Creditors File Involuntary Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition And Motion to Appoint Trustee Against Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations, LLC

On August 11, 2015, Grand Ltd., Gulf Offshore Logistics, LLC, Ryan Marine Services, Inc. and Laredo Construction Inc. (collectively, the “Petitioning Creditors”) filed an involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition against Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations, LLC (“Black Elk”).On August 25, 2015, the Petitioning Creditors filed an Emergency Motion for an Order Appointing an Interim Trustee Under 11 U.S.C. § 701 and Granting Emergency Relief (the “Trustee Motion”).According to the Trustee Motion, Black Elk’s financial troubles began in November 2012, when an explosion in its facility in the Gulf of Mexico, the West Delta 32-E platform, resulted in the death of three workers.  After an extensive investigation, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (“BSEE”) cited Black Elk for multiple violations and Black Elk faced multiple civil lawsuits.  In addition, federal prosecutors, in August 2015, filed a six-count criminal complaint against Black Elk for alleged violations of offshore safety regulations. Trustee Motion at 3.Notably, the Petitioning Creditors’ Trustee Motion identifies two transactions in which the Petitioning Creditors assert are potential fraudulent transfers and/or preferences.  First, Black Elk sold seven operated and one non-operated properties to Renaissance Offshore, LLC and, according to the Trustee Motion, funneled the majority of the sale proceeds to its insiders.  Shortly thereafter, Black Elk’s founder and CEO, John Hoffman, along with several other key executives, left Black Elk.  The Petitioning Creditors also challenge the merits of a subsequent sale to Northstar Offshore Group, LLC.  Trustee Motion at 4-5.The bankruptcy case is pending as In re Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations, LLC [Case No. 15-34287] in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division.  The case has been assigned to Bankruptcy Judge Letitia Z. Paul.A copy of the Trustee Motion can be accessed here: Download Trustee Motion. For further information, please contact a Thompson & Knight Bankruptcy and Restructuring Attorney.  For more information on the Thompson & Knight’s Bankruptcy and Restructuring Practice, please visit www.tklaw.com/bankruptcy-and-restructuring.