Is the New Gulf of Mexico Oil Explosion Big Trouble?

An explosion at an oil rig owned by Houston-based Black Elk Energy off the coast of Louisiana has left two workers dead and two more missing on Friday morning, the U.S. Coast Guard said. Four other injured workers were taken to hospital. Bloomberg was reporting that the fire had been extinguished and that employees were en route to the platform. It wasn’t clear if any oil spilled into the gulf.

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On its website, Black Elk Energy said earlier that it planned to start drilling the first of 23 new wells in the Gulf of Mexico this month.

According to initial reports, the rig is not drilling at a deepwater site like the BP (NYSE:BP) Macondo oil well that exploded in 2010, killing 11 workers and leading to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. Jefferson Parish councilman Chris Roberts told WWL-TV that the Friday fire occurred at a shallow water platform located in West Delta Block 32 in the Gulf of Mexico, south of New Iberia on the south-central Louisiana coast. On Thursday, BP had agreed to plead guilty to the criminal charges against it in the Macondo case and pay a record $4.5 billion in a settlement. Three BP employees have been charged, two with manslaughter.

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