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Officials working to secure natural gas rig off Louisiana coast

July 26, 2013|By Michael Muskal
  • This image provided by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement shows the aftermath of the fire at the Hercules 265 gas well off Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico.
This image provided by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement… (Bureau of Safety and Environmental…)

Officials said on Friday that they are continuing to study the scene of a blowout and fire at a natural gas well 55 miles off of the coast of Louisiana to decide how to  secure the site.

A slight sheen associated with spilled oil is still being detected on the water’s surface but is dissipating, according to a joint statement by the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the Coast Guard, and the company involved, Walter Oil & Gas Corp.

On Tuesday, the natural gas well had a blowout, forcing 44 workers to evacuate. That led to a fire. Late Wednesday, the Coast Guard and federal officials took emergency measures to control the fire, which went out after sand and sediment cut off the flow of gas.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the accident.

Authorities also have to find a way to permanently secure the well.

Federal regulators said they are reviewing permit requests to drill a relief well. The relief well would be drilled “to intercept the target well. Once intercepted, drilling mud followed by cement will be pumped into the well to secure it,” the statement said.

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