Gulf well blows, spews natural gas off La. coast
Published: July 23,2013
GULF OF MEXICO — Natural gas flowed uncontrolled from a well off the Louisiana coast today after a blowout that forced the evacuation of 47 workers aboard a drilling rig, authorities said.
No injuries or fires were reported. The federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said inspectors flying over the site Tuesday saw a light sheen covering an area about a half-mile by 50 feet. However, it was dissipating quickly.
The bureau says the blowout happened south of Grand Isle, about 55 miles offshore, where the water depth was reported as 154 feet.
Earlier this month, a gas well flowed for several days before being sealed off the Louisiana coast.
In 2010, an oil rig exploded off the state’s coast, leading to a blowout that spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in the worst offshore disaster in the United States.
Today’s blowout occurred near an unmanned offshore gas platform that was not currently producing natural gas, said Eileen Angelico, spokeswoman for the bureau. The workers were aboard a portable drilling rig known as a jackup rig, operated by Hercules Offshore. Hercules said in a news release that it was operating the rig for Walter Oil & Gas Corp.
Walter Oil & Gas reported to the BSEE that the rig was completing a “sidetrack well” — a means of re-entering the original well bore, Angelico said.
The purpose of the sidetrack well in this instance was not immediately clear. Industry websites say sidetrack wells are sometimes drilled to remedy a problem with the existing well bore.
“It’s a way to overcome an engineering problem with the original well,” Ken Medlock, an energy expert at Rice University’s Baker Institute said. “They’re not drilled all the time, but it’s not new.”
A woman who answered the phone at Walter Oil & Gas in Houston said company officials would provide information later.
To sign up for Mississippi Business Daily Updates, click here.
Top Posts & Pages
- Molpus closes Fund after more than $662M in commitments
- MSU reminding fans that drones are prohibited at football games
- Politics of paying for transportation: Hand wringing and a lot of talk
- DeSoto County Supervisor Lee dies in ATV accident on his birthday
- Realtors chooses Nita Wingard
- No debate, but Cochran and Childers lobby for votes for Senate
- Entergy agrees to cut $35M from its new rate plan
- Ford Foundation gives to UM for new science building
- Kemper County plant will cost at least another $496M to complete