US offshore spill estimate revised higher
Houston, 20 October (Argus) — A subsea pipeline operated by LLOG Exploration spilled about 16,000 bl of crude last week, much higher than a previous estimate, the US Coast Guard said.
The company estimated last week that 7,950-9,350 bl of oil spilled, but has since revised the amount after additional data became available, the agency said.
The spill, reported on 13 October, occurred about 40 miles (64km) southeast of Venice, Louisiana.
The well, known as MC209, flows to the Delta House floating production facility. The entire subsea system affected by the fracture has been shut.
Delta House production fell from 90,000 b/d to 57,000 b/d after the leak, LLOG said last week.
The release was caused by a fracture in a flowline jumper, the company said. A jumper is a pipeline structure typically used to connect flowlines and subsea facilities together.
The company planned to retrieve the damaged flowline jumper and perform a full investigation to determine the cause of the fracture.
The pipeline leak occurred about 5,000ft under water and the line was pressurized to more than 3,000 psi, the Coast Guard said. This high-pressure discharge through a small opening likely caused the oil to be broken down into small particles and disperse into deep-water currents prior to reaching the surface.
Trajectory models calculated by the LLOG and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicate that any discharged oil should move in a southwestern direction and is not expected to impact the shoreline, the Coast Guard said.