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Gas Well Blowout Raises Concerns About Drilling Safety

In this Wednesday, July 24, 2013 photo released by the U.S. Coast Guard, abatement efforts underway near Hercules 265 Rig where fire has caused collapse of the drill floor and derrick following an explosion Tuesday night. (U.S. Coast Guard via AP)
In this Wednesday, July 24, 2013 photo released by the U.S. Coast Guard, abatement efforts underway near Hercules 265 Rig where fire has caused collapse of the drill floor and derrick following an explosion Tuesday night. (U.S. Coast Guard via AP)

A natural gas well explosion in the Gulf of Mexico is reviving concerns about drilling safety, three years after the Deepwater Horizon explosion led to the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

Forty-four crew members were evacuated Tuesday morning after the well blew out in shallow water, some 55 miles off the coast of Louisiana.

While the cause of the blowout is still under investigation, a key safety measure failed on the rig.

Known as a blowout preventer, the set of valves are meant to close down a well in an emergency to stop the flow of oil and gas. In this case, the equipment was located on board the rig.

A blow-out preventer far below the sea was implicated in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion.

Guest

  • Tom Fowler, energy reporter for the Wall Street Journal. He tweets @HoustonFowler.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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