Rig set aside for cleanup from July explosion in Gulf of Mexico

Oct. 23, 2013 at 10:01 AM
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HOUSTON, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- Hercules Offshore Inc. said a rig crippled by a July natural gas explosion in the Gulf of Mexico will remain out of service indefinitely.

Hercules said in its fleet status update that rig 205 was in the Gulf of Mexico working on salvage operations tied to the July collapse of rig 265. Rig 265 was listed as "out of service indefinitely."

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 rig 265, owned by Hercules, had collapsed.

No injuries or significant environmental damage resulted from the accident, officials said.

The natural gas well was sealed naturally by sediment and debris in a process known as bridging. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement approved plans to seal the well permanently with cement.

Fewer than half of the 29 rigs contracted from Hercules in the Gulf of Mexico were listed as out of service for routine maintenance.

Hercules Chief Executive Officer John Rynd said in a statement during the second quarter the July incident presented short-term challenges for the company but shouldn't detract from its overall momentum.

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