On Tuesday afternoon, contractors in the Gulf of Mexico were attempting to cap a natural gas well when a spark ignited the gas. The resulting explosion injured at least eight workers, with four getting transported by air or boat to local burn units to treat severe burn injuries. The explosion occurred in Little Wax Bayou near Belle Isle, in St. Mary Parish.
The contractors worked for Wild Well Control, and the well is owned by Texas Petroleum Investment Company. According to officials on the scene, the abandoned well had a blowout on Sunday that caused an uncontrolled leak. Texas Petroleum initially tried to cap the well on their own, but eventually called Wild Well Control, which specializes in capping wells.
On Tuesday afternoon, “something” happened that caused a spark, igniting the gas and causing a large explosion. Officials are still investigating what that “something” was, and what caused it.
“The sheer heat of the fire, you’ve got natural gas coming out, which is extremely flammable,” says Patrick Courreges, Communications Director of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. “It’s about the most flammable thing there is…So, whoever is responding to this has got to do something to shield their workers and equipment from the heat, while still trying to get on that well and try to put the fire out.”
Second Texas Petroleum Explosion in a Year
Last August, there was an explosion aboard a platform owned and operated by Texas Petroleum Investment Company in the Gulf of Mexico. No one was injured, but workers had to evacuate the platform. The explosion and fire occurred underneath a platform that contained 15,000 gallons of oil.
The cause of the explosion had not been determined nearly a month after it took place.
Does Texas Petroleum have a history of wells exploding or igniting? Are they endangering workers with their practices? Was yesterday’s explosion the inevitable result of company policy? That remains to be seen. But our natural gas explosion lawyers hope to investigate this case and find out for ourselves.
Oilfield and offshore workers have some of the most dangerous jobs in the world. But it needs to be done; all of us rely on their work to keep our cars moving and our generators humming. The least that companies could do is provide these workers with the safest possible workplace, but Texas Petroleum has failed twice to do so, and it’s not yet clear if Wild Well Control is at fault as well.
In any case, these injured workers deserve answers.
Our hearts go out to the injured workers and their families. Our well explosion lawyers be following this story as it develops.