GoM Oil Spill Largest Since Deepwater Horizon?

Image Courtesy: LLOG Exploration (Delta House)

Some 7,950 to 9,350 barrels of oil released from Delta House floating production facility last week could be the largest oil spill in the US since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, according to Bloomberg.

The oil was released from the facility’s subsea infrastructure in 4,463 feet water depth in the Gulf of Mexico, 40 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana. The flowline release began in the morning hours of October 11 from a fracture in a jumper pipe leading from Mississippi Canyon Block 209, Well No. 1 to a manifold located on the seafloor.

Once identified, the pipeline leak was isolated and stopped on Thursday morning, the offshore oil and gas operator LLOG Exploration Offshore informed the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

LLOG has communicated to BSEE that there is no recoverable oil on surface, adding that two skimming vessels sourced from Clean Gulf Associates and Marine Spill Response Corporation were on location and prepared to respond.

Following the incident, a sheen was observed and reported through the National Response Center, while monitoring of the residual sheen continued. There were no shoreline impacts nor personnel injuries reported.

BSEE Gulf of Mexico Region Director Lars Herbst has initiated a Panel Investigation into the oil release, saying that “this panel investigation is a critical step in ensuring BSEE determines the cause, or causes, of the incident and develops recommendations to prevent similar events from occurring in the future.”

BSEE inspectors launched an initial inspection and investigation at LLOG’s Delta House platform on October 13.

Although it represents only a fraction of an estimated total discharge at 4.9 million ejected in the Deepwater Horizon incident, the amount of oil released from the Delta House facility early Wednesday to Thursday morning makes this the largest spill in more than seven years, Bloomberg cited data from the BSEE.

The 2010 blowout at BP Plc’s Macondo well, which sank the Deepwater Horizon rig, took the lives of 11 people. The incident occurred on April 20, 2010, and after several failed efforts to contain the flow, the well was finally declared sealed on September 19, 2010.

World Maritime News Staff

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