Our Results: Settlement for the injured and deceased in approximately twelve months.
The ARCO and Southern Natural Gas pipeline cryogenic platform explosion happened on March 19, 1989, in the Gulf of Mexico. Southern Natural Gas Pipelines’ production pipeline was connected to ARCO’s cryogenic platform via a riser that included a large ball valve on a 20 inch diameter pipe. A third-party contractor work boat was moored alongside the cryogenic platform at the location of the riser and ball valve.
The purpose of the work boat was to cold cut the riser just below the large ball valve in a maintenance operation to change out the valves and controls. In preparation for the cold cut, various pressure measurements were taken to ensure that the line being cut was not pressurized. Initial pressure readings were taken that indicated zero line pressure at the location of the cut; however, when the cold cut began there was a release of significant pressure followed by a training effect of hydrocarbon gases and condensate then ignited on contact with the vessels engine, causing the vessel to explode and igniting a stream of gas and condensate which spewed under pressure from the cut riser.
Hugh Lambert acted as co-lead counsel in matters involving liability and causation. Some of the legal issues in this case revolved around the complexities of three phase (gas, liquid, and condensate) petro chemical transmission lines from platforms in the Gulf of Mexico to shore. The Lambert Firm’s efforts resulted in the assignment of liability to various responsible parties and full compensation to the firm’s clients. In addition to achieving a multi-million dollar resolution for its clients, the firm resolved this complex litigation in approximately twelve months. It is important to the firm to accomplish a full recovery for its clients in the shortest possible time frame.