The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the U.S. Coast Guard conducted multiple overflights today to supplement responsible party flights to maintain aerial surveillance of the scene. The natural gas well continues to fuel the fire on the rig. The derrick and drill floor structure has collapsed over the rig, and a very light sheen that dissipates quickly has been observed in the ocean.
A water curtain is being applied by a fire-fighting vessel to the rig, not to extinguish the fire, but to provide heat protection to the rig.
Coast Guard Cutter Pompano and Cutter Cypress are on location enforcing the safety zone and assessing the changing conditions on the rig.
BSEE expects Walter Oil & Gas to submit a permit application to drill a relief well shortly. The permit, which would include details on the proposed well and the casing and cementing programs, must be approved by BSEE engineers before drilling could commence.
The jack-up rig Hercules 265 is situated 55 miles offshore Louisiana in 154 feet of water. Walter Oil and Gas Corporation experienced a loss of control of Well A-3 at approximately 8:45 a.m. July 23.