An oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, eventually leading to a fire. While the initial blowout was reported on Tuesday morning, officials say a fire broke out on the rig later on.
The fire was confirmed to The Associated Press by Eileen Angelico of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. She added that there were no immediate reports of injuries.
Problems with the well began early Tuesday when the crew of the Hercules 265 hit an unexpected pocket of gas while preparing the well for production.
Officials stated that all 44 workers aboard the rig were evacuated safely. The well is being leased by Houston-based Walter Oil & Gas Corporation, but the company has yet to comment on the situation, notes CNN.
Meanwhile, Wild Well Control Inc. was brought in to bring the well under control. Personnel with Wild Well approached the oil rig on Tuesday evening, before the fire. However, it was determined that it would be unsafe for the workers to go closer than 200 feet.
A firefighting vessel with water and foam capabilities has been dispatched to the seen of the exploded oil rig. Tuesday's incident is the latest in a series of oil rig issues in the Gulf of Mexico. But while the majority of the incidents have been minor, the Macondo blowout, which caused the Deepwater Horizon explosion, no doubt remains fresh.
The explosion killed all 12 workers aboard the oil rig and caused the worst oil spill in the history of the United States. Thankfully, Tuesday's oil rig explosion wasn't nearly that bad. While a light sheen was spotted by environmental inspectors, it was about half a mile wide and was "dissipating almost immediately."
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement added that natural gas is flowing from the well. However, they assured that no oil was being released from the blowout. It is not yet clear how long it will take to bring the fire or the gas leak under control.
[Image by Bureau of Safety And Environmental Enforcement]