Another explosion offshore Louisiana in the US Gulf of Mexico

By Phaedra Friend Troy

Facilities at the Mariner-operated Vermillion 380 project exploded Thursday morning in the waters offshore Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico.

The United States Coast Guard received a call at 9:30 central standard time at it New Orleans, Louisiana, office concerning the Vermillion 380, confirmed Petty Officer Prentice Danner to PennEnergy.

Located 80 miles offshore Louisiana, the Vermillion 380 is operated by Mariner Energy.

The US Coast Guard deployed seven helicopters and four Coast Guard Cutter ships to the site and has recovered 13 people so far, Petty Officer Danner said.

The Times Picayune reported that one person is injured. According to the New Orleans newspaper, the Vermillion 380 is a fixed production and drilling facility located on South Timbalier Block 316.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management confirmed to PennEnergy that the US Coast Guard “is responding to and on this event,” but did not offer any more information at this time.

In the company’s third quarter 2009 earnings conference call, Scott Josey with Mariner revealed that the Vermillion 380 project was delayed due to damage sustained during Huricane Ike in 2008 and that restoration of the facilities were taking longer than planned. Josey called it an “impact project,” and expected production of 3,000 to 4,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day net to Mariner by the end of the year. 

Apache (NYSE:APA) is currently in a $2.7 billion merger agreement to buy Mariner Energy.

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