Skip to main content

Natural gas rig burns in Gulf of Mexico

By Joe Sutton and Dave Alsup, CNN
updated 2:16 AM EDT, Thu July 25, 2013
The Hercules 265 drilling rig sits in about 150 feet of water, officials say.
The Hercules 265 drilling rig sits in about 150 feet of water, officials say.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Firefighting boats are moved out of the fire's range, BSEE says
  • The blast occurs on a platform roughly 60 miles off Grand Isle, Louisiana
  • Crew members hit an unexpected pocket of gas
  • A Coast Guard vessel witnesses the blast late Tuesday

(CNN) -- Two firefighting boats were moved to a safe distance Wednesday as they awaited help in fighting a fire that erupted on a natural gas rig in the Gulf of Mexico, officials say.

"A third vessel equipped with firefighting capability and (an) improved monitoring system" was expected to arrive around midday, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said.

A Coast Guard cutter was on hand to "assess the situation and enforce the security zone," it said, while another was on the way.

Forty-four workers were evacuated from the rig earlier Tuesday after a blowout occurred, officials said. Crew members aboard the Hercules 265, leased by Houston-based Walter Oil & Gas Corp., were preparing the well for production when they hit an unexpected pocket of gas.

No injuries were reported.

Natural gas was leaking at the site, but no oil was being released, the BSEE said after it and the Coast Guard sent flights over the rig Wednesday morning.

"There is no observed sheen on the water surface," the safety bureau said in a news release.

"As the rig fire continues, the beams supporting the derrick and rig floor have folded and have collapsed over the rig structure," which is in about 150 feet of water, it said. "Under BSEE's direction, Walter Oil & Gas has begun preparations to move a jack-up rig on location to potentially drill a relief well."

The platform, about 60 miles southwest of Grand Isle, Louisiana, exploded around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, the Coast Guard reported. It said a Coast Guard vessel witnessed the blast.

A light sheen about a half-mile wide was initially spotted by environmental inspectors but dissipated "almost immediately," the BSEE said.

March: Relief wells, 'heavy mud' plug used in North Sea gas leak

CNN's Eliott C. McLaughlin contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:31 AM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
A terminally ill woman who plans to take her own life checks off the last item.
updated 9:15 PM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
Armed with Kalashnikovs and chanting for the dead comrades, women are among ISIS' most feared enemies. They are fighting for their families -- and now they are getting U.S. help.
updated 8:46 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
Lere Mgayiya put his best foot forward and set up a shoe-shine firm after his career plans fell flat.
updated 1:28 AM EDT, Thu October 30, 2014
One Chinese drone manufacturer wants to take away the warmongering stigma of "drones."
updated 11:12 PM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
Sketcher Luis Simoes is traveling the world -- slowly. And he's packed his sketchbook.
updated 4:43 PM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
European states help North Korea's brutal treatment of its people by allowing luxury goods like cars and cognacs to evade sanctions, two experts say.
updated 11:20 AM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
Groping, lewd comments, and that's not the worst of it.
updated 9:33 PM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
British hostage John Cantlie appears from the battle city of Kobani.
updated 10:43 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
A captured fighter tells CNN's Ivan Watson: "They gave us drugs... that made you go to battle."
updated 11:45 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
updated 7:06 AM EDT, Thu October 30, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT