Natural gas leaked from a well off the Louisiana coast on Monday evening, forcing the evacuation of a drilling platform. The Coast Guard responded to the leak, which happened as a crew attempted to temporarily plug the well.
Cuast Guard Lieutenant Lily Zepeda explained that the well didn’t blow out and there was no explosion or fire on the platform, unlike when the Macondo Well blew in 2010, killing 12 oil rig workers and spilling millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico.
Zepeda added that all five people working on the platform at the time were safely evacuated. She added that a mixture of water and natural gas was still leaking from the well, which is located in 144 feet of water.
An aerial survey done Tuesday of the leak showed a rainbow sheen four miles wide an three-quarters of a mile long. But there is no indication that the leak will take on the same scale of the 2010 BP oil disaster, which happened about 100 miles east of the new leak.
The crew was working on Monday night to plug the well temporarily when they lost control of it. The well wasn’t producing oil at the time and two other wells producing on the platform were closed off to prevent any further incident.
Talos Energy, a Houston, Texas-based company, explained in a statement on Tuesday that the leak happened while the workers were permanently plugging up the well. Talos added, “We expect that the well will be shut in within the next 24 hours.” Along with the natural gas, the well was leaking some oil.
Despite the well likely being shut off by Wednesday, Jonathan Henderson of the Gulf Restoration Network, an advocacy group in New Orleans, stated that the natural gas leak could still have a toxic effect on marine life in the area.
The Coast Guard has said that the cause of the natural gas leak is under investigation.
[Image via NOAA Photo Library]