Drilling Rig Burns in Gulf after Gas Blowout

by Ryan Hauck | July 24, 2013 2:29 pm

Natural gas leaking from a Walter Oil & Gas well caught fire Tuesday night following the blowout of a Hercules Offshore (HERO[1]) rig in the Gulf of Mexico, the AP reports.

None of the rig’s crew were harmed in the blowout, and all aboard evacuated before the fire broke out. Wild Well Control were hired to bring the well under control but determined before the fire that conditions around the rig were unsafe.

Officials say that the well is leaking natural gas but not oil. Inspectors from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement flying overhead shortly after the blowout reported a light sheen over a region half a mile wide and 50 ft. across.

The incident is the second of its kind this month. A second well, also off the coast of Louisiana, leaked for several days before it could be sealed. Both leaks evoke the memory of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, when an explosion on an oil rig caused a BP (BP[2]) well to spill millions of gallons of oil into the gulf in 2010. Officials insisted, however, that the damage caused by Deepwater Horizon dwarfed any potential damage from Tuesday’s blowout.

Shares of HERO, already weakened by Tuesday’s blowout, were down nearly 10% Wednesday as the fire continued to rage.

Endnotes:
  1. HERO: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=HERO
  2. BP: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=BP

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