Mississippi worker on oil platform pleads guilty to discharging hazardous material into Gulf of Mexico
Published 6:46 am Saturday, April 2, 2022
A Mississippi man who was the person in charge of an oil and gas production platform pleaded guilty to the negligent discharge of a hazardous substance into the Gulf of Mexico.
United States Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that Patrick Huse, 40, of Perkinston, pleaded guilty on Friday to a violation of Title 33, United States Code, Section 1321(b)(3) and 1319(c)(1)(A).
According to the guilty plea, Huse was employed as a “Person-in-Charge” ( “PIC”) on Main Pass 310A (“MP-310A”), an oil and gas production platform. In July 2015, workers on MP-310A noticed a sheen on the surface of the surface of the water surrounding the platform. The sheen meant that the platform was discharging oil or other hazardous substances into the Gulf of Mexico. The workers alerted HUSE, a PIC on MP-310A. The workers told HUSE that they believed the sheen to be the result of sand buildup in filtration equipment on MP-310A. HUSE ordered the workers to remove the sand buildup from the filtration equipment in lieu of a complete shut-in, hoping the sheen would dissipate. These measures failed to stop the platform from sheening, so the workers shut down the platform through an emergency shutdown of the entire platform.
Huse faces a maximum term of imprisonment of one year, a fine of $2,500 to $25,000 per day of violation, a maximum term of supervised release of up to one year, and a $25 mandatory special assessment fee. Sentencing has been scheduled by District Judge Barry Ashe for July 7, 2022.
United States Attorney Evans praised the work of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior Office of Inspector General, Energy Investigations Unit, in investigating this matter. Assistant United States Attorneys Spiro G. Latsis and J. Ryan McLaren are in charge of the prosecution.