[Updated at 9:36 p.m.] Earl has been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane but is still dangerous, the National Hurricane Center said in its 8 p.m. Thursday forecast.
As of 8 p.m., the center of Earl was about 160 miles (260 kilometers) south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and about 625 miles (1,005 kilometers) south-southwest of Nantucket. It was heading north at about 18 mph (30 kph) with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (165 kph).
"Even if the center of Earl remains offshore ... hurricane force winds are expected to occur in the Outer Banks overnight tonight," the center said Thursday.
[Updated at 2:14 p.m.] For continuing coverage of the incident involving a production platform on fire in the Gulf read the full story here.
[Updated at 2:08 p.m.] U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Elizabeth Bordelon tells CNN there is a sheen at the site of the production platform that measures approximately 1 mile by 100 feet. This information comes after Gov. Bobby Jindal who said there were reports of a mile-long sheen.
[Updated at 1:03 p.m.] Mariner Energy, owner of the production platform, said in a press release that no hydrocarbon spill has been reported after an initial flyover of the incident.
"Mariner has notified and is working with regulatory authorities in response to this incident," the statement said. "The cause is not known, and an investigation will be undertaken. During the last week of August 2010, production from this facility averaged approximately 9.2 million cubic feet of natural gas per day and 1,400 barrels of oil and condensate."
The company also said no injuries have been reported.
[Updated at 12:48 p.m.] David Reed, a paramedic on board a neighboring oil rig located 14 miles from the platform that exploded, told iReport he saw all thirteen workers rescued from the water.
“We were up here in the radio room and all of sudden we saw a whole bunch of smoke coming from the platform," Reed said. "Shortly after all the radios started lighting up like a Christmas tree. They called any helicopters in the area, any boats in the area to respond, they were saying there were people in the water. There were multiple people in the water.”
See Reed's iReport of what he witnessed
WWL: Coast Guard reporting production platform incident
WDSU: Production platform explodes in Gulf
iReport: Did you see the explosion? Share images
[Updated at 12:32 p.m.] White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday that the federal government has "assets ready" to respond to any environmental problems resulting from the explosion of an oil platform off the coast of Louisiana.
Click to watch video
[Updated at 12:31 p.m.] All thirteen people aboard a production platform that exploded in the Gulf are accounted for and safely on a commercial vessel according to initial information, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement.
"We continue to gather information as we respond with full force, and have oil spill response assets ready for immediate deployment should we receive any reports of pollution," the statement said.
[Updated at 11:53 a.m.] U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Bill Colclough tells CNN that 12 people from the production platform are in water immersion suits as they await rescue.
Colclough told CNN there are reports the production platform, which is for both oil and natural gas, is still on fire.
"We don't know what caused the rig to catch on fire," he told CNN, noting the incident is under investigation.
Asked about concerns regarding oil leaks or pollution, Colclough said "there are reports the rig was not actively producing any product, so we don't know if there's any risk of pollution."
Mariner Energy is a leading independent oil and gas exploration and production company in the Gulf of Mexico. About 85 percent of the company's production comes from offshore assets, with a growing share of that coming from deepwater developments.
The explosion comes nearly five months after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded April 20, killing 11 people and causing oil to gush into
the Gulf of Mexico, leading to one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.
[Updated at 11:43 a.m.] U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Bill Colclough tells CNN that all 13 workers involved in the production platform explosion are accounted for, but one person is injured.
Coast Guard Choppers are on the way to the site 80 miles south of Vermilion Bay.
[Posted at 11:33 a.m.] An oil production platform has exploded 80 miles off the coast of Louisiana, with 12 people overboard and one missing, the Coast Guard said Thursday morning.
Rescue attempts are under way for at least 12 people, Coast Guard spokesman John Edwards told CNN. 13 people were on board the production platform total, Edwards said, noting 12 have been accounted for, but one person was missing.
The accident took place 80 miles off the coast of Louisiana on the Vermilion Oil production platform 380, which is owned by Houston-based Mariner Energy.
The Coast Guard has multiple helicopters, an airplane and several Coast Guard cutters en route. It's unknown if there are any injuries.
An interested conjecture is being examined at several think tanks: That oil is NOT a result of the decay and compression of ancient organic life. The point that refutes that long-held belief - which I had accepted, until the recent discussions - is that 35,000 feet down is well below any conceivable organic-sourced depth. That is, the decomp of organic material could not be its genesis.
So, what is? The conjecture - as yet unproven, simply a guess at a possible alternative - is that the forces operating in deep subsurface formations are creating oil de novo, from elements found deep within the Earth. And that - here's the radical conclusion from that presumption - oil is not a non-renewable resource but, if we drill to those deep strata, we will finf the supply is vituallly inexhaustable.
