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Offshore natural gas platform worker dies

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An employee on a non-producing offshore natural gas platform died after falling through a deck opening on Monday, the U.S. offshore drilling regulator said.

The employee of Alliance Oilfield Services was working on a Hilcorp Energy platform in 375 feet of water about 129 miles off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement said in a statement. Hilcorp and Alliance are both privately-held companies.

The fatality occurred two days before this week's year anniversary of the deadly rupture of BP Plc's deepwater Macondo well which caused an explosion that that killed 11 workers and sank a massive drilling rig. More than 4 million barrels of oil spewed into the Gulf.

Regulators have since imposed new safety and operations rules, including a requirement that Gulf producers show they can quickly cap and contain Macondo-like spills.

"This tragic accident underscores why we are fully committed to working with the industry to ensure the highest safety standards on offshore facilities," BOEMRE Director Michael Bromwich said in a statement about Monday's death.

A Hilcorp spokesman said the accident remains under investigation but declined further comment.

The Hilcorp platform has not produced natural gas since 2008 and rig workers were in the process of permanently sealing its wells, the statement said.

(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe and Roberta Rampton in Washington and Bruce Nichols and Kristen Hays in Houston;editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid and David Gregorio)

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