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Experts: Gas in Gulf blowout is less damaging

July 24, 2013 • National News


A fire is seen on the Hercules 265 drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, Wednesday, July 24, 2013. Natural gas spewed uncontrolled from the well on Tuesday after a blowout that forced the evacuation of 44 workers aboard the drilling rig, authorities said. No injuries were reported in the blowout. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A blown-out natural gas well blazing off Louisiana’s coast poses fewer environmental dangers than past offshore accidents because it appears to primarily involve gas that disperses relatively easily, scientists said Wednesday.

“A gas well’s not going to result in any kind of major pollution — perhaps not even significant pollution if it’s burning,” said Ted Bourgoyne, the former chair of Louisiana State University’s petroleum engineering department. He now runs the consultancy Bourgoyne Enterprises Inc.

Federal inspectors said a light sheen was spotted around the rig on Wednesday evening, though authorities said it quickly dissipated and the fire aboard the rig continued to be fed by natural gas. A sheen was spotted shortly after the blowout began on Tuesday but it, too, quickly dissipated.

Gas wells often also have oil or other hydrocarbons as well as natural gas. Officials and scientists agree the latest mishap shouldn’t be nearly as damaging as the BP oil spill that famously sent crude oil Login to read more

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