplaces.

It is extremely important that your attorney be experienced with the detailed construction, operation and function of those structures in order to ensure that the injured offshore worker maximizes his monetary recovery. It is equally important that your attorney be very familiar with all the structures, equipment, well characteristics, and service companies involved. This often means the difference between winning and losing a case. As an attorney and former oil field engineer, Mr. Matt has the expertise necessary to have the court recognize the proper legal classification of these structures and the proper legal classification of the injured worker in order to protect his rights and the rights of his family.

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