Gulf rig fire: How safe is offshore natural gas drilling?(Read article summary)
A Gulf rig fire off the coast of Louisiana underscores the dangers of offshore natural gas and oil drilling. Though no sheen was reported during initial surveys after the Gulf rig fire, federal officials said it was time the industry address safety issues in offshore natural gas and oil projects.
A U.S. energy safety bureau said part of a drilling platform off the coast of Louisiana has partially collapsed after catching fire late Tuesday. No injuries were reported when a natural gas cloud ignited at the Hercules Offshore drilling rig. At least three firefighting vessels were on scene responding to the incident in a scene reminiscent of the 2010 oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Though no sheen was reported during initial surveys, federal officials said it was time the industry takes offshore safety seriously.
The Interior Department's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement was able to confirm an explosion occurred on board the rig located about 55 miles off the coast of Louisiana. Operator Walter Oil and Gas Corp. said it lost control of the well Tuesdaymorning while it was making preparations for production. Hercules owns the rig and both companies said they were in close contact with the Coast Guard and the BSEE as they worked on a response.
The well is in shallow waters. By Wednesday afternoon, the BSEE said part of the rig had collapsed and the fire was still burning.