Rig owner eyes relief well to divert gas off coast

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The owner of a natural gas drilling rig aflame off Louisiana’s coast says preparations are under way for the possible drilling of a relief well to divert gas from the site and bring the well under control.

Experts say such an effort is a complicated task that could take weeks to complete.

Federal inspectors say a light sheen was spotted around the rig in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday evening, though authorities said it quickly dissipated and the fire aboard the rig continued to be fed by natural gas.

Gas wells often also have oil or other hydrocarbons as well as natural gas. Officials and scientists agree the latest mishap won’t be anywhere near as damaging as the BP oil spill that infamously sent crude oil oozing ashore in 2010.

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