Thursday, September 2, 2010

Shallow Water Oil Platform Explodes In Louisiana

Bulletin: A few minutes ago, Coast Guard Commander Cheri Ben-Lesau reversed an earlier announcement and said there is no visible oil slick from the Mariner Oil Company platform that exploded and burned yesterday in the Gulf.

New Orleans - A Coast Guard petty officer reported a mile-long oil slick spreading from a shallow water rig that exploded yesterday in Louisiana.

A commercial helicopter flying over the rig reported the fire about 9 a.m.

Located 200 miles west of the site of the BP Macondo well that blew out on April 20, the Mariner Oil Company project is a production platform that supports 7 wells and yields 58,800 gallons of oil and 900,000 cubic feet of natural gas daily.

The platform is fixed and is located in 340 feet of water
about 100 miles off Vermilion Bay. Experts pointed out
immediately that this emergency will be much easier to
respond to because of the relatively shallow depth of the

No cause for the explosion and fire have yet been
attributed, but boats are spraying water on the fire to keep
it cool and seven Coast Guard helicopters, two airplanes and
three cutters raced to the accident and plucked the entire
crew from the water. The Coast Guard reported one injury
and the company reported none.

The explosion occurred only one day after a federal judge in
New Orleans dealt a death blow to the government's ongoing
attempt to keep drilling operations shut down in the Gulf
following the disastrous blowout of the Transocean Horizon,
which caused a record 4 million gallons of crude to spew
into the Gulf and fouled beaches and fishing grounds,
marshes and oyster beds from Grand Isle to Panama City.

The blowout killed 11 men who were working on the drilling
floor at the time of the explosion.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman denied the government's
request to throw out a suit challenging the drilling halt
that had been filed by offshore oil service companies.

Justice Department lawyers argued the suit was moot because
the Interior Department had imposed a new temporary
drilliing ban on July 12, replacing the one struck down in
June by Judge Feldman.

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