Gulf Blaze Rattles Oil Industry

Latest accident adds to calls for more regulation
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2010 1:19 AM CDT
Fire boats spray water on an oil and gas platform that was engulfed by flames in the Gulf of Mexico yesterday.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(Newser) – The latest fire on an oil and gas platform in the Gulf of Mexico yesterday may not have spilled more oil into the Gulf, but it has further polluted the industry's image. The accident is going to make it harder for the industry to argue that the Deepwater Horizon disaster was a fluke as it fights tighter regulation and a moratorium on deep-water drilling, energy experts tell the Wall Street Journal.

The platform engulfed by fire yesterday was in shallow water and it wasn't drilling when the accident occurred, but analysts say the fire adds to perceptions among some lawmakers that the industry is unsafe and under-regulated. The platform has a history of maintenance and repair issues and its owner, Mariner Energy, has been involved in at least a dozen offshore accidents since 2006, including four fires and a minor blowout, the Houston Chronicle reports.

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