An oil and gas rig 95 km off the coast off Louisiana which has been burning for a day has begun to collapse into the Gulf of Mexico. The Walter Oil & Gas owned Hercules 265 jack-up rig (an oil rig that can be towed into position, secure itself to the sea floor and begin drilling) caught fire at about 10.50 pm on Tuesday 23 July 2013, local time (3.50 am on Wednesday 24 July, GMT), when it hit an unforeseen pocket of gas while carrying out preliminary drilling for a well in 47 m of water, leading to a blowout at the well. All 44 crew on board were evacuated safely, and two US Coast Guard fire-fighting vessels dispatched to the scene, but it was not possible to stem the supply of gas to the well, and the heat have melted the beams supporting the main derrick (platform) causing it to collapse, and the fire is ongoing.
The burning Hercules 265 rig starting to collapse into the Gulf of Mexico. US Coast Guard.
It is not thought likely that the incident will lead to a major oil spill, as with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident, however neither burning rigs in the Gulf of Mexico nor large escapes of methane (a powerful greenhouse gas) are considered a good thing, and Walter Oil and Gas have been instructed by the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement to arrange the drilling of a relief well, to try to divert the gas before it reaches the blown-out well.
The locations of the burning Hercules 265 rig, and of the former Deepwater Horizon. International Business Times.
See also North Sea oil rig partially evacuated following leak, Oil rig runs aground on Sitkalidak Island on New Years Day, Two feared dead after explosion on oil rig in Gulf of Mexico, How the Deepwater Horizon oil spill effected wildlife on the Gulf of Mexico and BP hopes to have reached settlement with thousands of Gulf Oil Spill victims.
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