The new oilspill. Let’s start this conversation from the beginning…
GRAND ISLE, La. — A mile-long sheen is now visible where an offshore petroleum platform exploded and burned Thursday off Louisiana, the Coast Guard said.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Bill Coklough said the sheen, about 100 feet wide, was spotted near the platform owned by Houston-based Mariner Energy Inc.
No one was killed in the explosion, which was spotted by a commercial helicopter flying over the site Thursday morning.
All 13 people aboard the rig were found floating in the water in survival gear, Coast Guard spokesman Chief Petty Officer John Edwards said.
The platform was in about 340 feet of water, considered shallow water and far less than the roughly 5,000 feet where BP’s well spewed oil and gas for three months after an April rig explosion.
The crew were rescued from the water by an offshore service vessel, the Crystal Clear, and taken to a nearby platform, said Coast Guard Cmdr. Cheri Ben-Eisai.
All were being flown to a hospital in Houma to be checked over. Ben-Eisai said one person was injured, but Mariner Energy said there were no injuries.
“Mariner has notified and is working with regulatory authorities in response to this incident. The cause is not known, and an investigation will be undertaken,” the company said in a statement.
msnbc.com Mariner earlier said that an initial flyover showed now spill.
It said the platform was located on Vermilion Block 380, approximately 100 miles off the Louisiana coast.
The platform is a fixed petroleum platform that was in production at the time of the fire.
It was producing about 58,800 gallons of oil and 900,000 cubic feet of gas per day. The platform can store 4,200 gallons of oil.
Seven Coast Guard helicopters, two airplanes and three cutters were dispatched to the scene from New Orleans, Houston and Mobile, Ala., Ben-Iesau said.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said President Barack Obama was in a national security meeting and did not know whether Obama had been informed of the explosion.
“We obviously have response assets ready for deployment should we receive reports of pollution in the water,” Gibbs said.
Mariner Energy focuses on oil and gas exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico. In April, Apache Corp., another independent petroleum company, announced plans to buy Mariner in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $3.9 billion, including the assumption of about $1.2 billion of Mariner’s debt. That deal is pending.
Apache spokesman Bob Dye said the platform is in shallow water. Responding to any oil spill in shallow water would be much easier than in deep water, where crews depend on remote-operated vehicles access equipment on the sea floor.
A company report said the well was drilled in the third quarter of 2008 in 340 feet of water.
The platform is about 200 miles west of BP’s blown-out well. On Friday, BP was expected to begin the process of removing the cap and failed blowout preventer, another step toward completion of a relief well that would put a finals eal on the well. The BP-leased rig Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 people and setting off a three-month leak that totaled 206 million gallons of oil.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
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