Skip to main content

Natural gas rig burns in Gulf of Mexico

By Joe Sutton and Dave Alsup, CNN
July 25, 2013 -- Updated 0616 GMT (1416 HKT)
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
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0254 GMT (1054 HKT)
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0024 GMT (0824 HKT)
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0822 GMT (1622 HKT)
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2100 GMT (0500 HKT)
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
December 21, 2014 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
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