One missing after Louisiana rig explosion

Article by Helen Tunnicliffe

A WORKER is missing and five have been taken to hospital in Louisiana, US, after an oil platform on Lake Pontchartrain near Kenner exploded at around 19:15 local time on 15 October.

A total of seven workers escaped from the platform, but according to the US Coast Guard, eight workers were on board the platform at the time of the explosion. There are not thought to be any further injuries from a supply boat that was alongside the rig at the time. The Coast Guard says it is continuing to search for the missing man, alongside its partner agencies. The five workers who were taken to hospital suffered burns and blast injuries. Two patients were discharged overnight and two more have been moved to a specialist burns unit in a critical condition. Another patient remains in intensive care, also in a critical condition.

Local media outlets say that the rig is owned by Clovelly Oil, a local company, although as yet there has been no formal statement from the company.

A vessel from the Bayou Gauche Fire Department and another “good Samaritan” vessel attended the scene to tackle the fire, which is now largely out. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto told reporters that the fire still burning is low pressure and residual gas, which will now have to burn off. The gas line has now been shut off.

According to the City of Kenner government, the rig exploded after cleaning chemicals caught fire, although there is no further official word on the matter. Lopinto and Dave Tibbetts, fire chief of the Eastbank Consolidated Fire Department in Jefferson Parish, have visited the platform for a preliminary look, but specialist investigators are due on the scene later this afternoon.

There are not currently thought to be any environmental concerns. No sheen has been seen on the lake.

Article by Helen Tunnicliffe

Senior reporter, The Chemical Engineer

Recent Editions

Catch up on the latest news, views and jobs from The Chemical Engineer. Below are the four latest issues. View a wider selection of the archive from within the Magazine section of this site.