Oil rig catches fire in the Gulf, two reported missing [UPDATED]
After yesterday’s settlement between BP and the Justice Department over liability for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill, we thought we could finally put the idea of such a disaster behind us.
Until this morning.
ALERT: Two Dead, Two Missing In Gulf Offshore Platform Explosion – DJ
— CNBC (@CNBC) November 16, 2012
According to early reports from the Coast Guard, there were 28 people on the rig, which is not one that produces oil. During some maintenance work, an oil line was cut and caught fire. There is no active spill, but appears to be a localized sheen. The rig is about 25 miles southeast of Grand Isle, marked on the map below.
According to Fox 8 New Orleans, the rig is owned and operated by Houston-based Black Elk Energy. Just one month ago, the company moved forward on plans to drill 23 new wells in the Gulf. The company’s president and CEO, John Hoffman, used to work for BP, among other companies.
The company also has a campaign called “Save the Blue,” aimed at preserving rare ocean habitats.
We’ll update as we get more information. WWL in New Orleans has been providing regular coverage.
Update: According to the Department of Homeland Security, the fire has been put out.
Update: Four people were airlifted to a hospital in New Orleans.
Update: According to WWL, Black Elk has had at least 75 incidents of small-scale spills in recent years — none reportedly serious. One incident included a fire.
Update: Via Brian Merchant, here is Black Elk’s safety training video.
Update: An unconfirmed photo of smoke hanging over the Gulf.
Update: During a press conference, the Coast Guard indicated that reports of two workers killed have not been confirmed, though the reports continue, as below.
Gulf oil rig accident: Coast Guard telling @adamgabbatt that of 26 people on the rig, 22 alive, 2 missing and reports of 2 dead
— Stuart Millar (@stuartmillar159) November 16, 2012
The CEO of Black Elk indicated that the workers on the rig were contractors.
Update: The most recent reports suggest that 11 workers were injured, four critically, with two employees still missing.
Update: The Coast Guard issued a press release on the situation, including this image of the damaged platform.