Sept. 2, 2010 – An oil sheen has been spotted at the location of the Mariner Energy oil platform explosion. The sheen is approximately 100 feet wide and 1 mile long. A spokesman for Mariner Energy had originally indicated that there was no evidence that oil had spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. The Coast Guard has called back many of its resources since the fire is now under control and all the workers have been accounted for and rescued.
There has been no explanation by the company, so far, as to the source of the visible oil slick.
More information has been learned about the distressed Mariner Energy oil platform, which is located 200 miles west of the site of BP’s oil spill. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal indicated that Mariner Energy officials had informed him that the platform had seven active production wells on the platform but that they were all shut down after the fire started.
According to the federal government, the Mariner Energy platform had been producing 58,800 gallons of oil and 900,000 cubic feet of natural gas everyday. The platform can store 4,200 gallons of oil, so the majority of that produced is transported off the platform via a network of pipelines.
Although a deepwater drilling moratorium has been in effect for much of the Gulf of Mexico stemming from the BP disaster, the Mariner Energy platform sits in only 340 feet of water. Because the platform is physically locked into the seabed floor, it is not considered to be a “deepwater” and therefore not subject to the moratorium.
Mariner Energy spokesman Patrick Cassidy noted that the incident on the platform “wasn’t a blowout, it’s not an explosion. The fire appears to have been in or near the living quarters on the upper deck.”
Although there is a visible oil sheen on the water surface, there is no indication that the well itself has been breached.