BOEMRE repsonds to possible natural gas leak at a platform in the Gulf of Mexico

By Phaedra Friend Troy

The Bureau of Ocean Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has responded to a possible natural gas leak at a production platform in the US Gulf of Mexico.

According to the report from the regulatory agency, a potential gas leak has occurred at the East Cameron Block 278 Platform B, which is operated by Apache Corporation (NYSE:APA). Located about 93 miles offshore Louisiana, the platform is situated just south of Lake Charles in water measuring 173 feet deep.

Platform B has not been in production for more than a decade, but it currently processes natural gas and condensate from other facilities in the Gulf.

Apache reported that at 10 a.m. on January 16, personnel were working on the platform to permanently plug non-associated natural gas wells. The workers then observed what appeared to be natural gas bubbling to the surface of the water near the platform.

The platform was safety evacuated, and all associated pipelines and facilities have been shut in.

On the morning of January 17, BOEMRE inspectors visited the platform and also observed the bubbling, as well as discolored water near the platform, which could be a mix of sediment from the seafloor, gas and formation water. Oil is not believed to be present in the mixture, although small amounts of condensate may be. Nonetheless, condensate evaporates quickly.

Apache is working to get a remote operating vehicle (ROV) to the site on the evening of January 17 to investigate the natural gas well from the ocean floor. The ROV will help the company to better access the situation, as well as determine the next steps necessary.

BOEMRE has informed the appropriate regulatory agencies, is closely monitoring the situation and plans a full investigation into the incident. 

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