A natural gas drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, Hercules 265, burns in this July 24, 2013, photograph. All 44 crew members evacuated safely from the rig, which exploded late on July 23, about 55 miles off Grand Isle, Louisiana. The rig's owner, Adam Bourgoyne, a former dean at LSU's petroleum engineering department, told the Associated Press that a relief well might be needed to fully contain the leaking gas. "A gas well's not going to result in any kind of major pollution—perhaps not even significant pollution if it's burning," said Bourgoyne. While located in the same waters, the ecological fallout from this incident is likely to be very different from the damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which blew up in 2010 and spilled millions of gallons of oil for weeks. "The biggest danger from gas is that it is extremely flammable. At high concentration, gas exposure can cause health issues (vomiting, headaches, and worse), but such high levels are not likely to be reached in warm, shallow waters." said Samantha Joye, a University of George marine scientist.
Photo: U.S. Coast Guard Handout/Reuters