Last night the well caught fire and continues to burn today, and a slight sheen of oil was seen dissipating on the surface. The federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has sent a firefighting boat to the scene according to a report from the Associated Press.
The platform was not producing natural gas at the time it began leaking, but Hercules Offshore was completing a sidetrack well, which is a new entry to an existing well bore and is sometimes used to fix a problem in the original bore. The well is owned by Walter Oil & Gas.
Earlier this month another old, non-operating rig was evacuated in the Gulf of Mexico. At that well, workers were plugging a well first developed in the 1970s in preparation for abandonment. That well is owned by Talos Energy, a joint venture of Apollo Global Management LLC (NYSE: APO) and Riverstone Holdings.
Shares of Hercules Offshore are down about 5.5% in early trading this morning, at $7.27 in a 52-week range of $3.35 to $7.96.