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Mariner Energy Oil Rig Explosion in Gulf

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on September 02, 2010 12:43 PM

In the words of the immortal Yogi Berra, "it's like deja vu all over again." Without any undue levity, in an all too familiar scene, an oil rig is reported to have exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. Unlike the BP disaster where 11 workers were killed, all 13 men on the rig have been accounted for. The platform is south of Vermilion Bay, about 100 miles off the Louisiana coast, west of the site of BP's well.

A helicopter flying over the oil platform site spotted the explosion on the morning of September 2, according to the Miami Herald. The workers were in the water, but recovered by a offshore service vessel, the Crystal Clear, a Coast Guard Commander told the Herald. Only one person was injured, but all were sent to Terrebonne General Medical Center in Houma to be examined.

The platform which exploded is known as the Vermilion Oil Platform 380 and is owned by Mariner Energy of Houston, Tx. Melissa Schwartz, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement told the Herald the platform was authorized to produce oil and gas at the current water depth, but recently had not been in active production. The platform is in about 340 feet of water.

This past April, plans to purchase Mariner Energy were announced by Apache Corp, another independent petroleum company.

According to Forbes, the Coast Guard has said the fire on the rig was still burning as of early afternoon, but was under control. The Vermilion well does not appear it would supply anywhere near the volume of oil of the BP well. In a filing made last year, Mariner Energy said it expected Vermillion 380 to produce up to 4,000 barrels of oil a per day.

News of this explosion comes just as BP is attempting to remove the cap that ended its three-month oil spill in the Gulf. The Associated Press reports the next step will be to raise a massive, failed piece of equipment and prepare a final seal on the broken well. Work continues too on finding compensation for the many people harmed by the spill.

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