Black Elk Energy: Fatal fire hit finances, production
WASHINGTON - Houston-based Black Elk Energy says it is still dealing with financial fallout from last year's fatal explosion at one of its Gulf of Mexico production platforms, even as federal investigators continue to probe the company's overall safety.
The company said the accident hurt its financial results, that its oil production slowed because of delays in obtaining permits for ordinary maintenance work and that it spent more than expected for "non-recurring regulatory, legal and platform restoration costs" tied to the incident. Black Elk provided the updates in investor guidance for the second half of 2013.
The company forecast that for July through December of this year, its daily production will average 13,500 to 14,500 barrels of oil equivalent, capital expenditures will be $45 million to $55 million, and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization will be $75 million to $85 million.
Three people died and several others were injured in the explosion and fire last Nov. 16 at Black Elk's West Delta 32 production platform 18 miles off Louisiana. The federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement still is probing the incident, but the company has said a cutting torch may have ignited flammable vapors on the platform standing in 56 feet of water. Black Elk Energy has promised to release the report from a third-party investigation the company commissioned.
At the safety bureau's request, Black Elk gave the federal regulators a "performance improvement plan" last December and submitted an analysis of its previous violations in January. Facilities that were not producing at the time of the explosion were forced to stay offline temporarily.