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Broken Pipeline Caused Oil Spill In Gulf

A split pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico is what has caused an oil spill after Hurricane Ida, the Associated Press has reported, citing divers at the site.

According to the report, divers had identified a one-foot pipeline as the source of the spill after it was displaced by the hurricane and ruptured. The report also cited a statement by Talos Energy, which is paying for the spill's cleanup, that the pipeline was not its property.

Two smaller pipelines in the area—Block 4 in the Bay Marchand—have also been found broken open and likely be leaking oil as the AP said satellite imaging showed at least three oil slicks. The owners of the ruptured infrastructure have yet to be identified.

Talos Energy used to pump oil in the adjacent Block 5, according to the AP report, but stopped production in 2017 and left, plugging its wells in the block and removing all pipeline infrastructure by 2019.

Hurricane Ida shut in some 95 percent of U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil production and about 12 percent of refining capacity on the Gulf Coast. The full recovery of the industry may take weeks as the hurricane wreaked havoc on transmission lines in Louisiana, leaving some 600,000 without power.

The first reports of a spill came from the AP, which said last week aerial photos had revealed an oil slick about 2 miles south of oil hub Port Fourchon. Later, a private diver team was sent to the site to identify the spill source, Reuters reported.

The pipe that is believed to be the main culprit for the leak lies in shallow waters of about 34 feet, the AP also reported, citing the latest update from Talos Energy, which said the flow of oil had diminished dramatically over the last 48 hours. There is no information about the oil slick reaching the coast of Louisiana yet.

The Coast Guard's response teams are monitoring the leak via reports from the site and satellite imaging to determine the scope of the damage.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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