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Oil & Gas

Tuesday
07 Sep 2021

Divers Identify Broken Pipeline as Source of Gulf Oil Spill

07 Sep 2021  by AP   

Divers at the site of an ongoing oil spill that appeared in the Gulf of Mexico after Hurricane Ida have identified the apparent source as one-foot diameter pipeline displaced from a trench on the ocean floor and broken open.

Talos Energy, the Houston-based company currently paying for the cleanup, said in a statement issued Sunday evening that the busted pipeline does not belong to them.

The company said it is working with the U.S. Coast Guard and other state and federal agencies to coordinate the response and identify the owner of the ruptured pipeline.

Two additional 4-inch pipelines were also identified in the area that are open and apparently abandoned. The company's statement did not make clear if oil was leaking from the two smaller pipelines, but satellite images reviewed by The Associated Press on Saturday appeared to show at least three different slicks in the same area, the largest drifting more than a dozen miles (more than 19 kilometers) eastward along the Gulf coast.

The AP first reported Wednesday that aerial photos showed a miles-long brown and black oil slick spreading about 2 miles (3 kilometers) south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana. The broken pipe is in relatively shallow water, at about 34 feet (10 meters) of depth.

Talos said the rate of oil appearing on the surface had slowed dramatically in the last 48 hours and no new heavy black crude had been seen in the last day.

So far, the spill appears to have remained out to sea and has not impacted the Louisiana shoreline. There is not yet any estimate for how much oil was in the water.

The Coast Guard said Saturday its response teams are monitoring reports and satellite imagery to determine the scope of the discharge, which is located in Bay Marchand, Block 4. Talos previously leased Bay Marchand, Block 5, but ceased production there in 2017, plugged its wells and removed all pipeline infrastructure by 2019, according to the company.

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