Two missing in La. oil platform fire
Fire breaks out on the Black Elk plaform Friday morning. Two men are missing, but only a small amount of oil is released. The accident has little effect on oil prices.
At worst, two people may be dead, which is a serious matter. And maybe 28 gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf, The Times-Picayune reported Friday afternoon.
Injured workers were taken to hospitals in nearby Galliano, La., Baton Rouge and in suburban New Orleans.
The platform is owned by privately held Black Elk Energy, a Houston-based oil and gas producer. The fire broke out around 8:20 a.m. ET, when a spark ignited residual oil in a pipe that was being cut apart on the production platform. The platform was in 56 feet of water and located about 20 miles southeast of Grand Isle, La.
It's also about 70 miles northwest of the Macondo site, where Transocean's (RIG) Deepwater Horizon drilling platform exploded on April 20, 2010. The explosion killed 11 men working on the platform and set off the largest oil spill in U.S. history.
Friday's accident came a day after BP (BP), the operator of the Macondo site, admitted to felony manslaughter charges in the Deepwater Horizon explosion and agreed to pay $4.5 billion in fines related to the incident.
There was no production of oil and gas at the Black Elk platform, and the Coast Guard said the fire was extinguished in a few hours. Black Elk said it was sending staff to Louisiana and was still collecting information.
The missing workers are believed to be two men who jumped off the platform when the fire started. There were 22 workers on the platform. Early reports said two people were dead and two were missing. The Coast Guard corrected that to say only two people are missing.
Black Elk was founded in 2007 by John Hoffman, who had spent most of his career with Amoco, which later merged with BP. In 2011, Black Elk generated $339.9 million in revenue, up from $13 million in 2008.
Crude oil prices were higher today, but the gains were almost exclusively due to rising tensions in the Middle East.
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