|This photo released by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement shows natural gas spewing from the Hercules 265 drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, Tuesday, July 23, 2013.|
Natural gas flowed uncontrolled from the Hercules 265 oil drilling rig off the Louisiana coast on Tuesday after a blowout that forced the evacuation of 47 workers aboard a drilling rig. No injuries or fires were reported. The federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) says the blowout happened south of Grand Isle, about 55 miles offshore, where the water depth was reported as 154 feet.
Tuesday's blowout occurred near an unmanned offshore gas platform that was not currently producing natural. 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 Houston, Texas-based Walter Oil & Gas Corp.
The Houston-based Talos Energy-owned platform sits over three wells in water 144 feet deep. Energy Resource Technology LLC is trying to seal the well.
Walter Oil & Gas reported to the BSEE that the rig was completing a "sidetrack well" - a means of re-entering the original well bore. 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 is a way to overcome an engineering problem with the original well. (Times Union, 7/23/2013)