$4.2 million penalty in deadly 2012 platform fire
NEW ORLEANS - An energy company has reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors, avoiding manslaughter charges and agreeing to a $4.2 million penalty in connection with a 2012 offshore oil platform fire that killed three workers.
Court documents show Houston-based Black Elk Energy pleaded guilty Friday to nine criminal charges involving safety and environmental violations related to the Nov. 16, 2012, fire off Louisiana's coast. Prosecutors agreed to seek dismissal of three involuntary manslaughter counts.
The plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court in New Orleans says prosecutors believe the agreement is appropriate because the company is in bankruptcy proceedings. The penalty will be listed as an unsecure claim in the bankruptcy case. Also, prosecutors said the company won't re-emerge as an oil-and-gas operator.
Formal sentencing was set for August.