Coast Guard investigates reports of oil spills following Hurricane Ida

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HOUSTON, Sept. 6 – The U.S. Coast Guard announced Monday that it is investigating nearly 350 reports of oil spills in and along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico following Hurricane Ida.

Ida’s winds at 150 miles per hour wreaked havoc on offshore oil drilling platforms and onshore oil and gas processing facilities. Approximately 88% of the region’s offshore oil production remains closed and more than 100 platforms are vacant after the storm hit land on August 29.

The Coast Guard has been conducting flyovers off the coast of Louisiana to check for leaks. It informs federal, state and local authorities that are responsible for cleaning the sites.

Flights on Sunday found evidence of a new leak from an offshore well and reported that another leak that was responsible for a mile-long oil streak was no longer active. A third report of oil near a drilling platform could not be confirmed, it said.

Offshore oil producer Talos Energy Inc (TALO.N), which hired divers and a clean-up crew to respond to an oil spill in Bay Marchand, said that apparently old pipelines damaged during the storm were responsible.

A satellite image from Maxar Technologies shows oil spills from the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana.
The US Coast Guard estimates that 88 percent of offshore oil production in the Gulf of Mexico will remain closed after Hurricane Ida.
© 2021 Maxar Tech / AFP via Getty Images

The source of the Bay Marchand leak remains unknown, Coast Guard spokesman Lt. John Edwards said. A Coast Guard-led team “will investigate all potential sources to ensure future risks are mitigated,” he said.

The spill off the coast of Port Fourchon, Louisiana, has decreased significantly since it was first discovered last week, Talos said. The company does not own the pipelines and stopped production in the area four years ago, said spokesman Brian Grove. Continue reading

A satellite image shows oil docks destroyed and damaged by storms of Hurricane Ida in Port Fourchon, Louisiana on September 2, 2021.
A satellite image shows oil docks destroyed and damaged by storms of Hurricane Ida in Port Fourchon, Louisiana on September 2, 2021.
2021 Maxar Technologies / Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITOR
A black and white satellite image shows an oil spill following the landing of Hurricane Ida south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana on September 2, 2021.
A satellite image shows an oil spill following the landing of Hurricane Ida south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana on September 2, 2021.
2021 Maxar Technologies / Handout via REUTERS

An offshore well by S2 Energy produced oil about 8 km from the Bay Marchand site, the Coast Guard said. The company told the Coast Guard that it had secured the wellhead and was no longer draining oil.

S2 did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) said it was working with the Coast Guard and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to urge companies responsible for spills to stop and clean up the discharges.

“If necessary, the USCG and / or the EPA can open federal funding streams to cover mitigation costs,” LDEQ said.

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