There is a new oil spill in the Gulf and this time it isn’t going to be blamed on BP, but on a tugboat. During clean up operations for the BP oil spill early morning on July 27 a tugboat sheared off the top of a wellhead pipe. The result was a fountain spray of crude oil and gas hydrocarbons spewing almost 100 feet high into the air. The spill is in the Gulf marshlands in Barataria Bay off the coast land of Louisiana. The well is thought to be owned by Houston based Cedyco Corporation.
The accident is under investigation. Due to the danger of an explosion the area was cleared. A specialized crew capable of capping the well was expected to be in the area before the end of the day. No one was hurt aboard the tugboat.
Retired Admiral Thad Allen, the US Government head in the military response to the clean up, said 6,000 feet of protective boom has been placed at the site. The area has a delicate ecosystem and environmental scientists are worried at how this will effect the marshlands they’ve been trying so hard to protect from the Gulf oil spill.
Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer John Edwards said a strip of oil 50 yards wide and a mile long was spotted on the water near the well.
The specific area of the broken well cap is called Mud Lake. It is part of a network of lakes, waterways, and bayous of north Barataria Bay.
The spouting well is expected to be contained soon. Due to traffic being stopped in the waterway, a delay in oil fighting equipment returning to the BP oil spill area has been hampered. Equipment had been moved through the mud lake area to seek safety ahead of last week’s tropical storm Bonnie.
BP has been hard at work trying to complete the relief well so that the blown well can be permanently closed. They also have been busy making changes to the executive positions of the company having moved Tony Hayward out of the CEO position and replacing him on October 1 with Robert Dudley. BP also released information to shareholders that they would be posting a record loss due to the Gulf oil spill for the 2nd quarter of 2010.