- Associated Press - Friday, November 21, 2014

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - An Oklahoma energy corporation has pleaded guilty to knowingly violating the federal Clean Water Act by discharging pollutants into Breton Sound and the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite said XPLOR Energy SPV-1, Inc., based in Southlake, Texas, entered the plea Thursday inside of a one-count bill of information. Polite, in a news release, said the charges stem from the company’s oil and gas production activities in the Breton Sound area of the Gulf.

As part of the plea, XPLOR has agreed to pay a $3.1 million penalty and serve a three-year term of probation. If the court accepts the plea, Polite said $2.5 million of the penalty would go to the U.S. Treasury and $600,000 would go to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Trust Fund.

“Our federal and state law enforcement partners are committed to protecting our state’s environment,” Polite said. “Our citizens simply demand that businesses not illegally pollute the waterways that sit at the center of our culture and economy.”

According to the court documents, from on or about Nov. 24, 1997, until Nov. 18, 2011, XPLOR operated the MP 35 offshore facility and was tasked with disposing of “produced water” or brine that is produced with the extracted oil and natural gas into wells in the Gulf near the platform.

XPLOR transferred ownership and operation of the platform to another corporation in 2011 and the new owner notified authorities that the platform was discharging the pollutant into the waters. “Despite knowing of this consistent discharge from the injection lines and the insufficient capacity of their disposal wells, XPLOR failed to adequately repair these faulty injection lines and disposal wells,” Polite said.

XPLOR’s actions resulted in a monetary gain to them of about $1.5 million.

U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance set sentencing for March 4, 2015.

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