Divers Seal Ruptured Pipeline Off Galveston
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Contracted divers for Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline began assessing damage to a ruptured Gulf of Mexico oil pipeline Sunday after the U.S. Coast Guard sealed the break.
The rupture, first denoted by a drop in pipeline pressure on Christmas Eve, occurred about 30 miles southeast of Galveston. The leak has spilled an estimated 44,500 gallons of medium crude oil, according to a Coast Guard press release.
Plains Pipeline will review it's operational records to determine whether the Coast Guard's spill amount estimate is accurate, company spokesman Jordan Janak said.
None of the oil has washed ashore, and weather conditions are dispersing the spill and nudging the leftover sheen away from the coast, the Coast Guard press release states.
It is possible that a ship's anchor struck the pipeline and caused the leak, but a definite cause will be the focus of several days of investigation, Janak said.
Favorable weather conditions about 10 p.m. Saturday allowed divers to begin searching for the rupture, according to the Coast Guard.
Divers found the break about 6:15 a.m. Sunday and sealed it with an inflatable buoy. The Gulf of Mexico is about 90 feet deep where the break occurred, Janak said.
Company officials flying over the area did not see any new sheen in the affected area after the Coast Guard's operation, Janak said.