On Tuesday July 23, a natural gas well off the coast of Louisiana experienced a blowout and then caught fire after the explosion. The unmanned well, the Hercules 265 Rig, was owned by Walter Oil & Gas. The cause of the blowout is unknown, but what is known is that the blowout preventer did not function properly and shut in the well.
At 9 am on that Tuesday morning, the company working on the well noticed gas flowing out of control from the well. Immediately, all 44 workers were safely evacuated.
Crews from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement investigated the site from the sky and saw both natural gas in the water and a cloud of gas rising from the rig. Late that evening, the rig exploded into flames, and by midday on Wednesday, the rig began to collapse. The legs and the permanent platform seemed secure, but the beams supporting the derrick were unable to withstand the heat.
By Thursday, the well finally stopped leaking natural gas after the line was blocked by sand and sediment. Only a small residual fire was burning.
Experts state that because the leak was of natural gas and not oil, there will be less of an environmental impact. But others are concerned that without increased regulation of this fast-growing industry, such accidents will continue to occur, resulting in environmental damage and serious injuries to workers.
Because it is now safe for personnel to return to the rig, investigations and forensic testing are now underway.
If you have been injured in a well blowout or any other type of oil well injury, the attorneys at Kirkendall Dwyer LLP can help. Contact us today to discuss your case.