Egypt to Destroy Temsah Platform

Temseh Field, Nile Delta
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Temseh Rig Fire
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Temsah Platform
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Egypt's Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy has ordered the destruction of an offshore natural gas platform that was still blazing for the 11th straight day Saturday, ministry officials told AFP.

A special committee of experts will supervise the demise of the platform in the Temsah deepwater gas field, 60 kilometers (35 miles) from Port Said, at the northern entrance to the Suez Canal.

The site will then be cleared and new wells drilled in the area, the officials added.

Production at the site came to a halt July 10 after a blaze started with an explosion and destroyed GlobalSantaFe's Adriatic IV before spreading to the platform.

It was brought under control but for reasons that are under investigation erupted into a ball of flames jumping more than 20 meters (70 feet) in the air.

The blaze appeared to be burning itself out slowly as the flames were no longer as intense as they had been at the outset, but the officials said it could still be several days before the fire is finally extinguished.

Firefighters are trying to limit the amount of gas escaping from the field beneath the platform to starve the fire of fuel.

All 150 workers on the platform, run by Petrobel and owned by Italy's ENI, British Petroleum and Egypt's General Petroleum Corporation, were evacuated in time to prevent any casualties.
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