Report: Fire almost extinguished on oil rig

It partially collapsed after burning since Tuesday

By Alex Halperin
Published July 25, 2013 3:15PM (EDT)
 An oil platform off the coast of Brazil         (Wikimedia)
An oil platform off the coast of Brazil (Wikimedia)

The flow of gas has stopped from a damaged oil well and the fire is almost extinguished on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that caught fire Tuesday.

The rig, which is about 60 miles south of the Louisiana coast, has partially collapsed due to the heat of the flames. According to CNN the fire began after the rig hit an "unexpected pocket of gas." All 44 workers who were on the rig at the time were safely evacuated.

The [Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement] said Wednesday that the only contamination so far had been a light sheen on the ocean that appeared to dissipate quickly. No oil was being released, the BSEE said. The rig's owner, Hercules Offshore, said Wednesday that it had brought in an environmental expert to keep an eye on wind and ocean conditions to track any possible contamination.

The well was stopped up naturally by sediment and sand that flowed into it, the BSEE said. It was not immediately clear what steps would now be taken to secure the well.

Gulf of Mexico accidents inevitably conjure thoughts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, which let more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf before the well was capped.

Alex Halperin

Alex Halperin is news editor at Salon. You can follow him on Twitter @alexhalperin.

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