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LLOG pipeline leaks 16,000 bbl into GoM

Written by  Thursday, 19 October 2017 22:27

New figures released by the US Coast Guard (USCG) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) show that approximately 16,000 bbl (672,000 gallons) of oil have discharged from a damaged pipeline, operated by Louisiana’s LLOG Exploration, into the Gulf of Mexico, the agencies announced on Thursday, 19 October.

The leak was discovered on Thursday, 12 October. It occurred approximately 40mi southeast of Venice, Louisiana, in 4463ft deep water. BSEE said a remotely operated vehicle observed a fracture in a jumper pipe leading from Mississippi Canyon Block 209, Well No. 1 to a manifold on the seafloor. BSEE said that due to shutting in the well, the flow through the fracture in the pipe has ceased.

The USCG and BSEE said that revised calculations of the amount of oil discharged is higher than previously released on Wednesday, 18 October, when it was thought to be 9350 bbl (392,700 gallons) that had discharged from the damaged pipeline.

The agencies said they are working with LLOG and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to locate and respond to any oil that comes to the surface. However, USCG said that it is unlikely that any recoverable oil will be discovered due to the depth and pressure at which the oil was released. If it does, trajectory models from LLOG and NOAA note that any discharged oil will drift southwesterly, and is not expected to impact the shoreline, USCG said.

The pipeline was pressurized to more than 3000psi, and the USCG said that this high-pressure discharge through a small opening likely caused the oil to be broken down into small particles and disperse into deep water currents prior to reaching the surface. Water samples taken along the trajectory path at various depths have not detected the presence of oil, USCG said.

"While the reported discharge amount is very significant, we are confident in the calculations completed by the LLOG and NOAA scientists,” said Cmdr. Heather Mattern from US Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Morgan City, Louisiana. “Additionally, the lack of any recoverable oil identified by over flights and subsea inspections conducted throughout the past week supports this explanation.”

BSEE announced on Monday, 16 October, that it had launched a five-member panel investigation into the incident.

Map from BSEE.

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