Hercules Offshore upbeat after rig collapse

Aug. 1, 2013 at 10:30 AM

HOUSTON, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- A July explosion at a natural gas rig off the Louisiana coast will create challenges but won't hurt the momentum for Hercules Offshore Inc., an executive said.

Operator Walter Oil and Gas Co. told regulators July 23 it lost control of a natural gas well off the coast of Louisiana. A gas cloud ignited and, by the next day, part of the rig owned by Hercules Offshore Inc. had collapsed.

The incident is considered under control. No injuries or significant environmental damage resulted from the accident.

Hercules reported a net income from the second quarter from continuing operations of $16.6 million, compared with a $52.5 million loss year-on-year.

Hercules Chief Executive Officer John Rynd said in a statement the company is seeing an increase in demand for high-caliber drilling rigs offshore. He said Hercules Offshore was looking to capitalize on second quarter success by looking for contract opportunities internationally.

The July incident presented short-term challenges for the company but shouldn't detract from its overall momentum, he said Wednesday.

"Our culture of safety, which emphasizes crisis training and management, helped prepare us to respond to the incident in an effective and efficient manner," he said.

The well closed naturally and responders are working to seal it permanently.

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