Hercules Offshore Inc. (NASDAQ: HERO) is experiencing a well control incident on the jackup drilling rig Hercules 265, a 250-foot mat-supported cantilevered unit. Efforts are ongoing to regain control of the natural gas well. All personnel on board were evacuated from the rig, which reportedly caught fire. The extent of the damage is currently unknown. The rig is operating for Walter Oil & Gas Corp. in the US Gulf of Mexico OCS lease block South Timbalier 220.
On July 23, it was evacuated after a natural-gas well blew out in shallow water off Grand Isle, Louisiana. Natural gas leaking from the well was dissipating quickly, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. However, the next day, Hercules Offshore said that the natural gas flowing from the well ignited, which then spread to the rig. All necessary governmental authorities have been notified of the incident.
"Our first and foremost concern is for the safety of all personnel aboard our drilling rig and we have taken every necessary precaution to safely evacuate the rig,” said John T. Rynd, CEO and president of Hercules Offshore. “Furthermore, efforts are ongoing with our client, Walter Oil & Gas, to mobilize the necessary resources to regain control of the well and minimize any potential impact on the environment."
Hercules said that, while it is working with Walter Oil & Gas and regulatory authorities to determine the cause of the incident, the company’s immediate focus is on stopping the flow of natural gas from the well.
Headquartered in Houston, Texas, the company operates a fleet of 40 jackup rigs, including two Keppel FELS Super A high-specification, harsh-environment jackup rigs, and 24 lift boats. It offers a range of services to oil and gas producers to meet their needs during drilling, well service, platform inspection, maintenance, and decommissioning operations in several key shallow-water provinces around the world.