A natural gas well is still burning in the Gulf of Mexico, 55 miles from Louisiana, several hours after a Tuesday blowout ignited it, the Associated Press reports.
No injuries have been reported, but 44 workers were evacuated from a drilling rig at the site. The well is owned by Walter Oil & Gas.
The good news is that the leak is unlikely to cause significant environmental damage.
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement told the AP that it hasn’t seen any oil sheen on the surface of the water (meaning the gas is probably burning off), and a member of the federal panel that investigated the BP oil spill said the gas might not affect the Gulf’s water system.
This leak resembles a similar incident from earlier this month, also in the Gulf of Mexico near Louisiana. In that instance, the natural gas leak caused a sheen on the surface of the water. That site was also evacuated. Both rigs were older and not currently being used.
Natural gas dissolves much more easily than oil, so it’s not nearly as dangerous as the crude that leaked into the Gulf during the BP oil disaster. Researchers said they should be able to stop leak relatively easily.
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