U.S. lawmakers want to question Grand Isle Shipyard on rig fire

WASHINGTON Mon Dec 3, 2012 5:21pm EST

WASHINGTON Dec 3 (Reuters) - Top Democratic lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives want to know more about the involvement of oilfield contractor Grand Isle Shipyard in an explosion last month on a Black Elk Energy oil rig off the Louisiana coast.

"Reports indicate that the explosion may have involved maintenance welding work by Grand Isle Shipyard, which has a history of accidents," the lawmakers said in a release on Monday, asking the company for a briefing by Dec. 6.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lawmakers included Henry Waxman and Edward Markey, the senior Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce and House Natural Resources committees, respectively. They have also sought a briefing from Black Elk executives.

The Nov. 16 Black Elk explosion and fire occurred when workers were welding a pipe on the deck of West Delta Block 32 platform, south of Grand Isle, Louisiana. Three workers died.

Regulators have told Black Elk to take immediate steps to improve safety and gave it until Dec. 15 to submit a plan.

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