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An oil leak from an underwater pipe in the Gulf of Mexico has prompted the shut-in of over 60,000 bpd in daily production, equal to around 3% of the total produced in the Gulf, Reuters has reported.
The companies whose operations were disrupted include Occidental Petroleum, Talos Energy Ventures, as well as smaller operators such as W&T Energy VI, Walter Oil and Gas, and Arena Offshore.
The leak was detected last week, some 19 miles from the Mississippi Delta, off the coast of Louisiana. The Coast Guard, which is looking for the exact source of the leak, said that the amount of oil that had spilled into the water had been estimated at 26,190 barrels.
For context, The Deepwater Horizon spill of 2010 released some 3.19 million barrels, or 134 million gallons, of oil into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It caused the biggest environmental disaster in the area since the birth of the oil industry.
Prices for Heavy Louisiana Sweet crude oil spiked last Friday as a result of the spill, hitting their highest premium to West Texas Intermediate (WTI) since August 2023, according to Bloomberg.
The 67-mile-long underwater pipeline is owned by Main Pass Oil Gathering and operated by Third Coast Infrastructure LLC. As of Wednesday, divers and remotely operated leak detection machinery have surveyed over 23 miles of the pipeline, the Coast Guard said in an update.
The update added that no impact from the leak was observed on wildlife in the area and the shoreline. The cause of the leak has yet to be established as well.
Between 1969 and 2017, there were 44 oil spills in U.S. waters, with one-third of those in the Gulf of Mexico, according to data from the Oceanography Society, with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill the largest. Typically, large spills are classified as those of 100,000 barrels or more.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.