Mariner Energy the Day Before Rig Explosion: Obama ‘Is Trying To Break Us’
September 2, 2010
(ChattahBox Business News)—The explosion today of a shallow water oil and gas producing platform in the Gulf of Mexico, owned by Mariner Energy raised new questions about the safety of offshore oil drilling and production. Luckily, all 13 workers escaped unharmed. Previous reports of one injured worker were not accurate. And despite initial reports of an oil sheen, there doesn’t appear to be an oil leak. The shutoff valves operated properly to cut off the oil flow. The temporary moratorium on offshore oil drilling imposed by President Obama, after BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster, that left 11 workers dead and caused the worst oil spill in history, did not apply to Mariner’s Vermilion Oil Rig operation. But that hasn’t stopped Mariner Energy employees from opposing the moratorium. As pointed out by Think Progress, just the day before the explosion of the Vermilion, Mariner employees participated in a pro-oil event at the Houston convention center, in which a company official complained that President Obama was out to get the oil industry with his moratorium put in place to review safety regulations. The very next day, an oil-producing platform owned by Mariner Energy exploded into flames.
Companies ranging from Chevron to Apache bussed in up to 5,000 employees to the Houston convention centre to underline to Washington the industry’s contribution to the country. [...]
“I have been in the oil and gas industry for 40 years, and this administration is trying to break us,” said Barbara Dianne Hagood, senior landman for Mariner Energy, a small company. “The moratorium they imposed is going to be a financial disaster for the gulf coast, gulf coast employees and gulf coast residents.”
Reuters reports the fire began on the upper deck and the cause is not yet known.
The fire burned for several hours before it was extinguished. A company spokesman said it started on an upper deck of the platform where living quarters were located, and had not been caused by a “blowout,” or sudden release of oil and gas from a well. [...]
Automated shutoff equipment turned off the flow of oil and gas from the platform’s seven producing wells as the crew evacuated, Mariner said.
This is not the first explosion on one of Mariner’s oil rigs.
The fire was the fifth reported at offshore sites operated by Mariner since October 2006, according to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.
None of the earlier fires caused any fatalities, although workers were injured in two of the accidents. The company also suffered a blowout while drilling a well about 90 miles off the Louisiana coast in May 2008, but the well was brought under control within a few hours.
The temporary offshore oil drilling moratorium is due to expire in November.