Offshore Oil Work Increasing - Oil Rig Lawyer Cites Risk

As the U.S. oil and gas workers in the Gulf of Mexico prepare to suit up to meet the U.S. energy demands of the future, Jim Adler, a Jones Act expert and offshore accident attorney, worries that offshore workers don’t have enough information regarding a federal law meant to protect them.

Online PR News – 18-October-2011 – – Houston, Texas - Drilling for oil is on the verge of a boom in the Gulf of Mexico. Scores of workers will soon be heading to offshore oil or gas drilling rigs or platforms as the U.S. rushes to meet growing demand and reduce, if not end, its dependence on foreign oil.

Jim Adler, a Jones Act expert and offshore accident attorney, worries that "offshore workers don’t have enough information about a federal law meant to protect them."

The Jones Act, originally passed in 1920 to protect maritime workers, was extended to protect offshore oil workers. that aspect of the law has not received much publicity. Adler fears that "the rush to drill offshore will leave scores of workers’ families with no clear picture of what to do after a loved one is injured or killed offshore."
He also adds, "a floating oil rig or platform is an unforgiving environment." This September, 10 offshore workers doing a seismic study had to abandon a disabled liftboat or jack-up rig in the Gulf during a near-hurricane strength tropical storm. Only six survived.

Drilling in the Gulf has its own set of dangers too. Among them are heavy machinery that is constantly moving, extreme noise levels and lengthy shifts with hard physical labor that involves constant attention to detail.

The lack of attention to detail could have caused the massive BP Deepwater Horizon  explosion that killed 11 offshore oil workers in April 2010. This year, the federal government began a criminal investigation into allegations that BP failed to properly contact federal regulators about deviations in “drilling margins,” a condition that could have led to the disaster.  

Nevertheless, BP is now asking the federal government for permission to drill in the Gulf again, using what it calls “enhanced” safety standards to reduce the risk of offshore accident injury. The request has its skeptics, including an oil rig lawyer like Adler.

Meanwhile, Shell Oil Company is reactivating five wells in the Gulf of Mexico and plans another. ExxonMobil recently announced that it had made the biggest discovery of oil reserves there in more than 10 years. And next spring, the federal government will open up bidding for oil leases in the Gulf again.

Alder further adds, "more offshore drilling will mean more offshore accidents. All the more reason that workers and their families need to be aware of the Jones Act. In the hands of an experienced Jones Act claims attorney, this tough legal remedy readily paves the way for workers and their families to recover monetary damages for the danger they face offshore."

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