The US Coast Guard suspended its search for two oil rig workers who went missing after an explosion and fire on a drilling platform off the coast.

"The search is suspended pending further developments," the Coast Guard said in a statement, adding that it had scoured a 1,400 square-mile area for more than 32 hours using patrol boats, helicopters, and fixed wing aircraft.

The blast on the rig in the Gulf of Mexico Friday injured 11 people, but did not cause a major spill, the Coast Guard said.

There were 22 people on board when the blast rocked the rig operated by Houston-based Black Elk Energy shortly before 9 am (1500 GMT), Sanchez said.

The blaze began during maintenance work when the crew was cutting through a pipe.

The accident occurred one day after oil giant BP agreed to pay a record $4.5 billion in US fines for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The company also pleaded guilty to 14 counts including felony manslaughter in the deaths of 11 workers.

That deadly blast aboard the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig unleashed the biggest marine oil spill in the industry's history and the worst environmental disaster ever to strike the United States.