U.S. officials said on Tuesday that seven energy companies have been impacted by an oil discharge near Main Pass Oil Gathering Co's (MPOG) pipeline system in the Gulf of Mexico that is estimated to have released more than a million gallons of crude oil.
The 67-mile-long pipeline was closed by MPOG on Thursday morning after crude oil was spotted around 19 miles offshore of the Mississippi River delta, near Plaquemines Parish, southeast of New Orleans.
"Seven producers affected and those producers are currently shut in," Bryan Domangue of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said during a press briefing.
Officials said investigations and surveys were ongoing to determine the source of the discharge, but added that there were no reported injuries or shoreline impacts so far.
There has been no impact on vessels and the waterway remains open to all commercial and recreational vessel traffic, officials said.
While the exact volume of discharged oil was not known, the Coast Guard, which was leading the clean-up, said initial calculations placed the volume of the leak at 1.1 million gallons, or 26,190 barrels.
"We're not saying that was the exact amount. We are not going to know the exact amount of oil that was discharged into the Gulf of Mexico until we find the source," said Captain Kelly Denning, deputy commander, sector New Orleans.
The officials also said it was yet to be established if Third Coast Infrastructure, which owns MPOG, is responsible for the spill.
"They're suspected responsible party, but we won't know until we find the source, which is why we keep referring to them as the responding party," said Denning.
Talos, W&T Offshore, Occidental, and Australia's Byron Energy, which operate in the area, did not respond to Reuters' requests for comments on the spill.
(Reuters: Reporting by Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru and Arathy Somasekhar in Houston; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Shilpi Majumdar)