UPDATE: Now the Coast Guard says they were wrong, the rig explosion did not cause a spill.
No, it’s not even close to BP redux, but the story is noteworthy — and not just for its irony, as TP makes clear:
The U.S. Coast Guard said this morning that a natural gas and oil drilling platform exploded 80 miles off the coast of Louisiana. A Coast Guard spokesperson said the platform, Vermilion Oil Rig 360, is an oil and gas platform owned by Houston-based Mariner Energy. The AP reports, “the platform was producing about 58,800 gallons of oil and 900,000 cubic feet of gas per day. The platform can store 4,200 gallons of oil.” Apache Corp. recently purchased Mariner in a multi-billion dollar deal.
Just yesterday, however, the Financial Times reported that employees from Apache and Mariner, along with thousands of oil industry workers, rallied in Houston to protest the Obama administration’s offshore drilling moratorium that was designed as a safety precaution after BP’s disastrous Gulf oil spill. A Mariner Energy employee chastised the Obama administration for its drilling moratorium, which would not have affected the rig that exploded today:
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.”
Apache Corp. recently agreed to buy BP assets in order to help the British oil giant meet its financial obligations as a result of its Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Thirteen workers were on the rig when it exploded; the Coast Guard has said that “all 13 workers involved in the production platform explosion are accounted for, but one person is injured.”
— This is a Think Progress cross-post (with some additional reporting by CP).