by Tyler Durden
The US Coast Guard is responding to a 14-mile oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that was discovered in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, officials said Saturday. According to Bloomberg. Sam Jones, chief of the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s office, said the spill, which consists of 4 miles of black sheen and 10 miles of rainbow sheen, is in federal waters off Port Fortune, Louisiana.
“That’s big,” Jones said in an interview on Saturday. “It’s the biggest one out there.”
In a statement, the Coast Guard said it believed the crude came from a pipeline owned by Houston-based oil and gas exploration company Talos Energy, adding that the agency is in the initial stages of an investigation. In response, Talos said that while leading in response to the leak, it denied responsibility, saying the leak came from an unknown source in an area where it halted production in 2017.
“Extensive field observations indicate that Talos’ assets are not the source,” the company said in a statement. “Talos will continue to work closely with the US Coast Guard and other state and federal agencies to identify the source of the release and coordinate a successful response.”
Talos said it has deployed two 95-foot response ships to conduct oil extraction operations at the site, as well as an additional ship and divers to help identify the source.
The “big” spill wasn’t the only one: Jones said his agency received 265 reports of spills and other Ida-related incidents, including 32 that appeared serious. Among them were two underwater pipelines, apparently transporting gas, and a gas well that had exploded at Three Bayou Bay in Jefferson Parish. Jones said the agency is investigating who owns those assets.
Meanwhile, several crude oil launches have been reported in the Gulf of Mexico, including one near an offshore drilling rig in the Gulf, according to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. The agency reported more than 100 spills and other toxic releases as Ida’s environmental impact on a petrochemical corridor filled with dangerous chemical plants and refineries began to emerge.
“The kind of accident we see can be prevented and should not be allowed to happen.” said Naomi Yoder, a scientist at Healthy Gulf, a New Orleans-based environmental group that reported several spills to authorities in the wake of Ida. “Is it something we will be able to fix or is it something that will be a very long-term process?”
Yoder said Hurricane Ivan in 2004 caused an underwater oil spill that is still leaking.
Top photo: NOAA/AP