By ALISON SIDER
A well in the Gulf of Mexico that has been leaking natural gas since Tuesday has been blocked by sediment and sand, US federal regulators said Thursday morning.
A natural-gas-fueled fire that has been burning at the well since Tuesday night has been reduced to a small flame, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said in a statement.
The rig was evacuated Tuesday morning after the well it was drilling blew out. All 44 crewmembers evacuated safely from the rig, which was located in 154 feet of water about 55 miles off Grand Isle, Louisiana. The gas ignited at about 10:50 p.m. on Tuesday.
Regulators said they will continue to oversee efforts to seal off the well, and are trying to determine the cause of the accident.
The rig's owner, Hercules Offshore Inc. (HERO), said Wednesday that the rig looks to have sustained "extensive damage" to a derrick.
Dow Jones Newswires