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Authorities see no sheen near burning Gulf rig

Kevin Mcgill and Janet Mcconnaughey, Associated Press

A fire is seen on the Hercules 265 drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, Wednesday, July 24, 2013. Natural gas spewed uncontrolled from the well on Tuesday after a blowout that forced the evacuation of 44 workers aboard the drilling rig, authorities said. No injuries were reported in the blowout. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Environmental experts say a fiery, out-of-control gas well blazing off the Louisiana coast appears to pose fewer environmental dangers than past offshore accidents because it primarily involves natural gas.

They note that gas burns away or is more easily dissipated than the thick crude oil that famously oozed into delicate marshes and coated seabirds following an explosion at BP's Macondo well in 2010.

The fire that raged Wednesday broke out late Tuesday, hours after the well blew wild and forced the evacuation of 44 workers from a drilling rig operating about 55 miles off the Louisiana coast. Wild Well Control Inc., has been hired to develop a plan to bring the well under control, a process that could involve drilling a relief well to divert the gas.