Gulf Gas Rig Out of Control

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 @ 03:02 PM gHale

Crews lost control of a natural gas well off the Louisiana coast Thursday, but officials said there were no injuries or pollution and efforts are under way to stop the flow of gas.

Most crew members evacuated from the rig, which was drilling in 262 feet of water about 108 miles southwest of Lafayette, said The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). Officials received first report of the problem at 8:43 a.m. Thursday, a BSEE spokeswoman said.

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The rig operator is EnVen Energy Ventures of Metairie, LA.

EnVen Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Garrett said gas, water and sand are flowing, but no pollution has reached the Gulf of Mexico. He said gas is venting off the rig while crews work to kill the well.

Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Bobby Nash said there was no sheen visible in the water when a Coast Guard crew flew over the site Thursday.

Work is underway to secure the well, said Deanna Castillo, a spokeswoman for rig owner Rowan Companies.

“All personnel currently aboard the rig are safe and non-essential personnel have been evacuated, all well control equipment is functioning as designed (and) there has been no environmental impact,” she said.

A BSEE spokeswoman said a platform producing oil and gas near the EnVen rig shut down as a precaution.

The EnVen rig was operating in relatively shallow waters, where measures to control a leak or blowout are easier to manage than in the deep waters of the Gulf.

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