Gas rig 'sustained extensive damage' in fire

July 25, 2013 at 5:38 PM

HOUSTON, July 25 (UPI) -- The Hercules 265 jackup drilling rig in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico "sustained extensive damage" in a fire that erupted aboard the rig, Hercules Offshore said.

The fire started Tuesday evening as workers preparing the drill rig for production hit an unexpected pocket of gas, CNN reported.

About 44 workers were evacuated from the rig. No injuries were reported.

"Based on a visual flyover inspection conducted by Hercules Offshore, the jackup rig is still standing, however it appears to have sustained extensive damage to the derrick package as a result of the continuing fire that ignited yesterday evening," Houston-based Hercules Offshore, which owns the rig, said in a release.

Hercules Offshore said it may drill a relief well to "regain control of the natural gas well," the release said.

"In the event that a relief well is necessary, the company is preparing to promptly mobilize the Hercules 200, a 200 [foot] mat-supported cantilevered unit to execute drilling of the relief well," the release said.

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