Louisiana Company to Pay $715,000 for Spills
ORB Exploration LLC has agreed to pay civil penalties and state response costs and to implement corrective measures following alleged violations of the U.S. Clean Water Act after three crude oil spills that occurred in 2013 and 2015.
The spills occurred from ORB’s Louisiana facilities at Frog Lake and Crocodile Bayou – both located in the Atchafalaya River Basin. ORB allegedly spilled over 1,000 barrels of Louisiana crude oil into the Atchafalaya River Basin during the three spills. The largest occurred at Frog Lake in 2013, after a corroded oil transfer pipeline ruptured in a flooded wetland area. The cleanup took over a year and a half and required significant state-federal cooperation. The other two releases occurred in September and October of 2015, from ORB’s Frog Lake and Crocodile Bayou oil production facilities into bayou waters surrounding the facilities.
The U.S. Department of Justice states that ORB will pay $615,000 in federal civil penalties for the spills and other Clean Water Act violations, pay the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality $100,000 for civil penalties and response costs and carry out relief measures to improve spill response preparedness and prevent future oil spills.
The corrective measures ORB is required to take include improving secondary containment capability at the Frog Lake facility, increasing the frequency of facility inspections and monitoring for oil spills, providing additional advance notice to the U.S. Coast Guard before any future oil transfer operation and installation of accurate gauges on production and transfer equipment to allow for and improve accountability and spill detection capabilities.
“Discharges of oil into the navigable waters of the United States are an ongoing concern as they pose an obvious and serious risk to the marine environment,” said Rear Admiral Dave Callahan, Eighth Coast Guard District Commander. “This enforcement action emphasizes our dedication to protecting our natural resources and preventing future pollution from these facilities.”