A fire broke out at an offshore oil and gas rig in the Gulf of Mexico late yesterday hours after 44 workers were safely evacuated.
Yesterday a well blowout at the Hercules 265 rig (pictured) saw gas freely flowing from the well which is 55 miles off the coast of Louisiana in 154 feet of water.
Its operator Walter Oil & Gas said it lost control of the well at an unmanned platform while work was being done to prepare it for full production.
Before the fire broke out, the United States’ Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) inspectors conducted an overflight and reported a “light sheen” one-half mile by 50 feet in size which was “dissipating almost immediately”.
BSEE said it was working closely with the Coast Guard and other federal agencies on response efforts.
Lars Herbst, Gulf of Mexico Regional Director for the safety force said the incident showed offshore oil and gas operators need to “re-affirm their aggressive approach” to the safety of well operations.
The Gulf of Mexico will always be associated with oil firm BP’s huge Macondo blowout in 2010 which was the largest ever oil spill in the United States.