Firefighters Battle Fire On Natural Gas Rig In Mediterranean For A Second Day

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Firefighters battled for a second day Wednesday to contain a fire burning on a rig pumping natural gas out of the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt's semiofficial news agency reported.

Oil Ministry officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Middle East News Agency that workers were drilling holes in a leaking well to release gases to contain the fire, while firefighters are dousing the platform with sea water.

``It might take ten days to put out the fire,'' MENA quoted officials as saying.

The fire broke out on the Adriatic 4 on Tuesday because of a natural gas overflow.

On Tuesday, Petrobel evacuated the entire 79 staff of the rig, which stands about 70 kilometers (44 miles) northeast of Port Said on Egypt's northeastern coast.

The ministry is preparing to replace the gutted platform, the officials said.

Petrobel is Egypt's second largest oil producer. It is a joint venture between Egypt's General Petroleum Cooperation and Agip of Italy.