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Hercules Offshore, Inc. (HERO), Chevron Corporation (CVX): Five Disturbing Energy Blunders in 2013

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Pipeline blaze in the Gulf. Photo credit: AP Photo/US Coast Guard, Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Vega.

So far, 2013 isn’t shaping up to be the energy industry’s safest year. A number of disasters have occurred, which have brought unwanted attention to the industry. Here’s a look at the industry’s five biggest blunders so far this year.

A Herculean disaster averted in the Gulf
Just this past week, a blowout occurred on a Hercules Offshore, Inc. (NASDAQ:HERO) -owned rig operating in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Natural gas leaking from a well off the coast of Louisiana caught fire and spread to the Hercules Offshore, Inc. (NASDAQ:HERO) rig. Fortunately, all 48 personnel in the rig were safely evacuated. However, the incident underscores the risks of drilling offshore. It could have been a lot worse, as no one was hurt, and this is a natural gas well so the environmental threats are far less than if it were an oil well. While the well is not yet under control, Hercules Offshore, Inc. (NASDAQ:HERO) investors appear to have caught a break, which is why stock was down only about 4% on the week.

The Gulf aflame, again
Earlier in the year, oil did catch fire in the Gulf after a Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) -owned pipeline caught fire after being hit by a tugboat pushing an oil barge. Cleanup crews were quick to respond in deploying thousands of feet of containment booms and skimmers. However, the incident left a mile-long oil sheen in the Gulf, which isn’t something any of us wanted to see in the Gulf again. Luckily, the incident didn’t cause much harm or damage, though it did serve as a reminder of the risks we face in securing our energy future.

Photo Credit: Flickr/DVIDSHUB.

Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM)’s oily mess Oil and gas giant Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) had a pretty big mess on its hands when its 70-year-old Pegasus oil pipeline sprang a leak. In late March, the pipeline spilled about 5,000 barrels of crude oil, or about 210,000 gallons, in Mayflower, Ark. Luckily, that was just a fraction of the 90,000 barrels of crude oil that flow through the pipeline each day. The spill caused quite a stir against the transporting of crude oil by pipes, and it certainly didn’t help the cause of the politically charged Keystone XL. Nor did it help that the pipeline sprang a small leak again about a month later. This time it spilled about one barrel of crude oil in a residential yard about 200 miles from the Mayflower spill.
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