Boom deployed to protect Breton wildlife refuge after oil platform fire

Boom deployed to protect Breton wildlife refuge after oil platform fire

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Fire on an oil platform off Louisiana's coast has forced the evacuation of 28 workers Friday, but no one was injured.

The Coast Guard said the workers were evacuated by an offshore supply vessel that reported the fire at 2:50 a.m. As of 4 p.m., the platform, located near Breton Island, continued to burn.

Texas Petroleum Investment Company, the owner and operator of the platform, said a rented compressor was the source of the fire. It estimated that no more than 120 barrels of crude oil - about 5,040 gallons - were stored on the platform. Coast Guard officials had earlier worried that storage tanks on the platform were filled to their capacity of 168,000 gallons.

Production on the platform was shut down. The Coast Guard says a light sheen of oil could be seen along a more than one-mile stretch of water.

TPIC released the following statement:

"The production platform where the fire occurred gathers oil and then pumps it through a pipeline so there is little oil stored on site and all wells feeding the platform have been shut down. Our company is working with the Coast Guard and other agencies to address any environmental issues that develop. All of the workers on the platform were safely evacuated and there were no injuries in this incident."

At 4 p.m. Friday the Coast Guard released a statement saying response vessels were on scene with additional vessels en route, and that fire teams were preparing to extinguish the fire. Spill response equipment and personnel, including boom and skimmers, were en route to help protect the Breton National Wildlife Refuge.

The platform gathers oil from a field of 50 to 60 wells, around 2,200 barrels a day. While the platform has a storage capacity of 4,000 barrels, it is not used for storage.

TPIC is a Houston-based private exploration and production company with principal operations along the Gulf Coast of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The company was founded in 1989 and today operates more than 2,000 producing wells.

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