Coast Guard Continues to Work With Louisiana Agencies On Damaged Wellhead

NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Coast Guard continues to work with the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office LOSCO, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources LDNR, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality LDEQ, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries LAWLF and Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office JPSO to secure the wellhead and minimize environmental damage resulting from an allision between a tow vessel and a wellhead in the Barataria Waterway, which occurred at approximately 1 a.m., Tuesday. The Unified Command Post, established at U.S. Coast Guard Sector New Orleans, is reporting that the wellhead continues to emanate a mixture of oil and natural gas into Barataria Bay.

Oil containment and clean-up operations are on going as 32,900 feet of containment boom and 4,000 feet of absorbent boom are deployed to minimize the environmental impact. Additionally, 150 personnel and 37 vessels are responding to the incident. Oil skimming and recovery operations have begun in Mud Lake.

Preparation to mobilize assets needed to secure the well are continuing and include:

  • Outfitting barges with proper firefighting and safety equipment, as well as cranes and other necessary materials began Thursday;
  • A support barge and the pump/kill fluid barge arrived in Lafitte, La., early Thursday evening;
  • An updated description of the well has been obtained and is being used by Wild Well Control Inc., in their planning and preparation processes;
  • The pipeline survey needed to identify and protect the structural integrity of existing underwater pipelines is complete, which will ensure that no further damage is done from the temporary spuds that are used to anchor the support vessels;
  • A hydrographic survey remains to be completed prior to any equipment being deployed to the site to ensure there is sufficient water depth for the response vessels. The survey is scheduled to begin Friday morning.

Wild Well Control Inc. has been designated as the prime contractor to secure the leaking wellhead, which is estimated to take approximately 10 to 12 days.

The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund has been enacted to provide monetary support for the clean up and recovery operations.

The cause of the incident remains under investigation.

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