It's only a conjecture - but one worthy of more detailed scientific investigation.
For, if it is not true: Where did oil at 35,000 feet down come from?
Go to Culturemap.com and see the only photo of the fire.
So how's that "free market" workin' out for ya?
I bet BP is really happy it wasn't another one of their platforms! Hope there is no oil leak.
Jesus CNN, a fire on the deck, an explosion on the deck, and the rig exploding are all different things. Perhaps you can stick to the known facts rather than dramatizing and speculating.. maybe?
It's interesting to read the notes from those who bash oil and oil production. The rest of us are too wise to bite the hand that feeds us. If oil critics understood how much petroleum is used to produce every-day items and medicines they'd simmer down......
Chicago Tribune is reporting a mile-long oil sheen coming from the site of the explosion....
When the first plane hit the WTC, most people thought it was an accident. When the second plane hit, they realized it wasn't. Call me a lunatic, but I believe this is part of an Islamic conspiracy. Note that this has to do with oil....who benefits! Of course, the Administration will deny any link to terror, and claim this was just an accidental explosion.....just like they talk about Islamophobia instead of having the courage to say that Islam as it's practiced by some of it most prominent adherents ia a religion of hatred and violence. Wake up before it's too late.
You'd might be able to make that argument if this had occured anywhere else but in Louisiana. We got plenty enough illegals, but they're mostly Spanish and Christian. No Muslims work in our oil industry. They can't slip some terrorist onto a platform without a cajun noticing. It may be comforting for you to use terrorism as an excuse, but they ain't that good.
Why not just support drilling offshore in Alaska. Drill, baby, drill. That way, all the non-environmentalists in Alaska can deal with the consequences, and with the profits, of course. But anyone driving around all alone in their pickup trick or SUV shouldn't be saying this explosion is due to eco-terrorism. It's our demand for oil that is driving these platforms in the first place.
Food for Thought:
oil and gas is used for more than you think. Sure you park your car, but also you stop transportation as a whole (planes, trains, automobiles). Next you turn off over half the countries power generation. You still have nuclear, solar, and wind but wait the insulation to carry the electricity to your homes/business is plastic (petroleum based). So now EVERYONE is sitting in the dark. Clothing – unless it is natural (cotton, wool ...) it is most likley petroleum based. Got a headache, need medicine, too bad. A large portion of pharmaceuticals is petroleum based. So basically you sitting nude in the dark with a headache (looking like an idiot) hoping none of your enemies don't come attack you because your miltary can't defend you because you have decided to take their fuel away. Do you want to discuss the affects it would have if you TOTALLY shutdown nearly EVERY business in the US? Petroleum products are in our lives way more than people think.
Exactly! People jump on the hype and don't bother to check out the truth – we are COMPLETELY dependant on oil by-products (as I was saying earlier, but you did a much more thourough list). Its not something we can break at this point. We'll just have to try to be more responsible with it, because we can't live without it at this point in our culture. Whether it comes from offshore rigs, Alaska, the middle east doesn't matter – the potential for environmental disaster is there wherever drilling is occuring. If we can't break our addiciton to its products, then we're just going to have to man up and be more responsible with the regulations surrounding it and our own use of its products.
Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.
When they came out and said the oil is evaporating faster then expected, another company thought they would finish the job of destroying our Gulf. Keep it up boys, your doing a fine job of ruining the only planet we have.
Honestly, I think IF there is any truth to 2012, oil will be the cause of our demise. Why are there so many natural disasters lately? It makes wonder if the earth's crust needs this oil to lubricate all of the layers like we need the lubrication around our bones? If there is such things as warning signs, I think we've had our fair share. One oil spill for our water species is quite enough.
I would love to know how many of you actually live in the gulf. This is obviously a problem and a consistant problem that just needs to stop. For all of you boys that are just the obese middle aged nobodies, like dragonsoul for example, i love how the lot of you sit around on the computer copy and pasting your way through the commentary to try and attempt to show that you have any moderate kind of intelligence about the situation in the gulf or how these rigs work. You really should stop acting like you know what your talking about because the only thing thats visible to me is that alot of you are completely full of s..t and should stay off the internet and actually get to school. Actually you should get in school again and move to the gulf so you can actually get a take of whats going on down here. Looking at a news website and throwing out the occasional big word to make an attempt at getting respect from anyone on how intelligent you are about the situation at hand doesnt work and you only make yourselves look like an ass in the end. This definetly goes for all you pro-drill boys and girls. Have a nice day and you have just been mashed.
This is a terrorist attack. The oil rigs are so vulnerable. Open ocean, a small craft (either by air or water) can easily get close enough to cause havoc. We need to force the oil companies to pay to have them properly secured from all threats. This has to be non-negotiable our oceans are vital to our existence.
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