WASHINGTON – After Hurricane Ida, divers who had sustained oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico have determined that the obvious source was a one-foot-diameter pipeline that was displaced and ruptured from a submarine trench.
The Houston-based company Talos Energy said in a statement Sunday evening that the damaged pipeline did not belong to them.
The company said it is working with the U.S. Coast Guard and other state and federal agencies to coordinate the response and identify the owner of the broken pipeline.
Two additional 4-inch pipes were also found in the area. These pipes were open and apparently abandoned. The company’s statement did not say whether oil leaked from the two smaller pipelines.
The Associated Press first reported on Wednesday that aerial photos showed a mile of brown and black oil slicks about 2 miles (3.22 kilometers) south of Port Fuljeong, Louisiana.
Talos said that in the past 48 hours, the rate of oil emergence on the surface has slowed sharply, and no new heavy black crude oil was discovered on the last day.
So far, the leak appears to be still at sea and has not affected the Louisiana coastline. There is no estimate of how much oil there is in the water, but the most recent satellite images reviewed by the Associated Press on Saturday appear to show that the oil slick drifted eastward along the Gulf Coast for more than 19 kilometers (a dozen miles).
The Coast Guard Response Team is monitoring reports and satellite imagery to determine the scope of emissions, located in Mashan Bay in District 4. Talos previously leased Mashan Bay in District 5, but stopped production there in 2017, blocked the oil wells and dismantled all pipelines, according to the company’s infrastructure by 2019.
As the source of the oil is unknown, Talos hired Clean Gulf Associates to respond to the spill. Clean Gulf is a non-profit oil spill emergency cooperation agency that cooperates with the energy exploration and production industry. There are two 95-foot ships at the spill site, trying to control and recover the crude oil in the water.
The Bay Marchand spill is one of dozens of environmental hazards tracked by state and federal regulators in Louisiana and the Gulf after a Category 4 hurricane that landed in Port Folchone a week ago. This area is the main production center of the US petrochemical industry.