NEW ORLEANS, La. — The U.S. Coast Guard has rescued 47 offshore workers who were aboard a portable drilling rig known as a jackup rig, operated by Hercules Offshore, after a natural gas blowout forced their evacuation, authorities said. Hercules Offshore said in a news release that it was operating the rig for Walter Oil & Gas Corp.
The accident occurred on Tuesday, July 23, about 55 miles offshore near an unmanned offshore gas platform that currently was not producing natural gas, said Aileen Angelico, spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. The Bureau said inspectors flying over the site Tuesday saw a light sheen covering an area about a half-mile by 50 feet, but that it was dissipating quickly.
Angelico said that Walter Oil & Gas reported to the BSEE that the rig was completing a “sidetrack well” — a means of re-entering the original well bore.
There were no injuries or fires reported at the time of the incident.
Earlier this month, a gas well flowed for several days before being sealed off the Louisiana coast and lest we forget that on April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded off the state’s coast, killing 11 offshore workers, which led to a blowout that spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in the worst offshore disaster in the United States.
A woman who answered the phone at Walter Oil & Gas in Houston said company officials would provide information later.
The incident remains under investigation at this time.
Blog post by Louisiana maritime lawyer, Gordon, Elias & Seely.