|Hercules drill rig enveloped by cloud of gas from well blowout, July 23, 2013. Photo by Bonny Schumaker / On Wings of Care flew. See many more on her blog.|
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Around midday today a natural gas blowout occurred at a jackup drill rig, the Hercules 265, operating in shallow water in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana (South Timbalier Block 220). All of the workers -- more than 40 -- were safely evacuated. The rig was enveloped in a cloud of gas, so there is a high risk of fire or explosion until the well is killed. A small sheen was reported around the platform - this is probably a thin slick of highly volatile natural-gas condensate. At this time we have no reason to think there is potential for a significant oil spill from this incident. But, coming hard on the heels of another blowout that happened in the Ship Shoal area last week, it's yet another reminder that drilling is an inherently risky activity.
Friday, July 19, 2013
A Landsat-8 image taken yesterday shows a small, unreported slick in the Eugene Island area about 26 kilometers (15 miles) from the Louisiana coast. About 10 km (6 mi) across, the slick covers about 33 km2. Using our rule of thumb that, to be visible, a slick must be at least 1 micron thick on average, that amounts to about 8,700 gallons of oil or some oily substance:
|Detail from a Landsat-8 satellite image (inset) taken on July 18, 2013, showing a small apparent oil slick (orange outline) in the Eugene Island area off the Louisiana coast. Oil and gas platforms shown as small red dots.|