UPDATE: Platform Explodes Offshore Louisiana

Houston-based Mariner Energy reports that the fire on board its production platform in the Gulf of Mexico has been extinguished.

Platform owner and operator Mariner had deployed three fire-fighting vessels to the site to extinguish the fire, which broke out this morning at Vermilion Block 380 approximately 102 miles offshore the central Louisiana coast.

All 13 workers on board the platform have been evacuated and safely accounted for with no injuries reported, Houston-based Mariner reported today. Automated shutoff equipment on the platform safely turned off the flow of oil and gas from the platform's seven producing wells before the fire occurred and the crew evacuated.

The cause of the explosion and fire is unknown at this time. Mariner said an investigation into the incident will be conducted and that it is working with regulatory authorities in response to this incident.

The U.S. Coast Guard now says that no oil sheen on the water from the incident, according to media reports.

A U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson told Rigzone.com that seven helicopters, two fixed wind aircraft, and four Coast Guard cutters have been sent to assist in the rescue effort. The New Orleans Coast Guard office received a call at 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning from a commercial helicopter company reporting the blast.

The 13 workers, who were wearing immersion suits and had evacuated from the platform into the water, were picked up by the offshore supply boat OSV Crystal Clear and taken to a nearby platform for pick-up by the U.S. Coast Guard. The workers were then to be transported to Terrebone General Hospital in Houma, La., for evaluation.

Mariner is sole operator and owner of the platform, which is a 24-hour, manned fixed platform with two decks, heliport and crane. The platform was installed in early 1980 in 340 feet of water, and has produced both oil and natural gas since 1982.

Water depth at Vermilion Block 380, which Mariner has leased since 1974, ranges from 319 feet to 368 feet.

During the last week of August 2010, production from this facility averaged approximately 9.2 MMcf/d and 1,400 barrels of oil and condensate.

According to MMS/BOEM data analyzed by Rigzone, the Mariner platform makes a significant contribution to Gulf of Mexico production as a relatively high-volume lease and platform.

In June 2010, gas production from Vermilion Block 380 was approximately 296 mmcf, or 10 mmcf/d, which is about 3.5 times the average gas production for other leases in the same general area of the U.S. Gulf.  This area includes the Vermillion, West Cameron, East Cameron, South Marsh Island and Eugene Island lease areas.  That places Vermilion Block 380 among the top six percent of gas producing leases in this area of the Gulf, with the 26th highest gas production of any producing block in the area, which encompasses more than 480 natural gas producing leases.

During the same month, oil production from Vermilion Block 380 was approximately 53,000 barrels, about 2,000 b/d, which is about 10 times the average oil production for other leases in the same general area of the Gulf.  That production volume places the lease in the top two percent of oil producing leases in this area of the Gulf, with the 7th highest oil production of any producing block in the area, which includes more than 420 oil producing leases.