An abandoned oil well in the Gulf of Mexico was not lit as required when it was struck by a tugboat pushing a barge early yesterday morning. The collision ruptured the wellhead and sent oil, contaminated water and natural gas spewing into the air.
Crews arrived on the scene yesterday afternoon to begin cleaning up the resulting <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/oil_spills">oil spill, and efforts to cap the well are now underway.
The accident occurred in Mud Lake, a coastal inlet just north of Louisiana’s Barataria Bay. The area was already under threat from the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The collision took place on Tuesday, around 1:00 a.m. when the towboat Pere Ana C hit the wellhead. No one was injured. According to the US Coast Guard, the vessel’s captain said the well was not lit.
The Coast Guard has identified the owner of the well as Houston-based Cedyco Corp., but officials have been unable to make contact with the company. USA Today is reporting that the company is out of business.
About 6,000 feet of containment boom is in place around the site, and the accident blocked traffic into Barataria Bay. The Coast Guard said it has hired Wild Well Control Inc. to cap the gushing well.
There are no estimates yet on how much oil has spilled into the Gulf because of the ruptured well.
Jefferson Parish Councilman Elton Lagasse told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that the incident was yet another blow to the parish as it tries to recover from the massive BP oil spill.
“We just got the Barataria Bay cleaned a week ago,” Lagasse said. “This is something that could happen at anytime. There are thousands of these wells out there.”