Explosion Erupts on Gulf of Mexico Platform



Two Dead, Two Missing in GOM Offshore Platform Explosion

A fire occurred on an offshore oil and natural gas platform in West Delta Block 32 in the Gulf of Mexico Friday injuring several people, reported Houston's KHOU TV, citing the U.S. Coast Guard. The fire has been extinguished. 

According to the news station, four people were airlifted to a nearby hospital and were in critical condition. Two more people are said to be missing following the tragedy on the platform - operated by Houston-based and privately-owned Black Elk Energy Co.

Black Elk did not respond to requests for comment.

The Coast Guard has reported that production was not flowing from the well and at least 26 to 28 people had been aboard the platform. The workers were cutting into a line on the platform when sparks from a torch hit a storage tank, which then exploded, resulting in a two-by-a-quarter mile oil sheen around the site. The platform is located around 17 miles offshore Grand Isle, Louisiana in 21 feet of water.

The Coast Guard has activated a "command center" to investigate the incident, consisting of two helicopter teams, one from Mobile, Alabama and one from New Orleans to help with the search, reported KHOU. The government agency also called in two small boat stations out of Grand Isle and Venice to assist.

Black Elk hasn't filed a recent work permit or exploration plan for that block. The most recent plan filed for the block WD 32 was Aug. 30, 2010 for Maritech to remove platform Caisson 3.



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