Thursday, September 02, 2010

Mariner Well Explodes in Gulf of Mexico

A Gulf of Mexico well exploded while "undergoing maintenance activities." Mariner Energy owns the flaming Vermilion Platform 380, where 13 workers were rescued from the water. Apache signed a deal to acquire Mariner for $3.9 billion in cash and stock, but the deal is yet to close. Mariner's 10-K listed the well:

Vermilion 380

Operator- Mariner
Working Interest- 100 %
2009 production- 1.1 billion cubic feet equivalent (Bcfe)
Net estimated proved reserves- 33.2 Bcfe
Estimated reserves % Oil/% Gas- 47%/53%
It stated:

At year-end 2009 estimated proved reserves attributed to our Vermillion 380 field were 33.2 Bcfe, consisting of approximately 47% oil and NGLs and 53% natural gas. During 2008 and 2009, we drilled five wells and added additional production capacity on the “A” platform. Hurricane Ike damaged the structure with the rig on the platform, causing us to suspend drilling while underwater structural repairs were made. We brought the platform back on production at reduced rates until the facilities upgrade was finished. The platform is currently producing approximately 28 MMcfe per day. Our working interest in this block is 100%. Production at Vermillion 380 was approximately 1.1 Bcfe in 2009.

There is no word on the specific maintenance activities under way at Vermilion. Let's hope they weren't changing the blowout preventer.

Early reports sound similar to the Deepwater Horizon. CNBC cited an oil sheen, likely from diesel fuel on board the rig.

A mile-long oil sheen spread Thursday from an offshore petroleum platform burning in the Gulf of Mexico off Lousiana, west of the site of BP's massive spill.

However, the story changed from "not in production" to "in production" at the time of the explosion. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs offered this:

"We obviously have response assets ready for deployment should we receive reports of pollution in the water," Gibbs said.

Something's in the water.

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