A University of Houston energy expert said Thursday's Gulf oil platform fire is nothing like BP's major disaster nearly five months ago.

An oil platform exploded and burned off the Louisiana coast Thursday, the second such disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in less than five months. This time, the Coast Guard said there was no leak, and no one was killed.

When images of yet another flaming Gulf oil rig blazed across TV screens Thursday, it sent pundits into a flurry of speculation as to how bad it would be this time. But U of H energy expert Don Van Nieuwenhuise said this is likely a very minor mishap.

"It will inflame some people who are against the oil industry in totalÂ… but a lot of people are not, really not aware of the significance in terms of our energy mix and typically are looking for this type of things to happen I think," said Van Nieuwenhuise.

When BP's Deepwater Horizon exploded, blowout preventers failed and oil gushed. This time around it appears that safety mechanisms where hitting on all cylinders when Mariner Energy's off-shore platform caught fire.

"The biggest concern with BP was that the safety measures that were there to shut the well in didn't work and in this case the safety measures apparently have worked," he said.

But the proximity of Mariner's mishap to BP's major blowout will undoubtedly fuel the fires of skepticism over the safety of off-shore drilling and its environmental impact.

"I don't think it really reflects poorly on overall safety. It's just coincidental that it's happened so closely to the BP explosion I think," said Van Nieuwenhuise.

With no oil leaks detected so far, Van Nieuwenhuise believes even if a small amount does get into the Gulf it will never reach land.

"It will probably be dispersed and biodegrade before it reaches the coast," Van Nieuwenhuise said.

Original reports said there was an oil sheen in the Gulf. The U.S. Coast Guard later corrected those reports, saying there was never a sheen.

Van Nieuwenhuise said with thousands of rigs in the Gulf minor fires like this probably happen once every six or seven months.