Cause of GoM platform fire under investigation

With Mariner Energy reporting the fire is no longer burning on its Vermilion block 380 platform in the Gulf of Mexico, attention turns to determining the cause of the event.

Offshore staff

HOUSTON – With Mariner Energy reporting the fire is no longer burning on its Vermilion block 380 platform in the Gulf of Mexico, attention turns to determining the cause of the event.

“It is too early to know what caused the fire,” said Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. “The Coast Guard is conducting interviews to determine that.”

Mariner also is investigating, it said. Production from the shallow water platform in 380 ft (116 m) of water was shut off before the fire started and even before the crew left, Mariner said. During the last week of August 2010, production from this facility reportedly averaged approximately 9.2 MMcf/d of natural gas and 1,400 bbl of oil and condensate.

The U.S. Coast Guard and a commercial rescue helicopter transported 13 people from a rig after a nearby oil platform caught fire, Thursday, approximately 90 mi south of Vermillion Bay at 9:19 a.m.

The Eighth Coast Guard District command center received a call from a pilot aboard a Bristow helicopter, stating that 13 people were in the water wearing immersion suits. Responding from New Orleans and Houston included:
• Five MH-65C rescue helicopters and crews from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans
• Four MH-65C rescue helicopters and crews from Coast Guard Air Station Houston
• HC-144 Guardian aircraft from Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile, Alabama
• Coast Guard Cutters Decisive, Skipjack, Manta, and Harry Claiborne.

The crew of theCrystal Clear offshore supply vessel pulled 13 people from the water near the platform and transferred them to a nearby rig.

Coast Guard MH-65C rescue helicopters and crews arrived on scene at approximately 11:30 a.m., and a commercial rescue helicopter, the Cougar, arrived on scene as well. Three of the Coast Guard helicopters and the Cougar transported all 13 people ashore to the Terrebonne General Medical Center in Houma, Louisiana, where none were reported to have sustained serious injury.

Mariner Energy, the owner of the platform, deployed three firefighting vessels to the scene and extinguished the fire and said the fire was out by mid-afternoon on Thursday.

10/03/2010

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