Just yesterday a drilling rig off the Lousiana coast suffered a blowout and caught fire, leading to the evacuation of 47 workers. Unlike the 2010 Deepwater Horizon fiasco, this rig was not drilling for oil, but for natural gas. According to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), the rig fire is still blazing, “and the beams supporting the derrick and rig floor have folded and have collapsed over the rig structure.”
The blowout happened south of Grand Isle, about 55 miles offshore, at a reported water depth of 154 feet. While no injuries have been reported, the gas leak is said to affect an area half a mile wide.
This isn’t the first time such an incident has occurred off the Louisiana coast since 2010. Earlier this month, a gas well flowed for several days before being sealed off. According to Walter Oil & Gas, who own the rig, the accident occurred during the completion of a “sidetrack well”. Industry websites say sidetrack wells are sometimes drilled to remedy a problem with the existing well bore. The BSEE said it was investigating the cause of the fire, along with the Coast Guard.