HOUSTON, July 13 -- The search continues for one missing worker following a natural gas blowout aboard Marine Drilling Cos. Inc.'s Marine 4 jack up rig early Friday in the Gulf of Mexico about 26 miles south of Freeport, Tex.
Company officials said 39 of the 40 people aboard the rig escaped in "life-pod" emergency vessels when the blowout occurred about 4:15 a.m. Friday. Those workers were picked up by a supply boat at the scene and subsequently transported to shore. No major injuries were reported among the survivors, officials said.
The family of the missing worker was notified, but his name was not made public by company officials.
"To our knowledge, no ignition of escaping gas has occurred, and we are unable to board the rig to assess any damage at this time," said officials at Marine Drilling's headquarters in Sugar Land, Tex., south of Houston. They said the company's emergency management team was deployed and that efforts are underway with well control specialists to control the blowout.
The rig was drilling a well for Applied Drilling Technology Inc., the turnkey drilling subsidiary of Global Marine Inc., Houston. The cause of the blowout was not immediately known, officials said.
Marine Drilling is an offshore drilling contractor with a drilling rig fleet of two deepwater semisubmersibles and 15 jack ups, with another jack up configured as an accommodation unit.
The Marine 4 is a mat-supported jack up built in 1975 and is capable of drilling to a depth of 25,000 ft in a maximum water depth of 250 ft.