Vermillion oil rig explosion hits Gulf of Mexico drilling site

Oil rig platform

An oil rig owned by Mariner Energy exploded near Louisiana. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

An oil rig explosion has occurred at a platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Only one person was injured, and no fatalities occurred. The cause of the blast is not yet known. The oil rig explosion took place close to Vermillion Bay, on the coast of Louisiana. The rig, owned by Mariner Energy, is several hundred miles west of the BP oil rig that exploded in April. The Vermillion oil rig is in shallower waters than the Deepwater rig that exploded and triggered the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Oil rig explosion injures one

Only one person was injured in the oil rig explosion. When the drilling platform exploded, 13 people went overboard. The Coast Guard, according to the New York Times, received more than one report of an oil rig in flames just after 9 a.m. on today. Helicopters and Coast Guard vessels arrived about an hour later. All 13 workers that went into the water after the blast were rescued and accounted for. Only one of the rig workers was injured, which is nothing short of miraculous, considering that the Deepwater oil rig explosion claimed 11 lives.

Shallower waters than BP oil rig

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig was drilling at a far greater depth than Vermillion Oil Rig 380. The Vermillion oil rig sits atop only 340 feet of water, about 100 miles (80 nautical miles) off the Louisiana coast. According to CNN, the oil rig had previously been producing 9.2 million cubic feet of natural gas and 1,400 barrels of oil per day on average. The Coast Guard is working on extinguishing the fire on the deck. Immediately after the news of the explosion, shares for Mariner Energy dropped by 5 percent.

Concerns over offshore drilling

The subject of offshore drilling has been a hot topic for years. Every time an oil rig explodes, it makes it appear that the practice is too dangerous and poses too much environmental risk to continue. Though BP has stepped up to the plate to take responsibility for the oil spill, resource extraction companies rarely clean up their own messes, and taxpayers often get stuck with another Superfund site.



New York Times

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