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Federal Officials Investigating Fatal Accident at GOM Platform

Drilling activities at a project in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico were halted Friday after a Nabors Industries Ltd. employee was killed, federal regulators said.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is investigating the incident, which occurred on Whistler Energy II LLC’s Platform A in Green Canyon (GC) Block 18, about 150 miles south of New Orleans. No other injuries were reported and there was no pollution reported.

“All drilling operations have been suspended and will remain suspended until BSEE grants approval to resume drilling,” officials said. “As this is a platform rig with production from a separate deck, production has continued.”

BSEE investigators “are actively engaging with the operator and will investigate the incident. As weather permits, BSEE inspectors and investigators will visit the location.” Whistler is cooperating in the investigation, company officials said.

The GC Block 18 platform, originally set in 1987, is a 30-slot, 25,000-ton structure in 760 feet of water, 79 miles south of Port of Fourchon. It is rated at 30,000 b/d.

Whistler acquired full ownership in GC blocks 18 and 60 in 2013 from an ExxonMobil Corp. affiliate and W&T Offshore Inc. and began a major refurbishment of Platform 18 shortly thereafter. The producer is owned through a partnership of private equity giants Apollo Global Management and Freepoint Commodities.

Houston’s Epic Management Resources LLC managed the platform’s refurbishment. Oilfield services contractor Nabors was hired by Whistler, according to the company.

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