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Sep 2, 2010 4:12 PM by Katie Durio

Governor Bobby Jindal Holds Press Conference to Give Update on Mariner Platform Fire in Gulf

BATON ROUGE - Governor Bobby Jindal held a press conference today on the Mariner Production Platform fire incident in the Gulf, following a UCG meeting with all state agencies and Coast Guard Admiral Landry and Captain Stanton who joined by phone. State officials were also briefed by senior Mariner company officials on their response to the incident before the press conference.

Governor Jindal said, "We know this morning at 9:19AM, the Coast Guard received a call that Platform 380 was completely engulfed in flames. The rig in flames is owned by Mariner Energy, which is south of VermillionBay.

"Mariner Energy recently told us that they shut in the production platform, I want to stress that neither the state nor the US Coast Guard have verified that information at this time. We are working with the Coast Guard to ensure that the platform is indeed shut in and not leaking anything into the water.

"It is too early to know what sparked the fire. The Coast Guard will do interviews with those who were rescued from the rig in order to determine the cause of the fire. Mariner is also investigating the cause of the fire on their platform, which is still burning at this time, but they told us they believe the fire is ‘almost burned out' at this point.

"Mariner confirmed there were 13 people on board the platform. One was injured, but all are accounted for and have now been picked up by the Coast Guard and are being transported to Terrebonne GeneralHospital for evaluation of any injuries.

"Five aircraft from the US Coast Guard were launched from New Orleans in response to the incident, along with two helicopters from Houston and one fixed wing aircraft from Mobile. The Coast Guard set up a flight restriction zone - 10 miles across in diameter and 5,000 feet high in order to support any search and rescue efforts.

"Officials with Mariner told us there are seven active wells on the production platform, and at one time there were 13 active wells. One of those active seven are said to have caught fire and the company says that all seven are shut in right now, but I want to stress again that the Coast Guard is still working to verify that the platform is indeed fully shut in. Current production from the platform is 1,400 barrels a day - 1,800 barrels a day maximum - and 9.2 million cubic feet of natural gas a day, Mariner officials told us.

"I also want to point out that the platform is in 340 feet of water, making it a shallow water well. There has also been a report of sheen around the platform that is one nautical mile by 100 feet, but again, this was reported by one source and has not been confirmed.

"We know that two pipelines from this platform go to shore: one is for Shell, which has not been active in months, and the other is for A&R, which is active. A vessel named the ‘Candy Apple' is on site now combating the fire and Mariner Energy is exercising their fire-fighting plan.

"US Coast Guard Admiral Mary Landry said the Coast Guard will take the lead on pollution response. US Coast Guard Capt. Ed Stanton is the point person to ensure that the firefighting plan the company is executing does not worsen the shut in of the platform. Adm. Landry said assets from the Deepwater Horizon response are still located nearby. Capt. Stanton said Coast Guard's first response would be to apply dispersants in the event of oil leaking, but with only a sheen reported at this time they will not activate that response yet.

"Mariner suspects that what is burning now was in storage. The company had 100 barrels of condensate on the platform, but again, there is no confirmation of what is burning at this time and the Coast Guard is continuing to work to confirm the source of the fire.

"We know from the Deepwater Horizon Spill that information comes in very rapidly and often changes as our awareness increases on the ground. We already have a Coast Guard liaison embedded, which is very important to maintain maximum situational awareness as this incident continues to unfold."

The Governor also stressed that the state has told the Coast Guard they are ready to provide any resources needed in response activities. The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has already deployed four 32-foot Boston Whaler boats to the site of the platform fire. Those boats were launched out of Vermillion this morning. Additionally, LSP and LOSCO are sending agency representatives to work with response officials on site in Vermillion.

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