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General News    H1'ed 9/2/10

Oil Rig Incident in Vermillion Bay, Louisiana

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UPDATE:The Coast Guard is saying that a mile-long oil sheen has been seen near the the site of the Mariner Vermillion 380 platform.

UPDATE: Late Thursday afternoon the Coast Guard said through spokesperson CommanderCheri Ben-Iesau thatcrews were unable to confirm the oil sheen during a fly-over.

WWL-TV New Orleansreported the Coast Guard responded to a rig incident south of Grand Isle, Louisiana in Vermilion Bay.

A Coast Guard spokesman told WWL that 13 people were on the rig and that one person was injured and the other 12 have been accounted for. Rescue choppers and cutters are reportedly responding to the scene.

The rig (Vermillion 380) is owned by Mariner Energy. Immediate reports indicate that this was not an active well.

Updates as they come in.

Update: There are reportedly seven Coast Guard helicopters, two Coast Guard airplanes and four Coast Guard cutters enroute to the rig, according to US Coast Guard Petty Officer Casey Ranel. The production platform is located approximately 90 miles from Grand Isle. There are no indications whether or not oil or gas is leaking at the platform, which is located in 340 feet of water, according to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.

Mariner Energy has interests in 350 Federal offshore leases in the Gulf of Mexico, 110 in development.

Mariner drilled five offshore wells in the third quarter of 2009, two of which were successful: the Vermillion 380 was one and Mariner has a one hundred percent working interest.

According to Marine r the damaged well was producing 47 percent oil and 53 percent natural gas at year end 2009.

At year-end 2009 estimated proved reserves attributed to our Vermillion 380 field were 33.2Bcfe, consisting of approximately 47% oil and NGLs and 53% natural gas. During 2008 and 2009, we drilled five wells and added additional production capacity on the "A" platform. Hurricane Ike damaged the structure with the rig on the platform, causing us to suspend drilling while underwater structural repairs were made. We brought the platform back on production at reduced rates until the facilities upgrade was finished. The platform is currently producing approximately 28MMcfe per day. Our working interest in this block is 100%. Production at Vermillion 380 was approximately 1.1Bcfe in 2009.

Bcfe means billions of cubic feet equivalent.

During the last week of August 2010, production from this facility averaged approximately 9.2 million cubic feet of natural gas per day and 1,400 barrels of oil and condensate.

Shares of Mariner Energy(ME)fell $1.16 to $22.19.

As of noon CST all workers are accounted for and safe.

UPDATE 14:00 CST :Mariner energy issued a press release a short time ago which confirmed there was a fire at the site.

Mariner has notified and is working with regulatory authorities in response to this incident. The cause is not known, and an investigation will be undertaken. Updated information will be provided as available.

About Mariner Energy, Inc. Mariner Energy is an independent oil and gas exploration, development, and production company headquartered in Houston, Texas, with principal operations in the Permian Basin, South Texas and the Gulf of Mexico.

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Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill Magazine, the Huffington (more...)

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