Up to 12 still missing in Deepwater Horizon semisub fire in Gulf of Mexico

At roughly 10:00p.m. CST time on Tuesday, April 20, a fire broke out on Transocean Ltd.’s semisubmersible drilling rig Deepwater Horizon in the US Gulf of Mexico. The rig was located approximately 41 miles offshore Louisiana on Mississippi Canyon block 252 and was operated by BP Exploration & Production Inc. 

Click to EnlargeTransocean's Emergency and Family Response Teams are working with the US Coast Guard and lease operator BP to care for all rig personnel and search for missing rig personnel. While a majority of the 126 member crew is safe, some crew members remain unaccounted for. According to the US Coast Guard, up to a dozen crew members remain missing and at least seven are reported as critically injured. Two of the seven were flown to a New Orleans hospital and another two were flown to a burn unit in Mobile, Alabama, the Coast Guard said. 

Those familiar with the situation report the well as an exploratory well and not a producing well.

The cause of the accident was not immediately known. 

Last fall, BP won a three-year contract extension for the Deepwater Horizon for operations in the US Gulf of Mexico beginning in September 2010. Capable of operating in water depths up to 10,000 feet, the Deepwater Horizon entered service in 2001 and recently set the world record for the deepest oil and gas well at 35,050 feet total vertical depth, drilled for BP at the Tiber prospect.

Shares of Transocean were down 1.1% this morning.

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