BOEMRE Responds to Report of Natural Gas Leak

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) is responding to a report that Apache Corp. has experienced a potential natural gas leak at East Cameron Block 278 Platform B, a natural gas production platform approximately 93 miles offshore Louisiana, south of Lake Charles, in about 173 feet of water.  The platform, which has not been in production for nearly a decade, is currently used to process natural gas and condensate from other facilities.

According to its report, at approximately 10 a.m., January 16, Apache was in the process of permanently plugging its associated non-producing natural gas wells when workers spotted what appeared to be natural gas bubbling to the surface near the platform.  The platform was safely evacuated and the associated pipelines and facilities have been successfully shut in.

BOEMRE inspectors this morning found continued bubbling and discolored water near the platform, possibly a mixture of sediment from the ocean floor, gas, and formation water.  Oil is not believed to be present other than in small amounts of condensate, which quickly evaporates.

BOEMRE is overseeing Apache’s source control efforts.  Apache expects to have a remote operating vehicle (ROV) on site tonight to better assess the natural gas well and inform any appropriate additional next steps.

BOEMRE has notified other agencies and is continuing to closely monitor the situation. BOEMRE personnel will return to the site tomorrow.  BOEMRE will also conduct an investigation of the incident.

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