Officials have no idea how to extinguish an out-of-control natural gas well fire off Louisiana’s BP-battered coast that caught fire Tuesday night hours after a blowout prompted evacuating 44 workers earlier in the day in another example of human rights abuses associated with oil drilling.
Officials stressed that Tuesday’s blowout would not be close to as damaging as BP’s catastrophic 2010 BP oil crime that began with the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploding off Louisiana’s coast, initially killing 11 workers and eventually killing an untold number of others from the millions of gallons of oil spewed and the Corexit carpet-bombed throughout the Gulf of Mexico region, making the oil 52 times more lethal.
The new blow out is approximately 40 miles south and 10 to 15 miles west of Grand Isle, according to the Coast Guard.
Grand Isle is among areas worst hit by the 2010 BP-military Gulf Operation that was under Unified Command.
It is unknown what caused the methane gas to ignite, according to Eileen Angelico, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).
It also unclear early Wednesday how and when crews would attempt to extinguish the blaze.
A firefighting vessel with water and foam capabilities had been dispatched to the scene but workers cannot get closer than 200 feet from the Gulf inferno.
Wild Well Control Inc. has been hired to attempt to bring the burning gas fire under control.
Unified Command was again set up in Houma, Louisiana on Tuesday to oversee the latest fossil fuel disaster response in the Gulf.
Forty-four workers were evacuated without injury via two life boats when the gas blowout happened Tuesday morning at 9:50 a.m. on Hercules Platform No. 265.
The Coast Guard kept nautical traffic out of a 500-meter area from the site throughout Tuesday. The Federal Aviation Administration restricted aircraft up to 2,000 feet above the area.
Problem existed before blow-out
KCTV5 reports that Tuesday’s blowout happened near an unmanned offshore gas platform not currently producing natural gas, according to Angelico.
The workers were aboard a portable drilling rig known as a jackup rig, owned by Hercules Offshore Inc., which was a contractor for exploration and production company Walter Oil & Gas Corp.
Walter Oil & Gas reported to the BSEE that the rig was completing a “sidetrack well” – a means of re-entering the original well bore, Angelico said.
The purpose of the sidetrack well in this instance was not immediately clear. A spokesman for the corporation did not have the information Tuesday night. Industry websites say sidetrack wells are sometimes drilled to remedy a problem with the existing well bore.
“It’s a way to overcome an engineering problem with the original well,” Ken Medlock, an energy expert at Rice University’s Baker Institute said. “They’re not drilled all the time, but it’s not new.”
Earlier this month, a well owned by a subsidiary of Houston-based Talos Energy leaked methane into the Gulf four days before responders “plugged the leak and permanently sealed the well with cement.”
For over a year, methane has also been leaking further inland in Louisiana’s Grand Bayou and Bayou Corne area where a giant 24-acre sinkhole developed, with no end in sight for the growing swamp monster or its spewing methane.
Sources: Associated Press, KCTV5
Photo credit: WDSU
Reporter, author and human rights professional for over 30 years, Deborah Dupré tells shocking truths about the Gulf of Mexico In her book,“VAMPIRE of MACONDO: Life, Crimes and Curses in South Louisiana that Powerful Forces Don’t Want You to Know.” In “Vampire of Macondo,” Dupré exposes covered-up facts and victims’ gut-wrenching stories about the 2010 BP/government Gulf oil catastrophe, a continuing humanitarian and environmental historical event.