Correction, 12:30 p.m.: Contrary to initial reports, the barges did not contain liquefied natural gas. A spokesman for the company that owns the barges clarified their contents in a statement this morning.
The barges are owned by Houston-based Kirby Inland Marine, company spokesman Greg Beuerman said. He said the barges were empty and being cleaned at the Oil Recovery Co. facility when the incident began. He said the barges had been carrying a liquid called natural gasoline -- which he said is neither liquefied natural gas or natural gas. He said the company has dispatched a team to work with investigators to determine what caused the fire.
According to the Energy Information Administration, natural gasoline is "term used in the gas processing industry to refer to a mixture of liquid hydrocarbons extracted from natural gas." While a derivative of natural gas, it is not liquified natural gas — the product being considered for export.
(Original article) After about eleven hours, fires have finally been extinguished on two liquified natural gas barges that exploded multiple times overnight in Mobile, Alabama. Three men who were cleaning the barges were critically injured. The spectacular accident comes at a time when production is growing rapidly and the industry is pushing for the government to allow it to ship more natural gas overseas.
According to AL.com, there were at least six explosions over the course of the fire, which occurred on the east shore of the Mobile River. The barges had been partially emptied, but still apparently contained some natural gasoline, a derivative of natural gas.