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The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has warned Houston-based oil and gas company Black Elk Energy that unless it dramatically improves its safety practices it will not be allowed to operate in federal waters, the Houston Business Journal reported.

In a letter sent to the company's CEO, John Hoffman, the federal agency stated that Black Elk had managed to successfully complete 35 of the improvement tasks outlined in its plan submitted to the agency in the aftermath of the platform incident that killed three people in November last year. The BSEE said that Black Elk had carried out an independent audit of its safety systems and had already taken measures to improve safety standards and oversight.

However, there are nine more areas for improvement that the company has not yet fully covered, the agency wrote. Black Elk had not implemented measures to improve contractor training and selection and is still not hiring more experienced workers. Moreover, devices on platforms operated by the company should be more rigorously tested, the agency said in its letter.

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The BSEE letter claimed that Black Elk had failed to comply with safety regulations on three more occasions in 2013 and threatened to revoke the license of the company if further action was not taken immediately.

Meanwhile, investigations into the causes of the deadly explosion on the West Delta 32 production platform are continuing. Last month an independent investigation concluded that the blast was caused by substandard work by a poorly trained subcontractor.