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Crews work to contain oil spill after Ida

China Daily | Updated: 2021-09-07 09:58
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A satellite image shows an oil slick following Hurricane Ida near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, US, Aug 31, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON-Workers have deployed containment booms and skimmer devices in an attempt to contain a sizable oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which was discovered after Hurricane Ida roared through the area, said the United States Coast Guard on Sunday.

The spill is in waters off Port Fourchon, Louisiana-near where Ida made landfall-in a region that is a major hub of the US petrochemical industry.

The Coast Guard in Louisiana said it had been informed of a spill in that area and was responding, but provided few details.

Talos Energy, a US offshore oil producer, has dispatched cleanup vessels and divers to the site. The firm, which had operated in the area of the spill until 2017, insisted that its equipment was not the cause of the leak.

"No black oil has been observed over the last 24 hours," said Talos spokesman Brian L. Grove in a statement. "To date, no impact to shoreline or wildlife has been observed."

An evaluation by divers and sonar scan found no leaks tied to its oil pipelines. A 30-centimeter undersea pipeline was found to be displaced from its original trench location, and it appeared to be bent and open ended, according to Grove's statement.

Talos said it is using booms and skimmers to clean up the area.

Cleanup efforts

Cleanup crews and a dive team were at the leak site in the Bay Marchand area of the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday seeking to contain the oil and pinpoint its source and location. A kilometers-long black streak of oil in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana was visible from the air after Hurricane Ida tore through the region a week ago.

Talos said the rate of oil appearing on the surface had slowed dramatically in the last 48 hours and no new heavy black crude had been seen in the last day.

So far, the spill appears to have remained out at sea and has not impacted the Louisiana shoreline. There has not been any estimate yet of how much oil was in the water.

The area where the spill is located has been drilled for oil and gas for decades. Federal leasing maps show it contains a latticework of old pipelines, plugged wells and abandoned platforms, along with newer infrastructure still in use.

Packing winds of up to 240 kilometers per hour, Ida roared through Louisiana last Sunday, causing catastrophic damage, according to local authorities.

Downgraded later to tropical storm status, Ida nonetheless retained rare power as it rumbled through the US Northeast, leaving dozens dead.

It was in the petroleum-rich Gulf of Mexico that an explosion ripped through the Deepwater Horizon oil platform in 2010, touching off the worst oil spill in history.

Agencies via Xinhua

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