Oil Spill in the Gulf May Have Been Caused by Dislodged PipelineBy Antonio Trujillo | Tue, 09/07/2021 - 09:37
An oil spill appeared in the Gulf of Mexico during the weekend as Hurricane Ida’s havoc on the region is still being assessed and handled.
The oil spill was discovered off the coast of Louisiana, near Port Fourchon. On Sunday, oil producer Talos Energy said that the oil flowing rate from the spill appeared to have decreased. Officials believe Hurricane Ida is to blame for the now-discovered dislodged pipeline that may be the origin of the spill. Divers used an underwater sonar to uncover a 12-inch oil pipeline that had broken and become dislodged.
The company said they were informed of the accident by Clean Gulf Associates, a non-profit. Vessels were dispatched to the area only for Talos to discover that the damaged pipeline was not property of the company. The pipeline is “bent and open ended,” they said. The statement clarified Talos had ended production back in 2017 and their equipment was completely removed by 2019. “The source of the release is not proximate to any of the plugged wells, nor to the former locations of Talos subsea infrastructure.”
Dive teams and clean-up crews made their way to the Bay Marchand area, site of the accident, early on Sunday, trying to contain the oil and determine the source of it. At the time, a long black streak was already visible from the air, and images taken on site revealed a near 20 kilometers-long streak. On Monday, Brian L. Grove, spokesman for Talos Energy, said that “the rate of the release appears to have decreased substantially over the last 48 hours and no black oil has been observed over the past 24 hours. To date, no impacts to shoreline or wildlife have been observed.”
Talos is working with officials, including the U.S. Coast Guard and other federal agencies, to help determine ownership of the dislodged pipeline, most probable cause of the accident, and to “organize a coordinated response to the spill.”
Moreover, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Monday that they were probing an additional 350 reports of oil spills in the wake of Hurricane Ida. Up to 88 percent of offshore oil production in the Gulf is still shut down and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Additionally, 100 platforms are still unoccupied. Ida, with its 240 kph winds, is one of the most powerful hurricanes to hit the coasts of the Gulf in recent years, causing intense flooding, killing dozens, and shutting down Gulf of Mexico operations altogether.