Oil Rig Fire Forces Workers to Evacuate
At 2:30 this morning, the Coast Guard responded to a fire on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. The platform, which is located 80 miles south of Grand Isle, Louisiana, had 4 workers on it who were forced to abandon it due to heavy smoke. The workers, who have not yet reported injuries, were transported to Terrebonne General Hospital. All of the workers were safely rescued from their life raft by the Mary Wyatt Milano, an offshore supply ship.
So far there has been no reported pollution or environmental damage. The Mary Wyatt Milano and 3 other supply ships were called in to fight the fire, which the Coast Guard reports was extinguished by 6:30 am.
The platform is 1 of 2 platforms in the area owned by Renaissance Offshore, a company founded in 2011. The company buys used platforms and established oilfields from other oil companies, which is the case for the platform that caught fire this morning. Platform A (the one that caught fire) is connected to 10 wells, while nearby Platform B is connected to 7 “shut-in” wells. For reference, shut in wells are used at a lower capacity in response to safety or environmental concerns.
Before today, Platform A produced 16,000 barrels of oil a month. However, last year an inspection revealed 8 mechanical or safety issues that forced the company to slow its production. A reporter for KHOU.com notes that Renaissance Offshore has bought 10 oilfields from Black Elk Energy from 2013-2014. For those that do not recall, Black Elk was practically forced to cease production in the Gulf after a massive platform explosion killed three of their workers.
The cause of the fire on Platform A is still being investigated.